Taking A Blowtorch To My Toys
Have you ever felt like something didn’t fit right? Not like a pair of pants, but maybe a relationship or a job. Maybe you couldn’t quite put your finger on it, but something inside you said, “This isn’t going to work long-term.”
There is a very popular baby toy with a yellow plastic can and a blue lid. The lid has holes in the shape of a circle, square, and triangle. There are also blocks in the shape of circles, squares, and triangles (I know these are actually cylinders, cubes, and triangular prisms, but let’s keep it simple for the kids).
The goal for the child is to pick up a shape, and put it in the correct hole. When he is finished, he takes off the lid, dumps out the shapes and begins again. This should keep your kid occupied for at least two or three years.
The way the shapes are designed, you can only fit a circle in the circle hole, triangle in the triangle hole, and yep, the square in the square hole. This isn’t rocket surgery, but what do you expect from a toy for 2-year-olds?
Each of my sons have gone through a phase of figuring out this game. The first step is frustration because it seems like none of the shapes fit. The second is a few accidental successes. Eventually, the kid will figure out which shapes go where and get hired at Google (I think that’s how it works).
Sometimes I wonder how hard it would be to get the plastic circle into the triangle hole. What would I have to do? Smash it with a hammer? Melt it with a blowtorch? Cut it with a saw? When you start thinking outside the box, nothing is impossible! I can hack this system.
But there is no way to get the shape through the wrong hole without destroying the block itself, or the hole. Whoever invented this toy had a very obvious intention for the circle block. It doesn’t matter how the circle feels, or where all the other triangle blocks are going, the creator of the toy intended for it to enter through the circle hole.
Similarly, our Creator has a specific place for us, a shape for our life that matches each one of us specifically and perfectly. We can come up with our own path, we can ignore the intention of our designer, and we can even make it work.
We are able to do whatever we want, go wherever we want to go, and be whoever we want to be because of our free will. God has given us the gift to freely choose to follow Him, or not.
But when we defy our Creator, and do our own thing, a part of us is mangled. Is it fixable? Of course. But we will be so much happier if we can figure out why we are “shaped” the way we are (not our physical dimensions, but our gifts, strengths, weaknesses… our purpose).
Just because all the triangles are doing one thing, doesn’t mean that we should do that. If you are a circle, be a proud circle.
Discerning a vocation is asking God what you are called to do. Asking the One who created you, “Why did you create me?” (Read about my discernment in Honduras)
Someone called to the priesthood can get married and make it work, but they won’t have the joy that they would’ve found as a priest. Our school, occupation, dating relationships, vocation, and thousands of daily decisions can be slipping us nicely and neatly through the hole God created for us, or can push us violently into a place we were never designed to be.
As for me, I am going to go get a blowtorch and teach my kids a lesson about vocations.