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Yes, I Started It

I fell at work Friday. Actually, I fell on muddy gravel and put a very small hole in my left knee. But the fall and barely noticeable wound were nothing compared to the disaster I was trying to avert.

I was delivering building materials to a job site. It is a new home perched partway up a hill above a tiny north-woods lake. A hilly, muddy, rough, one-lane trail leads back to the job sight. A narrow, freshly graveled driveway dives away from this trail to the foundation and floor of what will soon be a new house. Then, the hill continues down to the water.

The carpenters had taken a break from building an outside deck and were in their vehicles eating lunch. They were parked one behind the other at the foot of the drive, at least one engine running to warm a cool fall noontime. Parking on the road, I walked down the hill and asked them to move so I could dump my load where the lead carpenter was parked. He and I discussed where he wanted the wood, and I waited for them to back up the hill and onto the muddy track where my truck waited.

I've been stuck at the top of that drive, so I carefully squirmed my flatbed dump truck around and used the mirrors to back down the hill. Parking break on, I got out and pulled the straps from my load. Had I only been carrying treated lumber, I would have jumped back in the cab, pulled the hydraulic hoist to tilt the truck bed and let the load slide off, but I wasn't. I also had 10 cookies strapped to the truck, just behind the cab.

The term “cookies,” in case you're wondering, is construction slang. A cookie is really a round concrete pad designed to be buried under one of the treated wood post used to support an outdoor structure. The little cookies are about a foot across and four inches thick. I can lift and carry two at once; although, one is much more comfortable. There were seven of these. The big post pads were about 22 inches across and six or eight inches thick. It's hard work just to tip one up on edge. Carrying that big chunk of concrete is essentially impossible, at least for a man of average physical strength. But no one needed to carry my three big cookies that day. Two of them I tipped up on edge and rolled off the side of the truck where they plopped onto soft earth and fell flat. One cookie however seemed worthy of different treatment. I tipped it up and guided it like a big concrete wheel as it rolled down-hill on the bed of the truck.

Of course I knew that wheel could be hard to control once it got loose. The hill is steep. One carpenter's tool belt lay in the direction my concrete disk was moving. The air compressor the carpenters had been using to power their tools lay on another possible path. Wiping out a man's tools isn't something a delivery guy wants to do. Rolling 200 pounds of concrete up a hillside after getting wet pulling it from a lake isn't something a truck driver wants to do either. Still, I was tired and running behind schedule. My boss wasn't there to protest. I took the chance. Rather than steering my big wheel off the side of the truck where gravity would tend to knock it over, I let it drop off the end, pointed downhill.

No, it didn't tip over. It kept rolling, aimed at that tool belt. I jumped from the truck and gave chase. If catching the monster didn't work, I could at least knock it over sideways and stop it. It was during this wild scramble that I tripped and landed on my knees in the muddy gravel. There wasn't time to worry about my now muddy pants or gouged knee. I jumped up and grabbed for that big cement cookie. It didn't fall, only changed course, heading for the air compressor.

I'm not sure if I managed to knock it off its course and off balance, or if the rough ground did the trick. In any event, the thing fell flat and came to a stop in nearly the ideal place. I carefully moved the other two cookies next to it and proceeded to dump the rest of my load.

I suppose it's a small adventure in the life of a working man. After all, lumber delivery isn't inherently exciting. But it was a moment of desperate excitement nonetheless—a moment I guaranteed for myself by trying to do things the easy way instead of the safe way. I knew better than to do what I did. I knew better, but impatience, tiredness, and maybe a bit of overconfidence drove me to the point of starting something I had reason to regret.

I got off easy. People have ruined their lives and even died doing things they really knew they shouldn't. Those of us who work with machinery are especially aware of this principle, but it proves true in all of life. There's something in all of us that expects to beat the course of nature and come out on top of things we really aren't big enough to control. A guy with a long drive home takes that one drink more than he should. A dating couple park a car in a dark alley knowing full well their feelings are already almost out of hand. Bad things happen. There is remorse, maybe even a funeral. Everybody really knew better, but some twisted combination of pride and emotion outweighed common sense and spiritual discernment. The fact that we knew better is rather the opposite of consolation as we stand looking over the disasters that jump from everyday life.

The results of such sloppy decision making often come quickly in the physical world. In the spiritual world, the results often come after a long delay. Sometimes the things we start ruin our souls before we realize we aren't getting by with our bad choices. The Bible describes self-initiated spiritual disaster like this:

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. (James 1:14-16)

I could have undone any harm that run-away concrete pad would have caused, even from my limited bank account. On the other hand when it comes to the bigger, spiritual side of life, none of us is big enough to undo his or her sins. It takes the Savior to do that.

To learn more about how the Savior can help with sin click here: How to Have a Relationship with God.

This work is in the pubic domain and may be copied and distributed freely.


How to Have a Relationship with God

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