Your bathrobe tie dropped into the toilet, the computer is taking forEVer, the telephone is ringing again, and you still don’t know what you’re making for dinner tonight. . . . and it’s only the beginning of Lent! Read Christopher deVinck’s story below to remind you of a very, very important principle:
One spring afternoon my five-year-old son, David, and I were planting raspberry bushes along the side of the garage. He liked to bring the hose and spray the freshly covered roots and drooping leaves.
A neighbor joined us for a few moments and there we stood, my son David, the neighbor and I. We probably discussed how much water a raspberry plant could possibly endure when David placed the hose down and pointed to the ground. “Look, Daddy!”
If a wasp enters the house, I show my three children, David, Karen and Michael, how I catch the insect with a glass and a piece of thick paper. I wait for the wasp to stop its frantic thumping and buzzing against the windowpane, then I place the open drinking glass over the creature and trap it. Then, without pinching the wasp, I slowly slide the thick paper under the glass, and there I have it.
I invite the children to take a close look. They like to see the wasp’s think wings; then all four of us leave the house through the front door for the release.
The children, standing back a little, like to watch as I remove the paper from the top of the glass. They like to watch the rescued wasp slowly walk to the rim of the glass, extend its wings, and fly off into the garden. We all clap, David, Karen, Michael and I.
When David was two he climbed the top of the small blue slide one afternoon in our backyard, and just before he zoomed down, he saw a few ants crawling around on the smooth metal. “Daddy! Ants!”
We stopped and crouched down to see if we could count how many legs ants have (six); then I gently brushed the ants off the slide and David shot down with glee.
I choose to watch the wasp and count the legs of an ant.
“Look, Daddy! What’s that?” I stopped talking with my neighbor and looked down.
“A beetle,” I said.
David was impressed and pleased with the discovery of this fancy, colorful creature.
My neighbor lifted his foot and stepped on the insect giving his shoe an extra twist in the dirt.
“That ought to do it,” he laughed.
David looked up at me, waiting for an explanation, a reason. I did not wish to embarrass my neighbor, but then David turned, picked up the hose and continued spraying the raspberries.
That night, just before I turned off the lights in his bedroom, David whispered, “I liked that beetle, Daddy.”
“I did too,” I whispered back.
We have the power to choose.
Next time the computer freezes, your bathrobe tie falls in the toilet, and the phone rings again, remember you have the power to choose how to respond. And maybe, just maybe, you could also choose to clap. Let’s pray for each other this Lent.
P.S. If you’ve never read Chris deVinck’s The Power of the Powerless, from which this excerpt was drawn, do so. You won’t regret it.