A Blog by Jennifer Aulthouse

A heart for those who want more of God. A desperate plea for those who don't.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Grumpy Troll

I can't wait until Saturday.

My son is about to turn six, and Saturday is the family birthday party. His grandparents, who live in "a galaxy far, far way" (aka Indiana), mailed his gift early, which I then intercepted before he could see it. It happens to be a "Cars" race track with a remote-controlled Lightning McQueen, and he is a huge "Cars" fan. This will go over so monumentally well.

Here's the fun part: A few days ago, my son happened to see this item featured in a toy catalog, and he has been as gloomy about not having a substantial regular income as I've ever seen in a person. He's been staring at the picture in the catalog with such longing, intermittently smiling, as no doubt he is imagining playing with such an awesome toy, and frowning with frustration. If only he knew what I knew . . .

Saturday, when he gets to open the massive package to find his dream-come-true waiting for him to partake in all its delights, my eyes will be fixed on his face, just so I can visually memorialize his sheer joy. There is nothing sweeter than witnessing joy saturate my children.

It was this past summer that I really began to deeply ponder the strong desire I feel to bless my children. My husband and I went to Disney World for a few days alone, and as we walked through the gift shops I found myself imagining the kids playing with the toys, inhaling the character-shaped treats, proudly sporting the t-shirts, etc., and I just wanted to buy everything I knew they would love. I didn't, of course. Besides the obvious of not having the luggage space and Disney already claiming enough of our money simply in eating every day, we just can't give our kids everything they want. It's not good for us to have everything we want. It's in our nature to take it for granted. As it is, the one toy we picked out for each of them were -- after about three days, and still are, many months later -- rarely played with. We forget our blessings, and bask instead in the spirit of entitlement until the next exciting one comes along.

This must be what God feels . . . so desperately longing to bless us with the good things that we pine for in our hearts . . . but knowing we just can't handle most of them, at least not in the timing or quantity we long for. I know it's true of me. And I know it's true of my kids.

I know they think I'm a grumpy troll living under the "Bridge-to-All-Things-Fun-and-Yummy". When they approach the bridge, out I come with my pointy "stick of rules" and snarly "voice of practicality" and keep them from crossing into a land that holds their every fulfilled longing. Their only hope is to tip-toe across while I'm asleep or intoxicated with some spirit of holiday festiveness. But they don't understand what I'm protecting them from when I don't let them cross - from things as simple as tooth decay and extreme clutter, to the invisible, spiritual things like disillusionment and idolatry. They don't see. In their minds they only see what they cannot have, and look at me - the trollish gate-keeper - as the one not providing what they can't fathom wouldn't be good for them to have. And they overreact, of course, but this is precisely the point . . . they don't remember the many times I've let them cross the bridge and shown them personally delights of the land they would never find on their own. They don't remember.

Of course, I am not a troll. I am, to a small degree, in charge of the bridge, but am most certainly their physical representation of who's in charge of the bridge. And I have to accept that in their eyes, they will look upon me as one who claims to love them more than anyone in the whole world, yet doesn't seem to give them access to what they would define as displays of that so-called love. Hopefully, one day they will understand. But that hope is in the land on the other side of my bridge.

But on Saturday, I will get to witness my son cross the bridge. The moment will surely fade away for him as life goes on, but it won't ever for me.

That must be how God feels...


  1. Jenn..thank you!! I can only imagine those wonderful moments with Matthew.

  2. Thank you! I'm so excited someone posted a comment!