A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15
It was summer, I was eight and bored. When you are eight the last thing you want is to be bored. But the good part was since it was the 60’s it seemed I had no problem inventing ways to have fun and get into trouble. Though it might be hard for some of our younger Grits readers to believe, back in those days there were only three channels on our black and white television, no internet, and no smart devices. It was a world where being creative was natural. So, I got creative.
I lived in a world with few actual toys. Oh sure, we had great Christmases and birthdays were nothing to sneeze at, but beyond that…it was slim pickings in the toy world. But not to worry—all you had to do is look around and bam—-goodbye boredom. For example, you go to the “junk drawer” and there you would find a collection of rubber bands from the daily newspaper. String about ten of them together and you have a bug killer. In those days, love bugs were everywhere in Florida. They would take up roost on Daddy’s car and I would pick them off one by one. Need something else? Find a piece of chain and drag it through the sand—which was everywhere. As you pulled it along, it became a train…leaving its track in the sand. Then, if you really wanted something cool, you went back to the “junk drawer” and found the left over firecrackers from the 4th of July. Here comes trouble.
I wanted to do something more than just blow something up so I decided to make a spacecraft. In the early sixties that was all the rage. The space race was well underway and the Russians were in the lead. It was time to help NASA out. I went to the trash and got a tin can. I peeled off the label and then punched a hole in the end that still had a lid. I then dug a small hole in the ground to make sure the full force of the firecracker went up and not out. I pulled the fuse up through the hole, put the can in the hole, open end down, firecracker up. We were ready for launch. No worry, NASA, help is on the way.
I lit the fuse and it quickly burned and allowed the firecracker to fall down inside the can where it promptly exploded. It worked just like I expected. A loud bang and the silver rocket soared into the sky. While it didn’t make it into space, it did go about forty or fifty feet. Well, as you know, what goes up…must come down…and it did. It was then that I realized I probably should have gotten a little farther away from my Daddy’s car. As the can fell down to earth, it landed smack-dab in the middle of the hood of the car. There was a bang and then, there was a moan. Even from where I stood, I could see that there was going to be a dent…a very obvious and pronounced dent.
As it turned out my career with NASA was going to be short lived. Well, I dreaded Daddy coming home and discovering my failed space attempt. I knew there was going to be consequences but either Daddy once again extended grace (he did that a lot…probably because I got in trouble a lot) or maybe I have a short or selective memory. Either way, the only thing I remember is I learned to launch my rockets further from the house and the car. You see, there was nothing wrong with launching a rocket or two…the error was not more carefully figuring the details and consequences.
That was a lesson that I have never forgotten even though I may not have perfectly followed it. Before you launch, before you act, before you speak, before you say yes or no…check the details and count the cost. I bet Eve figured that out after her encounter with the serpent in the garden. I bet David figured that out after his rooftop encounter with Bathsheba. I bet Peter figured it out after his fireside chat with a young girl and his subsequent denial. One of the writers in the Old Testament book of Proverbs said, “A fool’s way is right in his own eyes, but whoever listens to counsel is wise.” That might describe my adventure into rockets that summer day. From my eight year old perspective, all systems were go. I bet I would have had a different outcome if I would have checked with Momma first. She probably would have suggested a better launching pad.
Well, no harm, no foul. The car wore the dent for the whole time we owned it, but I did learn a good lesson—when you decide to launch—check the details and get some counsel. As we journey today, that is still good advice. Regardless of what comes along, think about it before you do it and there is a Heavenly Father who is so wise and is just waiting to help us navigate our world. And when there is a misfire, a mishap…don’t worry, He will still be there and if you listen, you will probably hear those three comforting words, “I’ve got this.” Bro. Dewayne