Photo by Kevin_P on Morgue File.
I have developed a habit of working crossword puzzles. For years I did not understand the fascination.
I had friends and coworkers who worked the puzzles, religiously everyday. I considered the whole effort to be a waste of time, time I could spend doing something more productive and interesting. I also looked at crosswords, much the same way I still look at golf, as boring!
Mind you, in both cases, this opinion is based on sheer speculation: the reason being, at the time, I had never actually worked a crossword puzzle; and, to date, I have never played golf. Unless, that is, you count putt-putt!
Last year I took the plunge and worked my first crossword. I do not remember why I did it. I do not remember how well I did on my first one. But, I do remember I enjoyed it. Since then I have been working crossword puzzles regularly.
The other day I was working through a puzzle. I had completed the majority of it, but still had about three or four clues to finish. As I was working it, I started talking to myself. I was repeating the clues aloud and thinking of possible solutions.
As I was going through this process, my two-year old daughter noticed and was looking at me with a quizzical look on her face. She asked me, Daddy, why are you talking? The question caught me off-guard, so I, somewhat absent-mindingly asked her, What?
She again asked, Daddy, why are you talking? Why are you talking to the air?!
I almost burst out in laughter! It was funny the way she said it, and, even funnier the way she was looking at me as she asked it.
I tried to explain to her that I was not actually addressing the air, but this was a bit of a difficult process! She asked me a follow up: Daddy, who were you talking to?
Again, I tried to explain, but could tell it all sounded rather odd to her two-year old mind.
I finally just changed the subject, a nifty parenting trick I have learned over the years!
To my two-year old, it appeared to her that I was indeed talking to the air. That is to say, based on her experience in her brief two years of life, when someone is moving their lips and speaking aloud they are addressing someone or something; and, since I was muttering aloud and looking up, she deduced I must have been talking to the air!
It would seem a more logical deduction would be to think I was praying, but she probably associates prayers with the bowing of one’s head and the closing of one’s eyes; or, something you do in bed right before you fall asleep!
Obviously, I was not really talking to the air. I was talking aloud to myself, as I tried to reason through the clues to find the solutions. Talking aloud to myself is not anything new for me, I have been known to do it often!
I do not know that it always helps, but it seems to help me focus more or to find added clarity to what I am pondering at the time.
I guess this is why children will sometimes remark that their parents are strange or odd! We may do things that, to their young minds, make absolutely no sense whatsoever.
We know what we are doing. We understand it, but they do not. They do not have the experience or the life behind them, as yet, to interpret such acts and to nuance such encounters. For them, it is cut and dry—if you are speaking aloud you must be talking to someone or something other than yourself.
I am sure this is why we are told God moves in mysterious ways. Mysterious to whom? Obviously, mysterious to us. God knows what he’s doing and why; but we, we are perplexed and befuddled often times. We do not see it. We do not comprehend it. Alas, we do not have the experience or the life behind us to get at what God is doing. In those moments, we must deduce that he is wiser by far than we and he knows exactly what he is doing at every moment.
There are times when I look and see what God is doing in a situation and it makes no sense to me. I chime in with my sound and well-rounded advise and God continues to do things as he wishes! I object. I question. I through a flag and call timeout. I if and but and maybe and what if until I am blue in the face; and God, pats me on the head and continues doing what he’s doing! I sometimes feel as if God is ignoring some pretty good advice, if I do say so myself!
In such moments, I am reminded of the humbling fact stated in Isaiah:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Is. 55.8-9, ESV)
The whole chapter is an amazing one. It speaks of the mercy and compassion of God. Aren’t you thankful that God is gracious, merciful and compassionate?!
So remember, God always knows what he is doing and we can trust him each step of the way.
And, if you work crossword puzzles, try talking to the air, you never know what help it may lend you!