Tearing Things Apart (Part One)

Did you ever tear something apart? I’m guessing you have. We all have. Sometimes we do it out of anger or frustration. Occasionally we do it with great trepidation. But tearing things apart seems to be at least a tiny slice of life.

Here’s a situation in which you may have found yourself. You have a small appliance you use often, but it begins to fail. Finally it totally goes on the fritz. It’s already outlived its warranty, and it’s too old to merit paying someone to fix it.

You try various things. You leave it alone for a couple of days hoping it will get better on its own. When that doesn’t work, you try turning its switch on and off…repeatedly…faster and faster. When that doesn’t work, you shake it, beat it, and throw it against the wall—all to no avail.

There’s Only One Thing Left

After a few days of this, you realize you may have to go out and buy a new one. You’re reluctant to do so, because you really like THIS one. There’s still one last thing you can try. You really don’t want to, but the only thing left is to tear it apart.

If you’re like me, you don’t know anything at all about how it works, what kind of parts you’ll find inside, or how in the world you’ll be able to spot the problem. Yet, when you have a few minutes to spare, you take the plunge and disassemble it.

When you do, your worst fears are realized. You now have a pile of parts—most of which you don’t recognize nor have any idea what they’re called. You don’t see anything that could be wrong. You’re clueless at that point, so there’s only one thing left to do. Attempt to put it back together again.

What Did You Do?

So… You restore it to its original condition (as best you can remember). You plug it into the electric receptacle, and you throw the switch. Lo and behold, it starts purring like a kitten—it works like it was brand new again.

The funny thing is, you have no idea what you just did to make it work again. Even more curious is the fact that you have a few parts left over. How can it be running without those parts? But it is.

Obviously, it doesn’t always work like I just described. When I was ten, I had a toy rifle. This wasn’t just any gun. It was a replica from the Rifleman. I loved that baby.

Lucas McCain used to tear his apart and clean it. I saw him do it on TV. So, one day, I decided to do the same thing. I tore my prize rifleman gun apart—and I couldn’t get it back together. I was afraid to tell my parents, so it sat in one of our back bedrooms for months. Eventually, it got tossed.

Experiences like that second example are what instill trepidation into our souls when we consider tearing something apart. (To be continued…)

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently pastor of Smith Chapel in Great Falls, VA.]

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