I have a vivid memory from my teenage years of heading to the breakfast table with a sinking feeling, dreading the approaching humiliation. I would drop into my chair, perhaps even trying to angle my face so that my dad was not staring at me head on. But all in vain, for inevitably the time would come when he would look up from his bowl of oatmeal and be confronted with the recently popped pustule, now red and bleeding on my face. He would then utter the phrase I became so familiar with over the years: “You sure made that a lot worse.”
I tell this story not only because I seem to have a masochistic desire to rehash embarrassing tales from my past but also as an illustration of some deeper tendency on my part to refuse to leave well-enough alone. Isn’t history full of examples of people that get themselves (and often others) into a heap of trouble because they just have to stir the pot? The mess of human history began with the whole Eve and fruit incident and look how well that turned out. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when telling my children the story of the fall of man. I watch their utter bafflement at the greed of Adam and Eve. I mean, they are in the Garden of Eden for crying out loud! To let mankind off the hook a bit, we could take a look at our celestial predecessors. Sam, our six-year-old, has been questioning me of late with regards to Satan. “Mom, if the angels were with God in heaven then how could they choose to sin?” Good question, my boy. I feel like a complete boob every time I try to answer this question. How could they make that choice? And yet, there I am making the same choice every day. Staring straight into the mirror with full knowledge of the havoc I am about to reek and I find the temptation, well, too tempting. So I guess I have no one to blame but myself. Thank goodness my Father is still there, looking me full in the face, despite my attempts to avoid His gaze. “You sure made that a lot worse,” He says, sometimes with a bit of a chuckle, I am sure. But by His grace, He is always there to clean up my mess and maybe some day I will learn to leave well-enough alone.