There are some people who, even from an early age, manifest a kind of curiosity and energy and dexterity for a particular set of activities. Some are musically inclined, some are mechanically inclined, and some even philosophically inclined.
From about two years of age, we could already see in Jonah a wonderful propensity to pretend, and imagine. He first car, was a laundry basket, in which he would sit, and complete with sound effects and radical movements, drive it all around the house. Later he began to “fix” things, making use of tools and such that perhaps children ought not touch. He experimented and disassembled and then reassembled many things...sometimes successfully, sometimes less so.
Just last night, we were reminiscing about this tendency in him, and his mother reminded me of the time that she left me in charge of the kids, while she went out for “only” an hour with a friend. She came back, to find us all missing, but she did find a few drops of blood on the floor, and began to panic about what that meant. We were at the hospital getting stitches for Jonah, where he had cut his hand. His mother’s recollection was that he was whittling on a piece of wood, and “I left you in charge for “just” an hour...you should never have let him have a knife...”. His brother remembered it a bit differently. He said that Jonah was trying to cut the lid off of a round container that had candy in it. That scenario sounded somewhat more plausible, but my wife interjected, “you shouldn’t have let him have the knife for that either!” (Attempting to point out that he took it by himself, without permission, and somewhat covertly, was probably a mistake, for the underlying assumption was that I was of course, wrong. However it happened, it was my fault.). Multiple occasions for stitches, bumps, bruises, and even extinguishing fires, is what it seems that one might expect with a child blessed with mechanical curiosity.
It is a matter of some blessing that a man in our congregation, Delvin, came into Jonah’s life. He and his wife took Jonah on as a “helper” with the multifarious jobs Delvin did. He was a retired journeyman electrician, but enjoyed carpentry and construction, and he and his wife loved renovating old homes in the small community we lived in, and then reselling them for little or no profit. They just had fun doing that work. In that process, he taught Jonah all about solving problems in building and mechanical work, and more importantly how to properly and safely use tools. He allowed Jonah the opportunity to explore his creativity and passion for building and motor mechanics. He gave Jonah that gentle push that has made him into a remarkably talented young man, who has rebuilt roofs, installed windows, overhauled motors, etc., etc., all on his own.
This week, we hear about one such gentle push in the life of Jesus. Mary’s anointing of Jesus was met with opposition by Judas, but in the end, in so doing (as one commentator puts), she loves Jesus into the future.