I was at Bible study the other day and we were talking about gossip. However, as many of us know, sin is all the same it just wears different names, so the topics were vibrant and varied. As is typical, I launched into an object lesson with the following analogy. And (maybe because it fell kind of flat), I'm going to write it here to convince myself it's worthy of preserving. I have illustrated a bit more thoroughly, now that I've had time to stew over it.
A little boy has a tradition of grabbing his papa's calloused hands and inviting him into his room everyday, where the boy gives a grand tour and presents the day's creations. He shows Papa every nook and cranny - so proud of the display and the way he cleaned and prepared it for Papa's inspection. Even though Papa has seen and knows exactly what lies behind books and under the bed, he takes genuine interest not in the presentation, but in the presenter. His eyes are fixed on his boy as the little one goes about the room pointing things out like they are brand new.
Together, they rearrange furniture and dream and hope for the colors and shapes that will enter the room in the future. He tugs Papa's hand over to granny's rocking chair in front of the shelves of storybooks and there they sit rocking and cherishing one another. The little boy adores his Papa and absolutely lives for the time of day when he gets to bring Papa into his own little space in the house.
On a frightful, stormy Tuesday
the little boy loses track of time. He pulls out toy after toy after book after experiment after cluttered toy and surprises himself at the havoc he can wreak on his room. The day turns to night and the boy neither wants to clean nor wants to invite his Papa in to see this mess. He closes, carefully without even a squeak to announce it, the door to his special space and walks on tippy-toes over the scattered mess.
The boy sits uncomfortably on granny's rocking chair, unsure what will happen if night passes and Papa doesn't come. But, all the while he sits and there is no knock and no sound on the stair.
He does not budge from granny's chair, but moves ever so gently just to stay in motion. With night on the heels of day and morning following night's footsteps, the little boy feels relief like a cup of warm hot chocolate. He can hear his breath now as he decides it was good to close the door.
The following day
the little boy slips from the room without sound and meets his Papa downstairs and watches him drink coffee and read the paper. He expects something, anything, to recognize the absent invitation. But, his eggs and toast smell like breakfast and the orange juice means the day will roll on, like any other. He wears relief like a blanket and even mumbles the everyday greeting, "Mornin', Papa" in the direction of Papa's breakfast chair.
The days and the weeks pass
with the same routine. The little boy slips out in the morning, after a night on granny's rocker, gently swaying to the sound of his breath. The little boy's eyes are dark with fatigue, staring at the bright sunshine in his orange juice. Relief has become a best and only friend. He takes it when he leaves the house for security and drags it back up the stairs when he returns to close the door and look at the mess inside his special space.
He still sees Papa around the house, but speaking to him doesn't seem right. He clings to his blanket and wonders why he doesn't feel comforted. It hurts to see Papa sitting so close and to remember the times of cherishing one another. The blanket he carries feels more like shame than relief.
arrives much like the frightful, stormy Tuesday so long ago. The little boy sees the rain and the crackle in the sky and remembers how dark his days have been. He looks about the room, surveying the strangled scene. Without warning, the boy (not so little) stuffs the blanket underneath the bed very, very far to the corner by the wall.
He opens the door just a little at first, and then the whole way. He walks tippy-toes (because his feet now know this walk very well) to the stairs and down. He finds Papa in the expected place, at the window with his spectacles dangling on his right hand and admiring the horizon. When Papa turns, the boy can not look at him. He only takes Papa's calloused hand and with his head down leads him up the stairs and, without hesitation, into his room.
No words escape the boy's mouth, just the loud breathing from all the months of time alone. He invites Papa in, head bent low, and then begins to sob. He cries and cries and says something about sorry with his hands covering his face, but the word gets all jumbled before it forms on his lips.
Papa takes him by the hand and examines every piece of brokenness strewn haphazardly about the room. Papa does not make any mention about particular toys or experiments or books or clothing, only helps the boy pick up each piece. The boy feels the blanket is over him again, though he thought he hid it. With each piece and every new mess, the boy feels a new pain.
The boy's exhaustion takes over and his tears are all worn out as they pick up the last pieces. He didn't mean to, but he is still clutching his Papa's hand tight. This time, Papa leads him over to granny's rocker. The boy cuddles in, covered by a new blanket and he sleeps. The dark eyes sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep.
When the boy wakes,
though he knows not for how long he slept, he lifts his eyes ever-so-slightly to recognize the scruff of Papa's whiskers close to his forehead. The boy cannot summon the words, but Papa asks if they can talk and share like old times and the boy says, "Oh, yes! Papa, yes!" with all the joy of rest.
The boy slowly gathers speed and lets the words fumble out from his rusty lips. He feels different this time, talking to his Papa. He remembers the terrible work before his rest. He remembers Papa's silent patience. He remembers that Papa has seen everything. The boy remembers the blanket he stashed under the bed, by the wall, and makes motion to find it. But Papa's arms are reassuring and the boy knows the blanket is gone too.
Papa loves the boy.