Working with Daddy
As we made final preparations for our baby boy to come, one of the major additions was bunk beds for the boy’s room. Not just any bunk beds either, my wife had found the perfect set from… Ikea. Yes, Ikea, the consumers paradise or otherwise known as Lucifer’s Tinker Shop. And so my journey to the land of white pine shelving, paper lamps and Swedish meatballs began.
As I meandered through the labyrinth of cutlery and kitschy napkin holders, I sensed the presence of the Ikea “Minotaur” breathing down my neck. A massive, writhing being that seizes the consumer’s subconscious, disorienting it’s victims with impulse buys and unwarranted reasons to remodel closets. The beast was cornering me behind faux wood nightstands and shower curtain displays- Ikea was winning. After a lifetime of wandering and a basket full of floral place mats and a receptacle cover, I finally made my way down to the 1st level of the store. Locating the all-wood bunk beds that weighed 2 tons, I looked up and down the mammoth aisle for some assistance, but found none.
I decided to walk to the front of store to find help (which was 2 miles round trip). I unfortunately had to settle for a moving cart which I brought back to the bunk bed aisle and attempted to load the over-sized box onto the undersized cart with space wheels that rolled in every direction at the same time (the Swedes evidently don’t believe in a braking system for their carts). By the time I got out to the parking lot I had walked over 12 miles inside the store, signed up for a family savings card, lifted 2 tons, 4 times, spent more than I had budgeted and got angry with an old lady and an employee- The Minotaur gloated with victory; but my mission was completed- bunk beds were coming home.
When I arrived I had two very excited boys waiting to “work” with Daddy. We were going to assemble the bunk beds on Saturday morning- a task that I knew was going to be hard enough to complete without their “help”. As Saturday rolled around, we got out all of my tools (even though all we needed was a flat head screw driver and a hammer) and began unpacking the box. Within minutes, styrofoam was all over the room, we were missing screws, Finn found the hammer and made contact with my big toe… my help had arrived.
After 30 minutes of losing my mind along with all of my tools and somehow displacing every piece of the bed around the house, I “calmly”sent the boys outside to play in the front yard. My boys; precious children- so eager and so desperate to be help- to be noticed and to find purpose. I watched them ride their bikes around our circle drive, round and round they went as I felt my brow soften and my blood pressure go back down.
Picking up the pieces of the bed scattered around the house felt heavy as the Holy Spirit began to fasten truth to the hardware of my heart. I am more like them than I know sometimes. We are all so fragile, so eager and so unhelpful in many ways. I tried for years in my religiosity and zeal to “help” my Daddy fix the problems I so clearly saw around me: friends, breakups, church politics, the poor and needy. I didn’t wait for instruction, I ignored the written diagrams he provided and certainly had no idea how to use the tools he gave me. And yet I managed more often than not to make a mess of things and still waited for recognition of my efforts.
I made the final interpretations of the Swedish Airline Emergency instructions to assemble what I hoped was a bed that could withstand the tempest that slammed back in through the front door. As the boys jumped all over the bunks and swung from the slats I heard a single word echo inside- ABIDE. What more does the God of this universe, maker of heaven and earth want? He wants our heart, our time, a genuine desire to be with him and for us to listen.
We live in a confusing world that tries at nothing less than to suffocate the innocence and simplicity of time- pure, unadulterated time. His abiding presence is the only saving grace. Between the aisles of foreign stores, busy streets, useless conversations and fragmented moments of life- his presence- Daddy’s patient presence wins the moment every time. And the most amazing thing is that he knows we’re going to make a mess.