Put Back Together

A Transcript of Episode 3 of the walk in love. podcast

I have a very vivid first memory. It’s of G.I. Joe with tan pants and a black and red shirt falling from three stories, hitting the ground and exploding into pieces. That’s it. I don’t remember the aftermath of the destruction, but I know the context in which the memory exists.

A little backstory first, my family moved to Germany when I was 3 years old. My dad felt the Lord calling him to go, so he packed up his family of 4 kids under the age of 7 and moved from Orange County, CA to Halbergmoos Germany where we lived for two years while he told people about Jesus. I don’t have a lot of memories from that time of life since I was only 3 years old but I do vividly remember the G.I. Joe exploding on the ground.

My brother Nick and I were playing upstairs, in the attic, of our German home and we were tossing G.I. Joe’s out the window with plastic bags tied around them like parachutes and watching them float down to the ground.

I noticed one of our G.I. Joe paratroopers in the pile had an actual “parachute” backpack strapped to his back, and without thinking, I grabbed him and threw him out the window because I thought, as a three year old, his parachute would deploy and he would float safely down like his fellow soldiers with their grocery bag parachutes.

Well, he must have forgotten to pull his shoot, and he quickly smashed into the concrete below, breaking into a bunch of tiny plastic pieces. That’s where the memory ends….probably from the trauma I felt about sending a good man to his plastic death.

A few years ago, this memory popped into my head, which I thought was odd, but then it was followed by another one and another, until the entire memory was complete.

We still have that G.I. Joe and I saw him, recently at my parent’s house, sitting on a desk in the grandkids playroom.

Upon closer examination I noticed something. His one arm was green, didn’t bend and appeared to belong to some sort of goblin. He also had a different rubber band holding his body together, definitely not the original.

So, I stole the plastic figure from my parents house and kept thinking about the memory. Over and over again, I pictured this tiny toy crashing to the ground below. I couldn’t shake it.

I started to imagine what happened next, where my memory is fuzzy.

I started to imagine a three-year-old version of myself running to my dad and explaining the horribleness of what just happened.

And this is where I’m certain that my dad, calmly walked out to where the concrete path meets the grass, bent down to his hands and knees and slowly started searching for the scattered pieces.

Bit by bit, and piece by piece, he gently gathers them from their places on the ground and cups them in his one, seemingly giant hand, and takes them inside.

He then gently cleans them off and sits down at the table to examine the damage. With a calm spirit and steady hands, he takes each piece and starts to put the tiny plastic man back together again. Piece by piece he clicks them back into place only to realize an arm is missing.

So, he goes back out to examine the crash site and simply cannot find the missing piece. But, instead of throwing out the G.I. Joe with a missing arm, he goes and finds one that will work. He still manages to find a way to repair something that I would have thought unrepairable. Does he look a little different? Of course but so do we after things break in our lives.

I don't actually know if that’s how it happened, because as a three year old I was often unaware of what my dad was doing for me, 31 years later and I still find that to be true with my Heavenly Father.

When my life, soul or heart is broken, I don’t often see that my father is searching for a way to repair the brokenness.

Instead of running to my father for help when something breaks, I, more often than not, stay up in the attic looking down upon the brokenness from three stories up— sulking, complaining or growing bitter. The three-year-old version of myself at least knew that Dad could fix it, all I had to do was ask.

So, when a part of our lives breaks on the concrete and is scattered through the weeds and mud, let us not simply sulk and look on with frustration. Let us run to the our father who is longing to find all the broken pieces and put them back together.

And let’s not rush Him as he searches, works and finds the pieces. Let’s find comfort as he crafts and molds the brokenness back together, and be okay when he replaces one that we thought worked with one that works a little better. Let’s let Him do His thing in our lives while learning how to humble ourselves before Him. Let’s let Him be the potter and just sit in His arms as the clay, knowing fully that when He finishes His good work we will be more complete, together and capable than we’d ever have been on our own.

AdviceT.J. Mousetis