Monday, July 26, 2010

Yoda and Paul and the Domino Trail

Flickr photo by Micah Taylor, creative commons
In my youngest child's quest not to be BORED OUT OF HIS MIND this summer, he decided to enter a contest held by Klondike Bars. (Arteries in both our bodies stood up and cheered to find out that this did not involve eating massive quantities of ice cream. Our taste buds, however are still in mourning.)

For this "Grab the Remote" challenge, entrants had to make a video in which a lazy person uses some kind of homemade contraption to retrieve his TV remote from a coffee table, with the condition that he remain with his derriere firmly planted in the couch/easy chair.

Sam was inspired by Mousetrap, a game we loved to play for the one-and-a-half weeks before we started losing pieces. You know the game?

Yep, that's it.
He asked me to help him a little with the camera work, (unfortunately this was after my second cup of coffee, so it's a teeny bit shaky,) but I think it turned out great. Take a look for yourself!

Yey, Sam!
He had a great time doing it, setting up the chain of events, one leading to the next, until the remote was in his hot little hand.

His "this will knock this, which will knock this, which will knock this" narration nudged my brain to fire off its own domino trail.

To start, my noggin woke up a funny little voice way back in the Star Wars corner of my brain.

"Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."

Yoda led me straight to a Liberty Mutual commercial (at the end of the post,) which in turn took me over to the apostle Paul.

"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5: 3-5

I heard my brain recite it, and then I looked it up and studied it again.
Sorry, Paul. Saying it might sound nice, but it's awfully hard to truly rejoice in suffering, even though I know it will build character, make me a better person, yada yada yada.

But then I looked at my boy, and I thought of all the times all three of my kids have struggled/suffered/floundered a bit. Sometimes I've chosen to dive in the pool and yank them out of the water, coughing and sputtering. But other times I've let them flounder just a while, even though it's hard to stand there watching, because I know that there are things they need to learn, lessons they can only get through their own floundering. It's some of the most difficult work of parenting for me, letting my children learn things on their own, work things out by themselves in their hobbled-together, inexperienced way. It takes a lot of self control on my part to resist the urge to always be the fixer, but sometimes I know I have to do it for their sake.

Surely this is part of the mystery and great love of God, that he sets us free to work things out on our own, even though he could step in like Superman and save the day. There are times I just don't understand why he doesn't act more, when horrible pain and suffering are allowed to occur. But I know God is good and loves us with a love too big to understand. I trust I'll understand one day.

Wow, that's heavy stuff. And to think it all started with Klondike bars.
Now I want ice cream!

So how about you? Does this post spark any ideas of your own? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Love, Becky
PS. Don't miss this Liberty Mutual commercial. Love it!


Rev. Sharon said...

I absolutely adore the honest, good-humoured, delightful way you blog and have your blog set up! You are an inspiration and I look forward to reading your entries. God bless!

Paula Clare said...

I TOTALLY love that reminds me of the United Church of Christ commercial that was similar...

I believe as Americans we whine entirely too much about suffering. While nobody LIKES it, I have begun to understand the value of it and because there is always PURPOSE IN THE PAIN I can endure.

I read the book, Imitation of Christ by Thomas A'Kempis. A thin little book but it took me over a year to get through it and glean all that God intended for was the first "written-by-a-monk" book I'd ever read. And you know those wacky monks LOVE their pain and suffering. lol

As a therapist, I think pain is a good motivator. People are VERY motivated to make change when it HURTS. And again, when there is purpose in the pain, it's easy to help them see that it will be worth it in the long run.

In Western American culture I think we've traded an attitude of gratitude for an ongoing tantrum of entitlement.

The Word helps to keep us OTHER focused...I think that's a BIG part of what Paul was saying...AND what the commercial is saying.

Sorry to wax so philosophical on you...but you asked! lol

Paula Clare

Paula Clare said...

AH! Your son's contraption is GREAT! I have witnessed many times my husband spending FAR MORE TIME trying to figure out HOW to find the remote than it would take to get up and manually change the channel. Men are the KINGS of "help-me-I-don't-want-to-move" inventions! Kudos!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks, Rev. Sharon! I'm happy to meet you!

Paula, I think you're right. There can be so much purpose in pain, and it sounds so much easier just to take a little pill or ignore it. (Not knocking antidepressants here--sometimes people need extra help.)
I'm going to read the book you mentioned, thanks! And I believe it was you and Kathy and Leah who recommended "The Quotidian Mysteries" by Kathleen Norris--so, so good. Thank you for that, too!

As for the remote, you're preaching to the choir! So often I say, "Stop turning the house upside down. Just get up and change the channel!"

Laura said...

I do love this commercial!

I know how you feel as a mom -- when to jump in, when to step's really hard.

My favorite part of this verse? "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

Hope does not disappoint us!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Ah, that commercial is awesome.
Suffering builds us up, makes us strong. It's hard to embrace it, but it's TRUE. I love what Paula Clare wrote.

Leah Skaggs said...

my worlds are colliding - I am so glad you're in the revgal ring!

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

I LOVE Rube Goldberg machines. I built my first one at Sam's age and have been hooked ever since.

And I love your take on them.

Beth Mithen said...

I am so thankful that I stumbled upon your blog. I find each posting so inspirational.

Amy Sullivan said... know I'm loving that commericial!

Now let's talk about that remote grabbing contraption. It has inspired me to challenge my daughter to build something this hot afternoon. Nice!

Susie said...

Congrats Sam! Very clever, nice execution and very convincing performance! The most fun part of connectivity for me is to look back on my life and see the chain of events and people that have led me to where I am. All of my best learning and growth has come from suffering.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Becky, computer's a little sluggish tonight so I wasn't able to open up any of the vids, but I loved your post just the same. I DO miss your lovely words on a regular basis. Looking forward to coming back full swing soon. You do pick out some of the most appropriate Scripture verses -- wow! The way you match those up with your other thoughts amazes and inspires me. And thanks so much for stopping by my writing blog today. You never fail to put a smile on my face by visiting.

Blessings and peace!


Dawn said...

I love your blog! Your son's ingenuity is awesome. I actually painted that verse about hope on my bathroom wall (it's my experimental painting place!), not because I love the thought of suffering, but I love that hope is always there! Thanks for writing!

Heidi Mann said...

My 5-year-old and I loved Sam's video so much we *had* to show it to my husband! Hilarious!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I'll tell him, Heidi. He'll LOVE that!

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the scene in one of the Anne of Green Gables books where Gilbert tells Anne he wants to save her from all trouble and pain in life. (I think it's one of the times when he's leading up to a proposal and she's trying to evade it.) She answers that it would be foolish to do so, since the trouble and pain in life bring us some of our most important lessons, experiences, and opportunities. Then she adds, "Although I suppose it is only when we are comfortable that we admit it." In other words, we can accept this idea in theory, although when in the throes of pain, we usually just want it to go away! ;-)

Jenn Hubbard