My son was recently given a Star Wars Lego Set as a gift.
I used to play with Lego sets when I was a child, but the ones in my days were simple sets with maybe three or four variations in the Lego pieces.
Today’s Lego set is a completely different matter. It has hundreds of different pieces and these pieces come together in a carefully constructed manner to create a surprisingly accurate replica of the Star Wars fighter plane or whatever it is supposed to model.
So, when my son received this gift, he was really excited. They’re pretty expensive and not something we could afford, so this was perhaps his first extensive set. The illustration on the box showed a dashing Star Wars fighter plane, and he couldn’t wait to open the box to play with the fighter plane.
Yet, when he opened the box, he was completely disappointed. Instead of finding the Star Wars fighter plane that he saw on the box cover, inside were bags and bags full of miniscule pieces of over a several dozen different variations. It was nothing like the fighter plane on the outside cover. And to make matters worse, there was a thick instruction booklet with over a hundred steps on how to put these miniscule pieces together into making the plane of his dreams.
Seeing how daunting this would be, he was distraught and saddened. Sensing trouble, I tried to tiptoe away from the room, but before I could do so, his mother had a suggestion: “Why don’t you have dad put it together for you?”
Gleefully, he looked at me and handed me the instruction booklet.
“I love you, dad.”
And with these warm words of encouragement, he disappeared into the next room to go watch TV.
The first task was the most difficult one. I had to make sense of the bags and bags of different pieces and try to figure out which one matched the pieces outlined in the instruction manual. It was creating order out of disorder, placing similar pieces next to each other, and matching the colors as well. After spending a good amount of time figuring out the varieties of pieces, I was finally ready to begin. Making sure that I had the right piece, I placed it together with another piece, as instructed on the booklet. One step finished, another ninety-nine to go.
For the first hour or so, the joined pieces looked nothing like the Star Wars fighter plane. I had no clue as to which part of the plane I was working on. After a while, my son came to check on my progress. But upon seeing what I had put together, he again disappeared into the next room.
I thought of joining him to watch TV, but sensing the steely eyes of my wife, I decided to forge ahead, tinkering with the Lego set, one step at a time.
After some time, I could begin to see the semblance of what the final product would be. Once the main framework was finished, it began to look more and more like the Star Wars fighter plane, as pictured on the box cover. With four-fifth of the plane finished, I was getting excited about the building the set.
This was the moment when my son once again returned from the other room. Except this time, upon seeing how close I was to the finish line, he took immediate interest in finishing the Lego set by himself.
Of course, my first instinct was to insist that I get to finish what I had started, especially if I had to slug through the overwhelming, initial steps. But, a quick glance at my wife made it clear to me that I would have to relinquish my Lego set.
Watching my son take over and fumble through the steps was a lesson in parenthood. He asked for some help, and finally, we were able to complete the Lego set together. Somehow, those myriad of different pieces became transformed into the same Star Wars fighter plane as we saw on the box cover.
My son was really excited, and he went to show his accomplishment to his mother, exclaiming, “Mom, look what we made!”
I share this long-winded story because I thought it would provide some insights into God’s perspective on the creation of human beings and the world.
We are taught that God the Parent created human beings and this world to see us live a Joyous Life and to share in that Joy. That path towards the world of Joyous Life is not complete. It is God’s desire that we undertake the efforts to bring about such a world, working together with God.
So, what does God’s desire for us to realize the world of Joyous Life have anything to do with my son’s Lego set?
In my story, I was able to finish most of the Lego set, only to have my son snatch it from me in the final, most fulfilling stage. To be honest, initially, I was a little frustrated, for I would have preferred to finish it myself. But, as I watched my son excitedly put the finishing touches on the Star Wars fighter plane, I became aware of another kind of gratification. It was a joy of watching my child, joyfully putting the plane together. It was a joy of working together with him, to complete the Lego set. It was a joy of seeing him exclaim with utter excitement upon its completion. Most importantly, it was a joy of experiencing joy together with my son.
God created this world and bestowed it upon us, with the goals of the creation in clear sight. It is now in our hands to realize this goal of creating a world of Joyous Life, and to be able to share it with God.