Saturday, February 22, 2020

Mess factory

The bag that, unbeknownst to me, Caleb chose to bring to the church meeting, which I didn't notice until the lady in the row behind us pointed it out.

We recently had an unplanned bit of drama at the Miller household when dear youngest son, in an act of wild foolishness, ended up breaking a wine glass just before dinner.  I exploded--I liked the wine glass, it is true; but the all-too-familiar, out-of-control thoughtlessness that occasioned its breakage was what sent me over the edge.

Caleb has set up a cardboard box in the corner of the school room, inside which he prefers to do all his schoolwork.  He calls it his "office."  I have sat outside this box by the hour, feeding tiny slips of paper through a designated slot, for him to read or calculate, and send back out through the slot, with mechanical sound effects.  Because if reading or subtracting at a well-lit table with ergonomically-correct chairs is difficult, maybe try doing it in a dark, cramped box.

Since I Could Not Even, Jason talked to Caleb first.  After a while, Caleb came to me with a tearful apology and asked if I wanted him to buy me a new glass. 

Oh, son.  I don't want you to pay for the glass.  I want you to use self-control.

And my budding theologian responded, through frustrated tears, But it's so hard!  It's impossible basically!  It's like doing one hundred pushups--you just can't do it!

At the end of myself, through my own frustrated tears, I asked, What's our hope?

We talked about our sinful hearts, and Jesus, and he eventually arrived at an answer:  God will save us.

Yes, son.  He forgives us now, and promises that one day, in heaven, we won't have any more sin.

This message was met with a fresh round of tears.  But why does it take so long?!

I hate to tell you, but this dawning awareness of yourself at age going to be with you your whole life.  Thirty-two years later, I still find sinlessness as impossible as one hundred push-ups.  And I still cry out, How long, O Lord?

Lizzy tossing a word salad.

Days later, in the school room, that incubator of all character traits good and bad, dear son was again getting revved up.  He had discovered the sharpener at the back of the 64-pack crayon box--and that if you screw and screw and screw the crayon in it, it makes colorful waxy confetti all over the table that only smears when your mother keeps trying to brush it off so we can do your stupid math already!!  In abundance of delight, completely oblivious to my desire for an alternate activity, he exclaimed, "I'm a mess factory!"

Yes.  You certainly, certainly are.

And so am I.  My heart churns out sin like a Play-doh extruder churns out neon spaghetti. 

I want to blame my irritability on February.  Can't you blame everything on February? 

But there is no season for sin.  Sadness may have seasons, but sin just has excuses.  And I can find those in the middle of summer just as well.  I am a factory for them, after all.

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