Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Red Handled Srewdriver Incident of 1974

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. I do not know about you, but many people live under the old Visa moniker of, “Don’t leave home without it.” For my father it was a red handled screwdriver. There was nothing extra special about this particular screwdriver; it had a red handle, it was a Phillip’s head screwdriver with an 8” shaft. It had a logo on it, something like Craftsman or something, but it was covered with paint blotches. My dad was always doing and redoing things around the house. The house was his hobby. For most of us In farm country pliers along with the proverbial pliers belt holder, so named because it attached to one’s belt and held pliers in it, was the tool of choice. Not my dad, his tool of choice was the red handled screwdriver. He used it for: Screwing in screws. Making scratch marks on things when he measured. Opening paint cans, thus the paint blotches. Making the dent required before drilling a hole in something. Tapping a child on the head when needed, usually me. He always had his red handled screwdriver with him when he was doing a project. One day, Dad came into the house yelling, “Clare (my mom’s name) Clare, Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaare!) Mom usually waited until dad yelled, “Claaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare” before answering, I think she did this just to make sure it was not a false alarm and that she was really needed. It was either that or she just liked hearing her name in an extended format. Mom comes around the corner, the bellowing had already brought the rest of the kids into the room, when dad bellowed we would come running, it would be nice to say it was out of reverence but we were not all that well behaved. We usually came just to see what was going to transpire, cable had not been invented yet we were still amazed at the traveler’s mug invention so this was just another form of entertainment for us kids. Mom says, “You do not need to bellow, (I always thought that mom caused this behavior by waiting to answer) what do you need honey.” Dad says, “I cannot find my red handled screwdriver.” Mom says, “Have you looked for it yet?” Obviously, she was privy to some of dad’s behavioral traits that we kids were not. Dad says, “Of course I have.” Dad starts to shout orders. You need to read this next part out load, using a deep, authoritative voice; much like General Patton would have used in the Battle of the Bulge. Kids you look here. Clare you look there. When you find it let out a yell letting the others know that you have it, I will do the same. We will all meet back here in fifteen minutes if we have not found it. Go! Ok you can use your normal voice again. Dad spins on his heals to go look and that is when we found the red handled screwdriver. It was sticking out of his back pocket. He had obviously grabbed it earlier and forgotten that he already had it and had spent the next thirty minutes looking for it before he assembled the troops to look for it some more. We had an option before us. We could either tell dad that his precious screwdriver was in his back pocket, or we could remain silent. For, for whatever reason choice option “B,” we did not say a word. Dad looked for another fifteen minutes, we pretended to look for fifteen minutes, it would not have been much of a rouse if we did not pretend. At the predetermined time limit we reassembled at the staging area. Dad was distraught over the loss of his screwdriver and was beginning to pout, this usually brought on the sandwich that made everything better. That is when Katie says, “Look in your back pocket.” Then she giggles, Katie giggles like Betty Rubble for the Flintstones. If you don’t know how Betty Rubble giggles watch an episode, Katie is spot on. Katie was the chosen spokesperson for our group. She could get away with things that the rest of us could not. It was like she had secret information on Dad that gave her immunity. I am not sure what this secret immunity was because the “Ketchup Treaty of 1978” had not been established yet, but she had something, I am sure of it. Dad looks in his back pocket and sure enough there is his red handled screwdriver. Dad had become paralyzed without his red handled screwdriver. He could not even start the project without it, even though he had other screwdrivers available and a bunch of other tools. The screwdriver had become so important to him that nothing else mattered at the time. It had become his idol. Christ warns us about being too attached to “earthly things.” That having an idol is a bad thing. You see, Christ knows that if we get too attached to earthly things we become focused on the wrong stuff, like a red handled screwdriver. We spend our time looking and not doing. There is another parable of a man who found treasure in a field and sold everything that he had so that he could buy the field because he knew about the treasure. If we have Christ with us, in our back pocket so to speak, we spend our days focused on the things that Christ focusing on. If we cannot find Christ, “A dark night of the soul” experience we should look for Him and when we find Him let go of everything else so that He can be our focus. My prayer is as we go through our day that we recognize the red handled screwdrivers that are in our lives and put them in their proper place, that we let them go and replace them with Christ. Blessings,

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