Thursday, October 11, 2012

Flying Light Bulbs

Yesterday I wrote a post, even published it, but then later that night deleted most all of it except for the pictures and a one line phrase.  I search for the right thing to say and sometimes it just doesn't come out right.  Well, now I've got a few words which I think will be worth your read.  

The neighbor boys like to play in our alley.  They've made a fort that gives them access to the top of their garage and looks to be a lot of fun.  It makes me want to return to my childhood where my primary job was to engage in creative play.  But the other day they found some discarded long flourescent light bulbs and when I looked out the back window, one boy was standing on top of his garage, light bulb in hand held like a javelin and ready to launch.  His brother was standing behind our garage, the audience to anticipated entertainment.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing! 

The light bulb went flying through the air in a glorious arch and then kaboom!  It exploded into a million pieces!  I was rather upset at first because now we had shattered glass in the alley behind our garage and I felt responsible to have it cleaned up.  It is an unspoken rule around here that each neighbor cares for their section of the alley. 

I mustered up a plan.  I would go to their front door if need be and ask the boys to sweep it up.  I grabbed my broom and dustpan and was about to exit the back door when I saw one boy come back with his own broom in hand.  I found out later that another neighbor had also witnessed the grand event and asked them to clean it up. 

When my husband got home late that night, I told him all about it, thinking maybe those boys needed something to do and that he should invite them to youth group.  He laughed!  Here I was being all stern wanting to show them what's what and he laughs?  Almost wishing he could have been those boys himself, he told me, "Yes, those long flourescent light bulbs lying in the alley were far too great a temptation for any adolescent boy.  When they break they make an awesome explosion!" 

Yesterday, the boys were out in their fort again so my husband went to talk to them.  He asked to see their dad when he got home regarding an unrelated item.  So the dad comes over and they have this amazing conversation.  Soon the mom comes to the gate, afraid to come into the yard because she was smoking, but my husband tells her its quite all right, to come on in. 

My yard is a horrific mess right now.  I have not had a chance to clean out all the dead debris from the old flowers and frozen veggie plants as well as everything thrown out there from our recent paint job of the garage.  But you know what?  I think it encouraged the neighbors to see that mess.  I'm normally paranoid of anyone seeing our messes, but this time I think God used it to help them feel comfortable, to help them see we were real people whom they could relate to. 

When we bought this house, I firmly believed God had placed us in this neighborhood on purpose.  I've been discouraged because it is so hard to get to know neighbors in today's world.  Everyone is suspicious of everyone else and with the tall fences we place around our yards the message is loud and clear, don't intrude. 

I tell you this story mostly because I am so proud of my husband, who can strike up a pleasant conversation with anyone and genuinely cares about people.  He turned potential strife into opportunity.  Sometimes I wonder how I ever ended up with a guy like this, seeings how I am not really gifted in these areas.  At any rate, I'm so grateful this man is mine.  What a treasure!

We are going through some trying times in our lives right now and it is so easy to get wrapped up in the problems.  They just seem to loom bigger and get more complicated as the days march forward.  Yet, this incident reminds me of why we are here, to share our faith with others, and to gently lead them into the kingdom of God.  It doesn't have to be all serious.  Though holy and majestic, God is also playful with a sense of humor.  He can use anything to open doors of opportunity, even flying light bulbs.  Just hoping I don't miss it. 

p.s.  My daughter is sitting in my lap, reading this story with eyes of interest, "They built a fort that gives them access to the top of their garage?  Maybe we should do that!"  Hmmmm. 

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