Choices
Things of a Deeper Value Its 2:00 A.M., I feel the need to write. I could write about a lot of things, I choose two. I could write about Arminianism versus Calvinism, or I could write about Prevenient Grace and Conditional Perseverance, but I chose not to. Those are some of the deeper subjects of Theology, argued and debated by scholars since the 1600s and with neither side ever clearly winning over the other. Instead of deeper subjects, I chose things of a deeper value. Instead of the great debates for great minds, I chose an old hammer and a small metal box. The hammer is a small hammer by today's standards, no professional carpenter would use it. The head is a bit loose and wobbly, but then if I was as old as it is, my head would be wobbly too. The head is painted red, there is a spot of green paint and a spot of blue paint on the handle and it has a smell to it that is unique to it. Even now, as I hold it close to my face, the smell brings back a flood of memories, strange how powerful smells are and what they can invoke. If everything is quite, I can close my eyes, hold it close to my face and inhale gently, 45 years are instantly gone, and tears fill my eyes. This hammer was my grandfather's hammer and it reminds me of a time when everything about life was perfect and nothing could darken my world. Even the spots of paint have meaning. The age of grandpa's things are easily determined by the colors they're painted. One could stand in his little workshop, ?the shed? as he called it, and easily see the periods of his life. Everything would be either green, blue or red. Everything would be hung off nails in neat fashion, waiting to be used when the need arose. First was his green period. His truck was green, his hat was green, his tools were green, and everything he acquired whether he needed it or not was painted green, regardless of whether it had a color already or not, regardless of if it should have been painted or not, he dunked it in green paint or splashed some on it. Items of green are as old as time for me, riding in his old green truck are some of my dimmest memories. Next came his blue period, and everything was made to be blue. Tools, spare hinges, pieces of cable, nails, (yes, nails), whatever came into the shed was made blue. This too was a happy period, the world hadn't yet taught me how cruel and mean it is. His last period, his darkest and my darkest, was his red period. My grandmother had passed on, I had grown up and learned pain, and rage, and hate. His workbench was coated with green, blue, or red paint, and there was the oil. Nothing should be allowed to rust, so he had a little bucket on a hook with a paintbrush in it. It was about half full of oil, which he painted on everything at one point or another, sometimes more than once. It's the oil that gives it the smell after all these years, and now I'm glad he did it. He was grandpa, he was godlike. He always made sure that I got the last piece of pie, he always made sure that my line was in the water before his was when the fish were biting. He taught me how to sharpen a knife, throw a ball, clean my gun, and paddle a boat. He could do no wrong. He could fix anything, he could make anything. I loved him then and I love him now, and I love this hammer because it reminds me of him. In a yard sale, it might sell for a quarter, to anyone else it would just be a paint splashed worthless old hammer. To me it has a deeper value than anyone can imagine. On my desk is a little square blue tin box, with two words on it in big white letters, 'Dad's Notes.' You probably wouldn't see it on the desk of a professional, there is nothing professional about it. Inside it is a little note pad, a little plastic bag containing various colored plastic paper clips, and 3 push pins. The little bag has never been opened, its too precious to open. It was given to me by my oldest daughter when she was in third grade, a time when she was an innocent little girl that loved her dad. She earned it at the ?goodie store? at school. Kids earned points by earning high scores, good behavior, and other good deeds. She could have bought a nice multicolored pencil or eraser, or a book of stickers, but she didn't. She bought something for me. We camped together, wrestled, fished, did lots of fun things together. That all changed one summer when she fell in with a bad crowd. In one year she fell from always making the honor role to missing most of her classes. She started smoking and worse. The happy little girl became a bitter, hateful one full of rage. No one knows why. I have two grandkids now that I never get to see with two different fathers that I don't know. She hates me now, I have no idea why and every time I asked she gave me a different answer. The good times are gone. All I have now is memories of a little girl that I loved and still love. She tried to kill me once, but I'm tougher than she cam imagine. Still, I love her, even if she rejects and hates me. So when I look at this little box I see the little girl, the happy one that played and laughed. Not much of that little girl is left, this box is all I have of her. To me, its more valuable than anyone can put a value on. I heard someone yesterday talking about how worthless they are and that God can't possibly love them. I thought of my hammer and my box. They have a value to me deeper than I can put into words, and God loves us more than I can put into words. I can look at a person, a mean, hard person who has no visible good in them and not see past that. He does. He sees something else, maybe the little girl or boy that once was, or the good wife or husband that once was. He might see the bully that was bullied to the point of becoming one. What He sees, only He sees, why He feels the way He does only He knows, and for now it's not important. What IS important is that we believe that He does indeed find value in each of us. Each one of us is more than an object to Him, more than hammers or boxes, and if I can love an object for reasons only I understand, He can certainly love His children for reasons only He understands. Never doubt His love, because that love is what Saves all of us. God is Love, its that simple.
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