Don’t Eat The Invisible Man

25 01 2008

My nephew, Kyle, has always been the proverbial ray of sunshine.  He’s one of those remarkable kids that people notice.  He’s friendly to everyone, he’s got a mile wide smile, and he has always seemed quite mature for his age.

A number of years ago when he was around 3 years of age, his big imagination kicked in.  He would create these incredible img049.jpgstream-of -conscience stories.  Among the characters he imagined as part of his life was a tiny invisible man.  One day he was holding his little translucent buddy in his hand for Uncle Greg to, uh, see.  Always being the one for the quick joke, I reached out and snatched the imaginary fellow, popped him in my mouth, and proceeded to chew and swallow him.  I thought it was pretty funny.  That is…  until Kyle started to cry.  Not just cry.  He was positively devastated.  Adding to my guilt, I later learned that after my failed attempt at a tease, the little invisible man no longer existed in Kyle’s mind.  I was guilty of murder.  And invisible cannibalism.  I actually killed a part of Kyle’s imagination!  Oh, the humanity of it.

This Christmas just past, I began to make a Santa crack in front of Kyle’s youngest sister, when my sister cleared her throat and cautioned, “Don’t eat the invisible man.”  I knew exactly what she meant.  I graciously shut my big mouth.

It’s far too easy to hurt people, isn’t it?  Who is it that once said it takes ten positives to overcome one negative?  It’s quite hard to regain trust, to regain a good reputation, or to regain a positive relationship.  There’s really a good reason why those who are silent types tend to have better reputations. 

Can there be any question that we Christ-followers are our own worst enemies when it comes to sharing our hope?  We spend too much time eating the invisible man rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to use us.  The opposite side of this is that we don’t try at all for fear of failure.  Here’s where I think I’ve found the middle ground (where it seem that the Holy Spirit always resides!)…  I’ve found that all interactions with people MUST be preceded with interactions with God.  And not interactions where I’m shouting directions to Him, but where I simply shut up and know that He is God.  There’s great relief in that.  I don’t have to worry about praying just the right words.  I don’t have to worry about how I’m gonna mess up today.  I simply am still before God.  It’s like breathing in fresh mountain air…  you have to be there to truly experience it.

I still occasionally eat the invisible man, but it doesn’t happen nearly as often.




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