Sunday, 5 June 2011
A World of Possibility
On Friday afternoon, I visited a couple from our church who had recently been in a bad car accident. Although frustrated with the length of time it is taking their aging bodies to heal, they are mindful that this trial, like others they have faced throughout their life together, will pass and, in the end, will be a blessing. My intention for the visit was to provide them with comfort and companionship, with the hope that I would in some small way buoy their spirits; however, it seems that on this day, I was the one who would leave nurtured and uplifted. I expected to find two people worn out and perhaps a little downtrodden from their recent misadventure, but rather, I was warmly greeted by two people enduring their afflictions with patience and hope and refusing to succumb to the fear and despair that inevitably accompany tragedy. As we ate lunch together, which I am humbled to admit they made and served, I listened intently as they shared their remarkable stories of raising eight children in poverty and losing one of their sons to the careless actions of a drunk driver. Although their story appears tragic, it is one filled with love, faith, hope and miracles. I marvelled at their strength and their unwavering belief that all things happen for a purpose and in the end, all will be well. As a young woman on my own journey through faith and family, I loved listening to their experiences and left their home with a quiet assurance that, although we cannot control the obstacles that we will face in this world, we can control how we react to them. We have the choice to allow challenges to rob us of our will and to deny us the joy of this earthly experience, or we can choose to face them head on with the conviction to live our lives with faith, courage, and purpose, as this family has.
One story that I found particularly insightful was about the family car. After ten years of unemployment, this family of ten found themselves needing a new car but having no money to buy one. So, they did what everyone in this circumstance would do, they made one . . . and yes, for all my Sheldon-like readers, this is sarcasm. Using parts from three similar cars, the dad and the kids took the best parts from each and rebuilt them into a working car. Then, using paint rollers, the children painted the car green and christened her the "green pickle". When telling me this story, the couple admitted that living in poverty was very difficult, but they made the best of what they had and they now see how their family was blessed from growing up in such meagre circumstances: "Not having a job, allowed me to be with my family and gave me the opportunity to work alongside them. I think one of the greatest lessons they learned was the idea of possibility, the idea that we are only limited by the limits we impose upon ourselves".
On my drive home, this "idea of possibility" intrigued me. In the world we live in today, where consumerism pervades and necessitates a "disposable" culture, where our desires become object-based and these objects are made not to last and are to be constantly replaced by something newer and faster, where we are bombarded with advertisements with things that promise to make our lives easier or better, will our children ever learn this "idea of possibility"? Will they be able to carve out a life that is unique to their own needs and desires, or will they settle for the neat little package-deals the world has to offer? Will they have the opportunity to make do with what they have, or to use their own ingenuity and skills to make what they need? Will they rely too heavily upon the advice of "experts" rather than trusting in their own ability and knowledge? I pray that my children will be actively engaged in the construction of their own lives. I want my children to grow up empowered and to have opportunities that will allow them to develop creativity and confidence in their own abilities. I want them, when faced with a problem, to tackle that challenge with ingenuity, creativity and enthusiasm. I want their lives to be filled with "green pickle" experiences!
So, this afternoon, when Elliot came to me and asked if we have a wrench, I felt my heart do a little leap.
Me: "What do you need a wrench for?"
Elliot: "Avery and I are making a go-cart. We have spent the afternoon making the plans. Do you want to see them?"
Well, everything looks like it's in order here. What do you think?
So, with their wrench, a tape measure and two old bikes they found in the shed, okay I am fibbing, we live in the country so the bikes were just lying in the yard, they got down to business.
I was giddy! Go boys, go!
Then I saw Derrick's car pull into the driveway. As I heard his car door open, I wanted to yell out "don't squash their ingenuity", but I held back to see how he would react.
Derrick: "What are you up to boys?"
Boys: "We're making a go-cart".
I knew there was a reason why I love this man. I don't know why I would even think for a second that he would poo-poo on their plans since he is often being bombarded by his wife with her equally grand ideas. If you are not up to speed on grand ideas in the Webster household, please see "The Vision".
The only concerned he expressed was: "and what purpose do the 3D glasses serve?".
Ugh, dads! Don't they know the importance of looking like a creative genius when you are using your creative genius . . . sheesh!
Then Derrick thrilled the boys, and me, when he offered to go out and help them.
What a great dad!
So, although our go-cart in no way bares even a smidgen of the significance or the sacrifice that went into the creation of the "green pickle", I am thrilled that my boys took a problem (boredom and lack of cash), devised a plan to overcome it, and implemented their plan with ingenuity, creativity and enthusiasm. Ya know, they may just do okay in this world . . . well, that is, if they can ever put an end to their little pee wars . . . there is never a dull, or dry, moment around here on the Webster plantation!
p.s. I will post pictures of the go-cart once it is completed. I wonder what colour they will choose to paint it?