By Marilou Schnaderbeck
We were spending a lovely evening at a friend’s lake home (beautiful weather, no bugs, water gently lapping the shore) when we decided s’mores were in order! We were short on roasting sticks, so being the problem solver that I am I determined we would hunt for just the right kind and whittle a functional point on the end that would accommodate a marshmallow. After acquiring some sticks I started whittling away, being deliberate to move the knife in an outward direction, however this was not producing the results quick enough for me. Despite the fact that my dad’s voice, (along with all other dads’ voices throughout the history of time) could be heard in my head saying “don’t turn the blade toward you”, I did. It doesn’t matter how I was justifying my foolishness, but doing it the right way was taking too long and was too hard, plus the risk seemed elusive, so I did it my way. After the first whack seemed to achieve positive results, I thought this may be risky for some, but I’m smarter, I’m methodical, I’m in control so everything was going to be just fine. I can’t tell you how many times I did this, but with each whack I got a bit bolder, went a bit faster. As one can’t help but foresee how this scenario played out, eventually I missed the stick and stuck the now dull hunting knife into the tip of my thumb. I let out a yelp and dropped the knife. For a few moments I was in shock-and just stared at my thumb. My friend, who was nearby asked what was wrong and I confessed that I had cut myself. She showed concern for my hurt but also acknowledged the stupidity of my actions. I think her actual words were “Didn’t your father teach you how to handle a knife?”
The blood came quite quickly and profusely. I started to clean the cut and that is when I could see how deep the wound actually was. Oh my goodness, what did I do?! Ugh, how stupid! Well, this obviously put a damper on our plans for s’mores or anything else that evening and we went home. My kind husband ran to Walgreens to find something to bind up the gaping cut and brought home a bag full of bandages, tape, splints, ointments, Good & Plenty…anything that he thought would help care for my injury. The next day, after the shock wore off, so did my otherwise even-keeled composure as the pain was intense. Now…I think I have a pretty high tolerance of pain, but this injury HURT and it didn’t help that I kept bumping my thumb on things. And when I would bump it I cried like a four year old and I’m fairly certain I stomped my foot (which is embarrassing to admit). I was in pain!…and to add insult to literal injury, I had only myself to blame.
It took a long time for my thumb to heal. The wound kept opening and I had to be diligent about cleaning it, protecting it, binding it. And every time I hit my thumb on something, I would make some unintelligible exclamation and would immediately think how stupid I was and if only I had done what I was taught… and exactly whose idea was it to have s’mores in the first place! Well, eventually the cut did heal to a point where I didn’t have keep the bandages on so tight. Then it wasn’t necessary to clean it out anymore. Then at some point I didn’t even need a bandage. After some time a scar took the place of the wound. And recently I looked at my thumb and didn’t notice the scar right away… in fact I had to look at both thumbs to determine which one received the injury. What I find interesting is even though my thumb appears completely healed and normal, on certain days, if it gets hit in the spot where the cut had been, it can still be quite painful and frustrating and even embarrassing as it is a reminder of my poor choice.
It was after one of these such instances of feeling the pain under the scar (I think I was trying to do something simple like push a button through a button hole) , when God nudged me and revealed the parallel between this summertime story of stupidity and sinning. We may have a longing or problem, and instead of listening to our Heavenly Father (which in our estimate may take too long or make us endure too much heartache) we decide to take control and do our own thing. I can tell you first hand, it not only doesn’t make it better (although for a period of time it may seem good-but don’t believe it…it is a horrible lie!) it will make your circumstances worse! However, when your sins do find you out; when God’s perfect light shines on the dark corners of your soul and those things that you thought would never be revealed are revealed, you are presented with another choice to either listen to your Father or do it your own way. Both will be difficult roads, but one leads to hope and healing and the other leads to despair. I’ve decided listening to my Father is best.