Building Sandcastles in a Mud-Pie World

holiday at the sea (fin)A young boy sat in his front yard on the edge of a sandbox—
pouring water out of a small cup, into a variety of molds
filled with sand and dirt.

It was a confusing picture.
Yes, he hummed a certain contentment.
It was a song, though, punctuated by sniffles.

I asked him how he was doing.

“I’m okay.  I’m fine… Now,” he said,
wiping his runny nose with his sleeve.
Red, swollen eyes betrayed some prior trauma.

“But, it looks like you’ve been crying.”

“My daddy scared me this morning,” he said with a slight scowl.
“He wanted to take us to a place called South Padre Island.
I told him I didn’t want to go.
I told him that there was no school today and I wanted to play.
I wanted to make mud pies.”

“Have you ever been to South Padre?
Have you ever been to a beach?,” I asked.
“Why they have lots of sand… and plenty else to do!”

“Yeah, that’s what my daddy says.
But, I don’t care.  I’m happy here.”
As he continued, his face tightened,
his brow furrowed and his lip curled:
“I told Daddy that.  I told him I didn’t care…
I threw myself down and told him that I didn’t want to go,
that he couldn’t make me go, that I wasn’t going to go!”

There was a sniffle or two as he wiped his runny nose again.

“Mommy and Daddy are inside, unpacking now…
Don’t know why they are so sad.
Don’t know why they are so mad,” he concluded.
“I couldn’t be happier!”

No, this did not really happen.
It’s a fiction, a parable I created –
inspired by words of C.S. Lewis.

But, while the story may not be real, it is true –
for the ways and signals something that is,
too often, happening around us (and within us).

In my own life, I find myself admitting and praying:

Dear God,

Forbid that I—that we—
should be satisfied with our mud pies in our slums
when a holiday at the beach is your plan and promise!

Forgive us for our lesser contentments. 

Equip us, equip me
for the joyful journey
of your higher Glory
and our true selves!

It’s a prayer and a metaphor which strike
at the heart of our mission and hopes here at Zoe-Life Explorations:
* helping folks hear an invitation to an alternative [richer] life, and
* helping them navigate the path to that life
     (including the inner resistances and inclinations
     that stand in the way on the journey)

2 thoughts on “Building Sandcastles in a Mud-Pie World

  1. wendycrom says:

    Mike Rowland spoke to our UMW about he and his daughters mission trip to Uganda this past summer. Mikes first assignment was to teach a math class to a group of elementary age children, many who could see and several who were partially or completely blind. It was a challenge. He had to learn Braille and was immediately impressed by the children’s ability to write Braille backward so they could turn it over and read it correctly. He made a fruit picker so that worker’s didn’t have to climb the trees and had the opportunity to see another group building brick homes for a Pygmy tribe that had to leave their forest area and were not accepted by the other people. Mike was so impressed by the design of the bricks, he wants to put the group in touch with the international habitat for humanity group. He said
    God works wonders with the willing.

    • Jim Reiter says:

      Yes, willingness is the key!

      Unfortunately, though (as Janet Hagberg and others will note), we can become too easily caged and stuck in lesser things — because we feel more secure in the “old and familiar.” Oh, for the Grace to trust… and let go… and move forward!

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