It felt like a punch in the gut.
My husband and I wrote this for the classifieds:
FREE older playground set, complete with swings, slide, and climbing fort. First person to pick it up, gets it!
We fielded constant calls before a couple finally padded across our lawn, inspecting their potential treasure.
“Oooh…” they gushed. “Our kids will looove it! But we can’t pick it up until Monday. Is that ok?”
The couple won us over, so we deviated from our first-picker-upper-gets-it plan. We shook on it, and it was a done deal for Monday.
Monday was family rafting day. We told the couple we wouldn’t be home when they came. “But no worries. You can help yourself to the backyard and have at it!”
The thought of returning home to a yard that looked bigger and less cluttered gave me something to look forward to.
After our fun in the sun, we stepped in our backyard and… Wowsa! Our playground set was still there. Partially still there. Partially disassembled in bits of lifeless pieces on the other side of our property, away from the lonely remaining fort.
Closer inspection revealed they’d stripped the screws. It didn’t take a detective to figure out they had probably become frustrated with the old wood, given up, and walked away. With the swings and teeter-totter. The goodies. I remembered how they’d asked for them on their first visit, but I’d told them to wait until they picked up the whole shebang.
What could have blessed someone else was now a useless mess. How could they do this?
I stared at the remaining structure and named it “a monument of rejection,” a tall looming proof of our mistake.
I pictured the sweet little lady who came to my door the previous day, asking, “Can I give you my number in case they change their mind?”
“They won’t,” I assured her. “They love it.”
It struck me ~ I didn’t even have the couple’s number. Well, I did; it was buried in the sea of caller IDs, along with everybody else’s number who wanted it. Before. Rrr…
R is for Reject
My head ached at the thought of my husband ripping up the remains for the junkyard.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “Maybe they’ll be back.” But I could tell he didn’t count on it.
One day turned into two, three, four, then finally a week. A week gave me too much time to think. I wondered if most people would feel like this? Gut-punched? Rejected?
They say rejection scars run deep.
What I faced as a child still often tries to take me to that place. When people don’t return my waves and friendship gestures. When they don’t look at me during a conversation. When they leave behind a playground set without a word? I don’t know. Maybe this was different. Still, “the monument of rejection” felt like a punch; and neither my husband nor I had time to deal with it.
Then it happened. As free as an unexpected breeze, the following week, the guy from the couple blew in.
“We’re SO sorry,” he said. “Time got away. Hope you didn’t think we forgot about ya.”
“Forgot us? Nah… Why would we ever think that?”
That’s not what I said. Just, “Wow, I’m so happy to see you!” And I was. So happy I could have hugged his neck!
R is for Remember
As I watched him and his friends disassemble our beautiful, wonderful piece of a playground set, a smile crossed my lips. Then a giggle.
God, is this how we tend to think of you? Of ourselves? Like we’re sculptures of rejection? Forgotten, in our partially disassembled states?
Where are you, God? I know you care about them. But me?
The playground set left scars on the ground where the grass used to be. Now they’re scars of remembrance, scars of trust.
God has a purpose. We just need to wait and see.
Not only is Jesus coming back for us, but he also has great plans to use us so we can make a positive difference in the lives of his beloved children.
No, the children may not get our love offering right away, but someday this will. Yes, we can trust God they someday will.
[box] “So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32[/box]
R is for Release
Father, thank you that where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is ignorance, there is revealing. You are the great Revealer, the One who makes our scars enlighten us like stars. Thank you for continually reminding us that there is always a reason to hope – when we put our hope in you. Because you are trustworthy and kind, we give you our past, our present, our future. You hold them anyway. For this too we thank you. In Jesus’ name.
R is for Response
I’d love to hear what YOU think in the comment section below. How has God used pain and discomfort to remind you that you can always trust him?