Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Better Understanding of God's Frustration

My beloved mother, in fact, all of my family left me today. They've gone camping in central Oregon and won't be back until late Friday. This is both good and bad for me, because it means I've got the house to myself. Good because there's nobody around to bother me. Bad because there's nobody around to chaperon me. It's a lot harder to have a cute boy over for a tongue wrestling tournament (come on, tell me that's not original! oh... wait...) when the chance of getting walked in on by your seven year old sister is about 87%. Even so, I think I'll be fine. Cute boys haven't exactly been beating down my door recently, so I've nothing (real) to worry about. None of this though, is the point of this post.

My mother asked to me to fill her role as Den Leader while she was gone. No problem. I can go to Big Bears meeting and help them through some crafts. I mean, seriously, I deal with kids all summer long. An hour on Tuesday night should be a cakewalk, right? Wrong.

The other Den Leader (I guess they were co-leaders or something) had planned to build tool-boxes at the meeting, and had brought wood and nails. The cheapest, crappiest nails I have ever seen were in that box. If you give kids aluminum nails, they will bend and break them before they get anywhere near the wood. She also had them bring their own hammers. An absolutely splendid idea. Except that one kid brought this tiny little ball peen hammer that was absolutely useless for driving nails.

I stopped counting how many kids I told, "hold the hammer like this" "swing the hammer like this" "come down at it straight and flat" "put some force behind it" etc... It didn't matter, they didn't listen. I've done more carpentry in the past half decade than most people have in the past three! And they're kids for crying out loud. Aren't they suppose to listen and respect or something? Anyway, I swallowed my frustration, brought them fresh nails (though from the same cheap box), reset their boards, and just kept on giving them fresh starts. Why couldn't I just do it for them? Because as a real boyscout, I couldn't do a requirement for a kid. Not to mention I think that every good man should know, or at least have known at some point in his life, how to swing a hammer properly. It's not like it's hard... If you don't know, I'd be more than happy to teach you. It only takes a minute and you'll be saying, "duh, I knew that, I just didn't think about it" as soon as we're done.

Anyway, I think that I have a slightly better appreciation of the way God must feel now. He wants us to learn and grow, and He wants us to do things on our own with only minimal help from Him. To this end, He has supplied us with infinite nails and self-healing wood which He tirelessly puts back in the right position for us to build. And sometimes He gets a little fed up and tries to remind us how to hold the hammer, how to swing it, how to do lots of good and important things. But He never does it for us. He promised us our agency, and He respects it so much that even though He could live our lives for us a thousand and twenty seven (or so) times better than we can, that He just won't do it. Agency, that greatest of gifts, must lead to such frustration that I can't imagine bearing it. But He doesn't get angry. Even when He's holding the nails for us and we hit His thumb with the hammer, He stays calm and loving. That is why I love Him. Not because He created this world for me to live on, or because He put me in a (pretty) good family, but because He loves me and respects my Agency.
Please don't assume I'm leaving the church or anything. This was a testimony building experience.
I'm also going to talk to my bishop tonight. I don't know what about, he wanted to talk to me... There might be a second post today, depending on whether it's anything interesting or not.


Sean said...

i always end up choking up on the hammer and i wonder why it takes me so long to drive the nail in.

but i can sand. i've sanded more boats than most. boy, can i sand! it's really a marval to behold!

playasinmar said...

I've been known to carry a hammer in the hammer-loop pocket of my carpenter jeans.