In the never ending saga that is home remodeling, I found myself starting a project Sunday evening just as my wife was leaving for the night. It was a simple, quick project - installing a new ceiling fan.
My two kids wanted to be with me while I worked so they were in the same room as I unpacked the new fan. It didn't take them long to discover the packaging used to protect the fan - Styrofoam! I'm not sure what it is about Styrofoam but my kids love to play with it. And as long as they're not eating it, it's a very safe thing for them to do.
There's one problem with Styrofoam: It's messy! In about 5 minutes they had Styrofoam all over the room I was working in. It's kind of like glitter - you can try to contain the glitter/Styrofoam to a certain area but it's hopeless. It just spreads itself all over the place.
When I saw the mess that was starting, my first instinct was to tell them to stop and clean it all up. But as I began to stop them, I noticed how much fun they were having and how much joy it was giving them. They were laughing as they kicked, punched, ripped, shredded and tossed the Styrofoam around the room. It was a beautiful sight.
I told them they could keep playing but that they'd have to clean up their mess when they were done. Of course, to get full cooperation on the cleanup I had to let them use the vacuum - which was pretty effective although not completely thorough.
It only took us about 10 minutes to clean up the mess and everything was back to normal.
I even heard my son say, "This is the best night ever!" while he was using the vacuum.
(I also heard him yelling, "I'm never going back to the old days!" while they were playing with the Styrofoam. I have no idea what that means)
As I thought about the mess, the fun and the cleanup, I wondered if there was an analogy somewhere in that scenario. That happens to me a lot. I look for lessons or bigger pictures in the small snapshots I experience. I couldn't quite make this one work, except for these little tidbits:
1. I believe it brings our Heavenly Father incredible joy to see us happy - maybe even if it means He's going to need to help us clean up some messes later.
2. If you get great joy out of something that creates a small mess - it's totally worth it!
3. I don't think God defaults to saying, "No," the way I do. I think He wants to say yes, but knows yes is not always the healthiest answer. I want to default to "Yes" and then change my mind to "No" if it's necessary.
4. Kids like to make messes. They like to clean them up, too, if you can make it fun.
That's all I've got. Do you see any other lessons/big pictures in this story?
Let's never go back to the old days!