The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.” Proverbs 27:12
I grabbed it and couldn’t let go. I’ve said it before but growing up, times were pretty hard. My Daddy worked very hard to provide a good home for us and we always had plenty of good food. Sure, sometimes there was more “loaf than meat” but hey it was still good. One of my favorite food memories from when I was nine or ten was a fried potato sandwich. When there wasn’t any meat for sandwiches, Mama would slice some potatoes and fry them up. We would slap those things between two pieces of bread with some mayo and instant heaven. I mean who doesn’t like home fries anyway?
We lived in an old World War II barracks that had been converted into a two bedroom house with a breezeway that led to a closed in garage that served as a third bedroom. We also had two acres of land which was great for playing but not so great for mowing. We didn’t have a riding mower until I was in my teens so the two acres had to be mowed by hand. To get it done we had an old push mower. Just trust me that was a lot to mow with a push mower. Anyway, this mower had two unique qualities. First, it didn’t have a throttle. It had one speed—wide open. It was one of those deals where you wrapped a rope around the top and gave it a yank. If you said your prayers and held your tongue just right—it would crank. And like I said, when it started…it started.
The other quirk with our lawnmower was that it didn’t have a kill switch either. There were two ways to turn it off. First, you could take a screwdriver and ground the spark plug to a metal part on the mower. The second was a lot more risky. You could attempt to pull the spark plug wire off the spark plug. Now, keep in mind I was pretty young and didn’t understand all the dynamics of a spark plug, the coil and touching the wrong thing at the wrong time. I was a setup for a shocking experience.
So one day…you can see it coming can’t you? Well, one day, I was done mowing and the lawnmower was running wide open. I had to kill the beast—slay the dragon if you will. I was a good piece from the shed and didn’t have a screw driver so that left only option 2—pulling off the spark plug wire. Running wide open, shaking like a hula dance (that would be me and not the lawnmower) I reached down and grabbed a hold. I still don’t know if I grabbed the wrong part or if the current came though the brittle insulation on the wire but it got me.
I’m not sure if I can describe the sensation that I experienced. I can vividly remember two things. My whole arm shaking and the fact that I couldn’t get loose. I’m sure I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Like the Ray Stevens song about the Mississippi Squirrel, I was sure “something had a hold of me.” I don’t know how I got loose. It may have been mercy from above or pure desperation but I did get loose. The lawnmower was still running and my arm was still shaking. If you ever see this strange twitch in my left arm—well, it still hasn’t got over the sensation.
I’m supposing I got a LONG screwdriver and killed the engine and I am also sure I never, and I mean never, went out again without it again. You only need to grab the wrong thing one time and you will never do it again. I know that is true with quirky old lawnmowers but I also know it is true with bad decisions. I suppose everyone of us has a bad decision somewhere in our past—and I am not talking about spicy pizza as a midnight snack.
There are certain things, and a lot of times they are lawbreakers, that you shouldn’t do once much less twice. If we would just hit the pause button and think about it we could eliminate a lot of our regrets and consequences. Do I really want to do that? Do I really want to keep that date? Is that a call I really want to make? Is that a relationship I really want to maintain? Think about it. I have never done this before but I just need to use that verse we wrote about recently. It is from Proverbs (which is like wise sayings) and it tells us the prudent (or wise) person will see danger and take refuge. The simple (inexperienced) person will see the danger and keep right on going.
Let me tell you. I grabbed that wire once and once was enough. The only thing that would have been better was if I would have walked to the shed and got the screwdriver. It wasn’t that far. But, I thought I would be the exception. I thought I could pull it off…no pun intended…and I was wrong. I.Was.Wrong. I don’t know if there is anything in your life right now that is a bad idea or maybe you’re making plans. Take some advice from a former “wire grabber.” Don’t. Just do the right thing and you won’t regret it. Oh, and if you don’t, there is a God who loves and cares for you. And if you ask, He will help. He’s got this.