I'm not who I was.
I’ve been recovering from surgery over the past few days.
(Out of consideration for readers who may be gagged by too much information, I will only go as far as to say that it was female-related. You’re welcome.)
The Rev has been doing a fantastic job of holding down the fort while I’ve spent the majority of my time lying around. We have also been blessed by kind family and friends who have graciously taken the kids off of our hands and brought us meals and treats. There has been so much food and fun to be had outside of my room that I’m not certain if my family will ever want me to fully recover ;-).
One such friend brought cupcakes. If you know Cheeks, you know that this has made him VERY happy. He had his first dose of sugary happiness last night. Today when he and the Rev came home from church, cupcakes were the first thing on his mind. Before he ever got his cupcake, he was already plotting on how he might get more. He turned on his cutesy voice. “How ’bout… two, free cupcakes? Sore, sive, six cupcakes?”
After Cheeks finished his lunch, the Rev began to get out the coveted cupcake. (Just one, for the record.) It was obvious that his treat was coming, so Cheeks was very compliant. Rev: “You need to sit at the table.” Cheeks: “Oh. At the tabe-oh? Oh, ok! I sit at the tabe-oh.”
The Rev set the cupcake in front of the enthusiastic child. Cheeks: “Yay, cupcakes!”
The Rev began to peel the wrapper off of said cupcake. Cheeks (angrily): “NO! Dat’s MY cupcake! Dat’s not yo cupcake! Dat’s MINE!” And he proceeded to scream and flail & HIT the Rev. (Evidently he has not yet learned, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”)
From what it sounded like, the Rev was even going to give Cheeks a second chance, post time-out. He explained that he was trying to help him. He gave him the opportunity to make the right choices. But Cheeks had hardened his heart over not getting to be in total control over how the gift was given or how the help was administered. The tantrum escalated & soon our power-hungry, shrieking, 3-year-old hulk found himself alone, in his bed, and all together cupcake-less.
Daddy giveth & daddy taketh away.
Here’s the kicker. Even though the Rev had thoroughly explained what the consequences of continued misbehavior would be ahead of time, when it actually came down to throwing the cupcake in the trash, Cheeks was appalled. “You did DAT!?!?! YOU did dat!!!!” was his wail of both mis-belief and accusation (of course deferring all of the blame of the situation off of himself and onto his daddy). Surely a loving father would never demolish his fluffy source of harmless momentary happiness. But in fact that is exactly what a good & loving daddy who cares about his child’s character, well-being, integrity & long-term happiness does.
How often are we like that with God? We see what we want. We claim what we want. We feel entitled to get what we want. In fact, we feel entitled to MORE. We will try to manipulate for more. We will temporarily behave well for the results that we want, especially when we can see that its reality is not an impossibility. If we can’t see it coming, or we see things differently, we mope. The closer we get to “it” becoming “ours”, the more power-hungry we become. Rather than gratefully receiving the gift, we selfishly snatch it away. Once we think that we are perfectly capable of “doing” for ourselves, we shun the very giver of our gift & the help that desired to bring us to our reward sooner and with less mess along the way. Our rebellious explosion leaves us empty and we embitter ourselves towards the giver in an effort to protect our own ego.
If only we were still, if only we would have acknowledged how what was given to us wasn’t really ours, how much sweeter that moment would have been.
Hopefully the next time the Giver brings a gift, we will be un-spoiled enough to receive it well and to taste how sweet it is.