The Minnesota State Fair is in full swing. Our family is excited to attend this Thursday. Covid-19 made life come to a complete standstill. One of the events that was cancelled last year was the fair. Most people would understand that it was essential that the fair was cancelled along with so many other activities. As a parent of a special needs young man, the fair cancellation was one of the hardest things for me to explain to our son. Every summer, our son looks forward to four main activities. A destination vacation with our friends, a trip to the cabin, a long weekend at Madden's and day well spent at The Minnesota State Fair. Zach has been tuning in to the local news daily and watching intently as the Great Minnesota Get Back Together took shape.
Zach yelled to me early last week from the living room. I came hustling up from the laundry room in the basement and found Zach standing face to face in front of the T.V. smiling ear to ear. He pushed play on the Tivo remote and there was a story about the assembly of the Ferris wheel at fair. Zach exclaimed, "Wait a minute! Where did it go? Where is the Ferris wheel?"
"Zach, some of the rides aren't at the fair all year long. When they close down when the fair is done, they take some of the rides down. The Ferris wheel needs to put together so that you can ride it next week." I attempted to explain to him.
"Some assembly is required." Zach responded.
I was shell shocked. How did he know what that meant? I was so confused. I asked him to hand me the remote and I pushed rewind for about a minute back in the story. Sure enough, one of the news anchors stated, "Some assembly is required on most rides at The Minnesota State Fair..."
My amazing son was able to grasp a concept that he may have not heard before and then articulate it appropriately to describe what we were seeing on the T.V. His beautiful mind is an amazing thing to witness. Zach may not understand everything, he may not be able to talk about everything, but he takes pride in the new things he learns each and every day.
The statement- Some Assembly Required- stayed with for the next few days. We have been working a lot in our home, and have found so many things require assembly. Shelves, curtain rods, furniture. The list is endless. Things are purchased, assembled and replaced.
I thought of all that we encounter in life that comes in pieces. Usually people. Broken, busted edges, wounded from life, from prior relationships, depleted and even diminished people who struggle even with the concept of unrealized dreams. Not sure where to go, what to do first, or even how to take the first step forward, many of the people are discovered by others when they are in such a state. And sometimes, that broken person is actually us.
It isn't our job to fix anyone. We aren't the ones that can do it. To pick up the pieces they have toted along with them. We can love them, we can encourage them and we can be the light when darkness seems to take over. But we can't fix. Sometimes leading by example and modeling what taking the next step looks like is essential. Even showing why when life presses in, doing the next best thing is of the utmost importance. But not fix.
But what do we do when we are the broken one? The one that hurts, and grieves and mourns, the one that feels aimless and just needs something, anything to change? Often, time heals. Piece by piece is restored and placed back appropriately. A factory reset per se. The assembly required is essential and necessary.
Life has been challenging for me this summer, and these past few weeks seem to have provided food for fodder. I know what it feels like to be dismantled, but I also know what it feels like to built up. Restored and stronger than I was to begin with. I sit with wise counsel, I am encouraged and prayed for, I am loved and able to hear and apply truth.
The assembly required in me has made me hopeful. It has enabled me to take a step forward into these fall months not only ready, but excited for what is next.
When I see the Ferris wheel at The Minnesota State Fair this Thursday, I think I will appreciate it more than I ever have. Yes, I find a story to share in just about everything. But now I understand how important it is to accept that some assembly is required. The outcome is worth it. Every time.