Launched into oblivion

Tales from the Unending Story

January 13, 2021 | Opinion | Volume 25 Issue 2
Joshua Penfold | Columnist
(Image by Rachel Benn/Pixabay)

My youngest daughter Ruth can be a little firecracker. We say that she’s sweet and spicy.

Sometimes she can get into a real funk, though, and I can feel lost as to how to help her. I am thankful for my wife, who often sweeps in to save the day when my strategies are failing miserably. Sometimes our strategies work and sometimes they don’t.

And the parental strategic weapons we wielded for victory when challenged with my oldest daughter have often proved to be powerless against my little firecracker’s spiciness. Through trial and error we have been learning lots of different methods to try to snap her out of her states of anger, misery, frustration or grumpiness.

At this point, I had better balance this by stating that Ruth can also be the sweetest little thing in the world and melt your heart with joy. Sweet and spicy. 

When it comes to her grumpiness, one such strategy that I have employed involves putting my hand out waiting for her to give me her “grumpies.” Sometimes she is reluctant; other times she’s more willing.

Almost always, though, she will eventually hand them over, invisibly dropping her “grumpies” into my receiving hand. I carefully take them, not wanting to accidentally drop any, then I turn and launch them out as far away as possible into oblivion, symbolically ridding her—and the room, the house and possibly the planet—of this particular batch of “grumpies.”

Often we’ve succeeded in ridding her of them all, and then the “grumpies” are replaced with giggles, a wonderful transformation from spicy to sweet. 

It’s amazing how we’re able to be rid of an invisible thing, an intangible thing, by symbolically treating it like a very physical thing. I was reminded of how we do this in our spiritual lives. Have you ever written a transgression down on a piece of paper and then nailed it to a cross or thrown it in a fire, as a physical way of letting go of your sin and offering it to God? 

Even Scripture speaks of a way in which God does this: “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depth of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

I take great delight in visualizing God putting his hand out before us, waiting patiently for us to hand over our iniquities, so that once offered, God can quickly pivot, wind up and launch them into the depths of the sea, never to be seen again, followed by giggles of delight.

Joshua Penfold ( won first place for ball throwing in Grade 6 track and field for the City of Guelph, so you know he must have a good arm for launching things into oblivion.

Read more Tales from the Unending Story columns:
Sovereign of good and bad
God as our inheritance
Praying for the prophets
A spiritual disruption
A living metaphor

(Image by Rachel Benn/Pixabay)

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