Have you ever noticed that we rarely if ever get ourselves into trouble without overriding a warning first? Sometimes we ignore a series of warnings before we plunge headlong into trouble. Even though there are evil influences all around us God influences us to do right and warns us about evil. In his infinite creativity, though a network of angels, the voice of the Spirit, the dictates of His word, or the agency of human authorities God is always faithful to warn His children when they are about to do something harmful or foolish. Sometimes he uses Grandpas.
My Grandpa warned me never to do it and of course I should have listened but I was influenced by my evil cousin. At least that’s the way I remember it. I’ve really never been that good at thinking up evil things to do on my own. But it seems like there is always someone around who is good at bad stuff. My evil cousin was like that.
One of the most fascinating places I have ever explored is the barn on my Grandpa’s old farm on Ohio.
There was a rope hanging from a rafter and the barn was filled with hay so it was the most tempting thing in the world to climb onto a stack of bales and swing from the rope and drop into the hay below. I did it over and over again and so did my cousin. If fact, I’m sure it was his idea.
After a while even something as fun as that gets a little routine so we started to look for variations. That is when Jimmy came up with a delicious idea. He casually suggested that we could swing over and land on the roof of the milk room. Immediately I knew it was something I had to do. He told me he didn’t think I could do it. I said I could. He was sure I couldn’t. So, of course I showed him. I climbed to the top-most bail of hay took the rope and adding a Tarzan-like cry for effect swung out over the top of the milk room. Well out over the milk room I let go of the rope and dropped nicely onto the roof.
Well, not actually a roof it was really the topside of a ceiling. The milk room was framed within the barn and dry-walled. When I dropped onto the roof I happened to miss the studs and land on a piece of drywall between the studs. I shot through the drywall like a not knife through butter but I didn’t fall to the ground. That would have been merciful compared to what happened. I missed the studs but I landed a straddle of the milking coral with one leg on one side and one leg on the other. It was a very uncomfortable position. It still hurts a little when I think about it. When the dust settled I could hear my evil cousins’ hideous and sadistic laughter.
I’ve really never been that quick to pick up on things. But when I think back on that happy moment dangling from a hole in the ceiling of the milk room I remember to take warnings seriously and I remember that it is a really bad idea to hang around evil people like my cousin Jimmy.
I always expected Jimmy to organize prison riots when he grew up or take upwith the Mafia, or run for congress, but I have to admit he turned out pretty good after all. As evil as he was he probably could never overcome my influence on him for good. Hey, we all have our role to play, right?
You don’t want to take my humor too seriously. My cousin was really not evil and the only part of this story that is not true and accurate is my evaluation of him as “pretty good after all.” The fact is he is a fine husband, father, and provider and a leader in his church. I say this because it is true and because I don’t want my Aunt scratch me off the Christmas card list or write me out of her will.
(From Stonebridge Newsletter -Number 71)