Tuesday, April 8, 2008

He Makes Me Play With Sticks

My son likes sticks. Sometimes I get worried that computer and video games are sucking out his imagination and he’s going to be void of any sort of creativity. But give the boy a stick and you’ve given him the world.

Sticks to him are an afternoon of slaying dragons or defending his territory from ninjas. Nana’s house has the best sticks according to him. He refuses to take any swords to her house…’cause her yard’s got great sticks. Just the other day I went to pick him up from school, only to see him halfway home rounding a corner on the sidewalk. Not running. Not walking. But gallivanting. Horseback style. With a stick. He was saving the world from something, I’m sure.

Another time I stepped out onto our front porch to watch for him coming home from school. This was a day after my husband had spent the whole day before picking up sticks in our front yard and breaking them into little pieces and stuffing them in a leaf bag. I finally saw Graham in the distance. Not with a stick- but a large tree branch. About three times his size. It took a feat of strength just to drag it down the sidewalk. He left a trail of small twigs and leaves as he walked. He was determined. His expression was deep in thought as he prioritized his plans for his new treasure. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Once he reached the house I told him that it would be in his best interest to go take it back to where it came from before his dad got home. His face fell and he let out a huge sigh not only because he really wanted the stick/small tree, but because this thing was so massive that it really needed about three more of him to get it back to it’s origins. I saw the light and his plans for world domination fade from his eyes and told him that if he and his friend would make sure that it ended up on our curb with the other leaf bags by the time they had to come inside, they could keep it for the rest of the afternoon. Victory!

Such a simple thing. A stick. They’re everywhere and always accessible. It could be used for anything, but usually it’s a sword. When someone asks me what Graham’s into, they usually expect me to answer “Lego’s” or “dinosaurs” or “Pokemon”. Nope. Sticks.

Now I should qualify all of this brilliant creativity with the fact that he’s grounded. Indefinitely. Graham has some self-control issues at school (talking-he’d describe it as fellowshipping) and so we’ve had to take away his computer and video game privileges.

There’s a routine that follows after a grounding. We go through a couple of days of “what can I do?” and “I’m bored”. They quickly learn not to ask these questions because the answer always involves hard labor. I double-dog-dare them to ask me. Once they’ve realized that they’re going to have to fend for themselves and come up with something to do, the things they come up with are inspiring.

I started thinking that my most creative moments happen that way too. When I’ve taken away all distractions and have checked off everything in my brain that needs to be done I begin to start thinking about one simple thing. That usually leads to something bigger and before I know it I’ve written our church’s whole Christmas pageant! All of this typically happens in my car on long drives. I have nothing else to do but keep myself company.

I was reading the 23rd Psalm. Randy’s hooked me on looking up original Greek and Hebrew, so there was one word that really intrigued me. I have a New Century Version that says something completely different than every other translation and it changed the whole concept. I looked up the word and confirmed what the majority of translations say.

It’s the word “make” from Psalm 23:2- “He makes me lie down in green pastures”. I think that sometimes I get so caught up in everything that I’m supposed to do that sometimes God presses His hand on my back and causes me to lie down and enjoy His beauty. To get back to basics. To sit and be simple.

I love that about God. It’s like when my kids were babies and I put them down to sleep and they didn’t want to go to sleep. I knew they were tired, but they would protest the whole time, especially Rachel. My mom would take Rachel as a baby and hold her tight and cover her up with her blanket. She’d get right in her ear and while Rachel would be screaming at the top of her lungs mom would rock her as she sang “Jesus Loves Me”. Eventually Rachel would succumb and fall asleep. Worked every time.

He makes me lie down.

He leads me beside still waters.

God wants to bless me, sometimes against my own volition. Once I realize that what He’s doing for me is good, I wonder why I ever resisted in the first place. I get to experience Him and He feeds me His word.

And then, I get to share it with others.