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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reg’s Dilemma

I sipped at the hot coffee, listening to Susan’s delight as she shared the details of a new vegetarian recipe. My landlady had invited me up for coffee when she rescued me from her son’s impromptu visit.

Earlier that day, two-year-old Reggie had been drawn to my lower-level apartment when his tiny ears picked up the distant sound of guitar chords. I’d looked up to see the boot-wearing lad in my doorway. Playing his air-guitar, shifting his little boy hips from side to side, he mimicked my strumming. “I’m a Rhinestone cowboy!” declared the toddler.

Now upstairs, I tried to concentrate on Susan’s words, but I’d caught sight of little Reg out of the corner of my eye. I wondered what the little character had in mind, standing over there by the ironing board. Susan had noticed her son, too.

“Reg, what are you doing over there?”

“Nothin’, Mama,” the little cowboy said, twisting his body around to face us. He warmed my heart with that killer-smile of his.

“Well, you’d better not touch that board, or it’ll come crashing down on your head. Get away from there, Reg.” Susan turned back to me. “I planned to put the thing away, but then something interrupted me. It’s folded and leaning against the wall, so it should be okay while we have our coffee.”

“He’s so cute,” I said in a whisper, “how can you ever discipline him?”

 “It’s hard not to laugh out loud sometimes.  We just never know what’s next with Reg.”

I glanced over to see if the boy had heard us; it didn’t appear he had. He stood with his back in front of the leaning board, softly singing, “I’m a rhinestone cowboy.”

“Yesterday,” Susan began, “Reg was walking to the church to go to Sabbath School. He loves to wear his suit, so he looked pretty sharp.” I smiled at the picture that had formed in my mind. “Some boys chided him, “Hey, Reg! Where ya goin’ all dressed up?” They laughed at him, but Reg just stopped, and turned to look at the boys. He put one hand on his hip and pointed the index finger of the other at them, shaking it like a school teacher, and said, ‘I’m goin’ to Sabbath School. If you had a lick of sense, you’d be going, too.’”

We both laughed—a bit too loudly, as it turned out. Reg looked right at us and frowned. “Stop talkin’ ‘bout me, Mama.”

Reg returned to his singing; apparently not expecting a response from his mother. I noticed the little boy’s position related to the ironing board had changed. His back nearly touched the board; half a step back, and he’d be against the board.

Susan returned to reciting the ingredients of the new recipe and cooking instructions, but I kept an eye out on Reg. Sure enough; he took that last step, and was flush against the board. Susan hadn’t noticed.

Flipping through her new cookbook, Susan looked for the second recipe her sister had mentioned to her. I listened to pages turn, but looked over to see Reg caught in a trap. He stepped forward and the board moved. He stopped, turned his head towards the top of the descending board and backed up.

I listened to Susan’s discourse on the joys of the new recipes, but struggled to restrain the smile caused by Reg’s dilemma. Again, he took one step forward, and tipped his head to check on the falling board. Another deep sigh and another step back up against the wall. I wondered how long Reg would keep up his little dance.

When it looked like his frustration might just get the best of him, I reached over to touch Susan’s arm. Looking up at me, she arched her eyebrows. I tilted my head in Reg’s direction; Susan followed my cue, and said, “Reg?”

The two-year-old’s stricken face, furrowed forehead and tightly pressed lips, spoke volumes. “Mama,” Reg began his staccato reply, “you.gonna.get.me.outta.this.mess?”

I watched Reg’s loving mother move to rescue her disobedient son, and thought about the times Father God had stepped in to rescue me from a trap my own disobedience had made. I had called on the Lord, and He had answered me. He had not condemned me, but like Susan to Reg that day, had asked me, “Do you know how you got in this mess?”

And, like Reg, I had answered, “Yup, and I’m really sorry.”

The tenderness of our forgiving Heavenly Father is as real as little Reg’s mother’s. God loves us. He knows we mess up sometimes as we grow. Still, God waits for us to call on Him to get us outta the mess. The Lord delights in hearing His name from a desperately-ready heart.

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