Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Pathetic Chronicles

Every time I tell a story from my childhood, Robb ends up rolling on the floor laughing and then saying, "You have to write a book!" I'm never sure that is a good idea, but I was moved to tell this story and perhaps try out a few more on you Happiness readers. As a working title, I have dubbed these tales the Pathetic Chronicles, because most of my saddest tales are centered around my incredible naievity and timidity. This one has been in my head for the last couple of days because of the PAPA Prayer. One of the steps in learning to pray relationally to God is to attend to your view of God; in other words, who do you think you are speaking to? In asking myself this question, I recalled this story....


My daddy would have given me the world if he could have. I know he adored me and loved bringing us kids suprises...sometimes candy, sometimes a stuffed animal from one the trade shows he went to, sometimes to my mother's chagrin, a new pet. It was this characteristic about him that made this particular event so very memorable.

I must have been about 8 or 9 years old when he went to some trade show. As part owner of a agricultural business, he occasionally would go to these things and end up with little plastic trinkets from the various sales-booths. He called me in to the kitchen and told me to hold out my hands and close my eyes. His blue eyes twinkled as I trustingly put them out...expecting something very good. Something soft and vaugely sticky was released into my hands. I opened my eyes to the horrific sight of a life-size rubbery tarantula. I screached in terror, waving my hands to get that awful thing away from me and ran crying to my room. Dad laughed at first.

FREEZE. It was that moment that was imprinted on my memory. That feeling of expectation...that hopeful, trusting moment that was doused with the sickening, ice-cold horror. I was genuinely afraid of that spider. And I was genuinely crushed that my "gift" was something hateful.

Of course, after he realized how upset I was, I'm sure my dad felt terrible. He like to tease and play jokes, but I was a pretty serious kid and just couldn't take it. I'm pretty sure I remember him saying he was sorry.


*****

So all these years later, I am standing before my Heavenly Father, trying to figure out how I am picturing Him. I'm waiting for him to sell our house so we can get on with getting this church started. I'm trying so hard. I'm tired. I want Him to fix it. I know He can. I believe He can. I'm bewildered that He hasn't already.

This memory pops into my head, and I realize that this is how I have been viewing God...me with my hands open and outstretched...my eyes closed...expecting something good, and He hands me a rubber spider and laughs. That's how I've been viewing God.

Tears streaming down my face, I re-live that moment.

And then He whispers to me...

"Who among you, when your child asks for a fish, gives him a snake? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

11 comments:

Sara said...

I'll be sure to remember that.

Robb said...

This story ... as beautifully written and as moving as it is ... is nowhere near as pathetically funny as a much younger you wearing two pairs of underpants to school.

jdub said...

that sounds like a funny story...

Courtney said...

it is, actually. But I've got a few better ones of Ness. BTW, Ness, if you want, we can co-author a book and I can add my two cents. We could at least get some free therapy.

Anonymous said...

Robb can enter the story business with his remembrances of Mars and Poopsie, BUT be careful, we also have stories about his DATE LIFE in high school and college - remember the girl with the personality of a fence post and the time I forgot her name and called her by the name of a previous girl friend?
Poopsie

ness said...

yeah, who really could keep up with them all...

Gretchen
Marsha
Carrie (BARF)
little miss Teen NY whats her face
Sara
Barb
Jessica
Jen

who am i forgetting....Robb...help me out....

oh yeah...i remember...

Chandra-I-gave-you-a-hickey-and-you-didn't-even-know-it-until-your-mother-saw-it.


That's what you get for making jokes about my underpants, buddy.

Robb said...

wow - how pathetic am i?

A said...

Biting my tongue, biting my tongue!!

courtney said...

oh oh! I want to chime in!! 'cause I'm the little sister and I can tell all the crazy "crying over which boyfriend to keep" stuff and Robb's attempts to be nice to me to get in with the family. Boy I was obnoxious to you both!! :) In all fairness, Robb shouldn't be judged by the girls he dated at BBC (outside of Ness, who was obviously choice). I didn't know ANY BBC girls with a personality, let alone any that didn't need to be heavily medicated and used for science. The guys were just a little better, for that matter.

akr said...

i am so glad you enjoyed your little suprises...it was fun getting them together!

Darla said...

what a great story ness... thank you for sharing this. i've come back and read it several times now. just thought i'd let you know! :)

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