Tag Archives: childhood

Apples and Friends

Is Your Apple Finished?

Yesterday’s I mentioned my childhood friend, David Brown, and our logging adventures.  Our friendship had many ups and downs.    He was bigger and more athletic than I was and so he was often selected for playground teams when I was not.  I thrived in the classroom, where he often struggled.  On most days these differences did not bother us. We were best friends.  Occasionally, however, we get into intense disagreements over trivial matters. 

I remember the day my mom gave us each an apple to eat.  I ate my apple down to the core, savoring every bite.  David nibbled around the outside and said it was finished.

 I said, “Your apple isn’t finished.  You barely started.”

“Oh, my apple is done.”

“No, it’s not!”

“Yes it is!” 

He stormed off home and I swore we would never be friends again.  But the next morning, I stopped at his house on the way to school and we picked up as if nothing happened, until the next argument erupted.

In Simply Christianity, N. T. Wright describes our hunger and deep desire for relationships and yet our daily struggle to make our relationships work.  Wright writes, “We are made for each other.  Yet making relationships work, let alone making them flourish, is often remarkably difficult.  We all know that we belong to communities, that we were made to be social creatures. Yet there are many times when we are tempted to slam the door and stomp off into the night by ourselves, simultaneously  making a statement that we don’t belong anymore and that we want someone to take pity on us , to come to the rescue and comfort us.  We all know we belong in relationships, but we can’t quite work out how to get them right.  The voice we hear echoing in our heads and our hearts reminding us of both parts of this paradox and its worth pondering”  (p. 30). He goes on to suggest that the “echo” we are experiencing is the love God created us to experience with God and our neighbor, but our human sin has clouded and twisted our capacity to give and receive love.

How have you struggled in your relationships? How has God been faithful?

A Logger’s Confession

Red Alder Woods

When I was in elementary school, my best friend was David Brown.  Every morning I would stop by his house so we could walk the last five blocks to school together.   We attended the same church and sang in the children’s choir.  After school we would usually end up at his home or mine for whatever adventure we could dream up.

One of those adventures involved the deep woods across from my house.   We lived near a lumber mill and logging trucks rumbled by throughout the day.  We aspired to be loggers, so at the tender age of nine, we “borrowed” my dad’s hatchet and started chopping.  It took us three days of swinging our mighty hatchet to finally watch the tall red alder begin to wobble.  When it fell, David and I leaped out-of-the-way to watch.  Unfortunately the woods were thick and the tree did not crash to earth, but came to rest on another tree.   So David and I would climb the half-fallen tree, bouncing up and down, pushing it to the earth. We left the tree to rot on the ground and went off in search for some new adventure.

Over the next couple of years we probably chopped down 10-15 trees.   Our parents never knew of our “adventures.” David and I both moved away in sixth grade and our logging days were over.  

I write about this experience, because at the time it seemed so innocent, yet now it troubles me. It was a secret I kept from my parents.  Our chopping trees was simply for our pleasure and served no useful purpose.  Our behavior could have hurt either of us seriously.  We had no respect for the creation God had given to us nor for our neighbor’s land.  Perhaps most troubling, at the time we had no idea we were doing anything wrong.  Could I be doing something today that I don’t realize is harmful to God or my neighbor?

As we prepare to confess our sin on Ash Wednesday, let us be mindful that sin can come in various forms and disguises.   Let us ask God to cleanse us of known and unknown sin, and to lead us out of darkness into light.

 Has sin every troubled you?