Our family room closet is the home of the toys that have been left behind by five children who have moved on in life and now have children of their own. The toys in this closet would not impress most of today’s kids. There is nothing electronic. A few toys in the closet included batteries the Christmas they came to live at our house. We weren’t very good about replacing them, especially if the toy was particularly annoying, so these potentially moving speaking playthings have been still and quiet for many years now. It’s easy to tell which decade in which these five children were raised. The Star Wars box only contains memories of the very first adventure ever told. The doll box has and a Strawberry Short Cake and a Blueberry Pie Man. There are baskets full of puzzles, many with a missing piece or two, that kept five children quiet and busy many a Conference Sunday in front of the TV. But, these old things seem to represent some kind of treasure to the “grands.” They must think the very idea that Grandma and Grandpa owned any toys is quite remarkable.
One of the premium toys in the closet is an old wooden box full of Legos. The box was actually built by a neighbor to store the collection of Legos from my childhood with five brothers. Now the box is clear full of Legos collected over 30 years of raising my own kids. There’s nothing special or thematic or up to date about this collection, but when the grandkids arrive, the Lego box is nearly always the first thing to come out. Before the children leave Grandma’s house the deal is that all the toys have to be put away. The big exception to the rule seems to be the ship seven-year-old Ethan has constructed out of Legos last year. After everything else is put away Ethan’s ship still sits on the counter. After he goes home I tuck it behind something so things look all tidied up.
Yesterday morning Ethan was spending time at our house. “I think I’ll work on my ship Grandma.”
“Ethan, I wondered the other day if your ship was done.”
“Oh no, Grandma! I don’t think it will ever be done,” he explained. “You can always change where a Lego goes to make the ship look better!”
Never be done! Now that’s a very gown up concept. It’s one I am still working on myself. It is a great challenge to see myself, and all the aspects of my life, as a work in progress. I have always put great stock in things being finished, over, caught up, complete, done! I tried to pass this bit of compulsion on to my kids too. I’m not too proud of that. When they were little, a prayer they often prayed was, “Heavenly Father, please bless us to get done today.” I have made some progress over the years. I think the first thing I accepted was that I was never going to finish the laundry or the dusting.
Many of us come to the 12 Steps of recovery hoping that we can work to a point of graduation, hoping that we can somehow be finished someday. If you ask anyone with years of experience, years of application, and years of sobriety if they are done, their response will be much like Ethan’s. “Oh no, Grandma! I don’t think it will ever be done. You can always change where a Lego goes to make the ship look better!” In the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book it speaks of progress being the goal, not perfection. Those living in recovery have accepted the truth that improvement can always be made. No one comes to the end. There is no finish line when it comes to applying these 12 gospel principles to our lives.
In my family room there is also a little cupboard with glass doors where we but “special stuff” like really old books that might be worth something or knickknacks collected on vacations. When Ethan left yesterday I put his ship on a shelf in the glass cupboard. I want to remember the message I got from Ethan about the importance of accepting the incomplete nature of things. I also want to remember the smile on his face and the excitement in his voice. He finds real joy in the fact that a little improvement can always be made. I like that. I want to feel like that too!
By Nannette W.
Posted Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All right reserved.
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