Architecture and the Wrecking Ball



Right now, my two sons' favorite toy is an Imaginarium marble play set that my husband bought in a stroke of both genius and madness one Christmas. Maybe you've seen one. Our looks like this.


As you can see it's a kid (and adult) magnet with it's bright cheery colors and various plastic marble "troughs" that you snap together along with some colored plastic "tubes" to create a fun marble-riffic good time. As my son, Declan, will demonstrate.



See...any child's dream toy. And it is....

However....you'll notice that earlier I said my husband bought it in a state of "madness."  Why madness? Well, for me, this toy is also the bane of my existence right now.

The plastic pieces are rarely nicely put away in their plastic bin. This is because Declan and his little brother want to play with it all throughout each and every day. They love to beg me to stop what I'm doing and come and build it for them -- which requires a lot of brain power (I'm a bit slow in this problem-solving area) because in order to achieve maximum thrillage, you have to put the pieces together in the correct way to allow the marbles to flow freely throughout the various troughs throughout the entire structure.

Put the wrong side in the wrong place...the marble doesn't go anywhere.

And believe you me, the kids always know if I've "cut off" some part of the structure and the marbles cannot freely flow through to the bottom of it. I've spent quite a bit of time (even after more than a year of building these epic creations) pulling parts of it apart and putting it back together to make it all work right.

Frustrating as this may be, it's not what drives me bonkers.

What yanks my crazy chain is that after 20 minutes of me sitting there muttering under my breath and sometimes pulling my hair out (especially when I feel like there is something else I could/need to be doing), the boys will play with it for approximately 4.5 minutes.

And then they completely go King Kong on it and demolish it to the ground.

Often I hear this in the other room as I've gone back to doing what I was doing before, or have started on another task. I inwardly groan as I picture all that effort literally flying around the living room -- rolling under furniture and littering the area rug with all those plastic pieces.

And, no...they can't destroy it into its plastic bin. Noooo...that would be too easy.

Instead, they seem to enjoy having all that carnage laying around. It doesn't seem to faze them one bit....

...until it does.

The other day, Declan came running and screaming into the kitchen hopping around and yelling, "it hurts! it hurts!"

When I finally found what it was that was hurting him, I was stunned. There was a pretty significant cut on his big toe. It was pretty wide and deep -- so much so, that I debated taking him to the doctor for stitches. However, since I know my boy, I knew that this would most likely not be the best route for him. I was able to clean it and patch it up with a butterfly bandage and after a few minutes, all was calm.

However, when I asked him what on earth was in our house that could have created such an awful cut, he showed me.

It was one of the marble set pieces.

A seemingly innocuous plastic "lip" on one of the troughs to make a loop-de-loop caught him in just the right way to cut almost like a knife across his toe. As I explained to him how those pieces strewn around the living room could actually be dangerous (and yes, I had said it before), I saw something click in his eyes.

He finally understood that something so incredible could also be hurtful if it wasn't taken care of properly.

And as I thought about that marble set and Declan's toe over the next few days, I started thinking about how I'm really not all that different when it comes to the architecture of my life and God as the Master Architect.

I guess when it comes down to it, we're all spiritual toddlers who desperately want our Father to make us something extraordinary. And, He is good enough to do it. Yes, we thoroughly enjoy it for awhile...until all we can think about is how to rip it apart.

And when we see it lying there destroyed and havoc we've wreaked upon it, and we get cut up and wounded by all those sharp edges and sometimes even broken pieces, all we can think about is how we want to see it put back together again.

Thankfully, God is a both a better parent and architect than I am.

He is faithful to bind up the wounds and help us to start over.

I wish I were more like Him. Magnanimous, forgiving, engaging, understanding....patient.

But, I'm human me.

All that precious time that it takes my addled brain to figure out how to get the pieces to go together just right gets destroyed in literally seconds.

My patience in both building and watching the ruining runs thin.

It seems like such a waste.

But...maybe it's not about me.

Maybe it's about the fact that even though my boys know that I'm busy, distracted and tired, I will almost always stop what I'm doing and get down on the floor with them and build that sucker.

Maybe, just maybe...it's what they count on.

Momma will stop loading the dishwasher/writing a blog post/folding the clothes/reading that magazine/sweeping up the floor for the umpteenth time....and she'll play.

She'll build.

She'll sit next to me.

I don't know why it's so fun to destroy those things that take so much time and effort into building. Maybe it's our fallen human nature. Maybe it's just child-like curiosity.

But I do know that when I stand in the detritus of the architecture of God's plan and dream for me...yes, even my own dream...He will be faithful to help me rebuild.

All I need to do is just ask.

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