A Year of Smiles – Day 192


Do you remember the scene near the end of The Avengers in which Loki, god of mischief, is being pounded by the Incredible Hulk at the top of Stark Tower but in an attempt to halt the beating, begins ranting about his godhood and demanding respect?

C’mon. You haven’t seen The Avengers? Really?

I admit it’s not for everyone but indulge me for a moment. Watch this short clip.

I LOVE that scene! In case you missed it, Loki is the bad guy. He’s full of himself and had been trying to take over the world. He deserved that beat down and much more. If you ask me, the Hulk took it easy on him but he brought that huge ego of Loki’s down a notch or two. “Puny god.” Ha!

For some reason, this scene reminds me of a guy I went to seminary with.  He had a very narrow view of who God is. We were once assigned to read the writings of Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun of the 1500s. She often referred to God as “Mother” in her writings and this fellow in my class could not stand it. He was adamant that this was sacrilege.  During a heated discussion in class one day, he was going on and on about the blasphemy of referring to God as our mother. Well, after a bit, I could stand it no longer and before I could even think of myself, I blurted out, “How small is that box you keep your god in?”

We tend to do that, don’t we? We try to define God and characterize Him as one way or another. We latch on to certain attributes that appeal to us and heaven forbid anyone try to broaden our perspective. We mold God into a neat little figurine that fits inside of a pretty box nestled safely on a shelf. And that satisfies us until we’re faced with a life changing situation that needs a God much bigger than the puny one on our shelf.

Fortunately for us, we have a great, big God who doesn’t mind being called “mom”, “dad” or even “friend”. He created us and knows what we need at our weakest moments. When we’re afraid and alone, he holds us close as a mother would do for any child. When we are weak and wounded, he picks us up, dusts us off and allows us to lean on his strength just as a father lifts his fallen child. When we’ve lost our way and our hope is gone, he searches for us as any true friend would do. Even more, when we were dying in our sins, he laid down his life to offer us salvation as only our true and loving God could do.

Yeah, I agree with the Hulk. No puny gods for me. I serve a great, big, wonderful God! That’s worth SMILING about!


A Year of Smiles – Day 27

Reason to SMILE #27: LEGO® BRICKS (unless you step on them – that’s another expression altogether!)

It’s a typical day in the Big Apple – taxis whizzing through the streets, horns blowing, crowds bustling and…. Super Heroes battling for the safety of all mankind!

My son, who was 8 years old at the time, had asked me to play with him.  We were on the verge of the battle of a lifetime.  It was intense. 😉

In the midst of the city we find Iron Man*, Thor and Spiderman, banged up and weary from a battle with Loki, Thor’s brother and constant troublemaker.  Suddenly, Captain America (otherwise known as Steve Rogers) is seen running up the street toward the heroes.

“It’s the Winter Soldier!” Captain America exclaims.  “Let’s go!”

“Mom, you’re Iron Man, Thor and Spiderman.  C’mon!” my son demanded.

“How can I be 3 characters at one time?” I asked.

“Mah – ahm!”

“Okay! Okay!  I’ll figure it out.”

The heroes take off following Captain America to another part of the city where the Winter Soldier is seen wreaking havoc in the streets.  Captain America doesn’t waste any time and engages the villain in an attempt to thwart his devastation of the city.  The Winter Soldier, masked and armed with various weapons, is thrilled to have a worthy opponent.  The battle begins.

Are you picturing this great LEGO battle?  Okay.  Just checking.

The Winter Soldier fires at Captain America but to no avail.  Captain America blocks every bullet with his trusty shield.  Finally, Captain America launches his shield into the air toward the Winter Soldier.  The shield knocks the weapon from the villain’s hand and brings him to the ground causing the Winter Soldier’s mask to loosen and fall off his face.

Captain America turns white as he stares at the man lying on the ground.

“Now you make Iron Man say, ‘What is it, Cap?’,” my son instructed.

“Got it,” I replied.

“What is it, Cap?” asks Iron Man.

“That’s Bucky, my teammate from a long time ago,” says Captain America.  “He was my friend but… I thought he was dead.”

“Well, he’s all yours now,” quips Iron Man.

The Winter Soldier begins to stir as Cap tries to speak to him.  “Bucky?”

“Who’s Bucky?” the villain groans.

Captain America, seeing that Bucky is not who he once was, calls to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters for assistance in apprehending the villain.  “Fury,” calls Cap.  “I have the Winter Soldier.”

A few moments later, a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicopter arrives and a rope is dropped down near the villain and the heroes on the ground.  Captain America secures the Winter Soldier to the rope and shouts, “Take him to the Detention Center!”

“That’s what they call it when you get in trouble at school,” I interrupted.  “You get sent to detention.”

With a brief chuckle, my son replied, “I know.”

The helicopter heads to the Detention Center with the Winter Soldier in tow.  As the heroes watch it fly off in the distance, they could hear the Winter Soldier cry, “I hate detention!!!!!”

And laughter erupted in the living room!

Have you ever played with LEGO bricks with an 8-year-old boy?  If you haven’t, you must try it at least once.  But I have to warn you – it can be quite frustrating.   You cannot do your own thing.  You must follow his rules.  You cannot speak your own lines, either.  He will feed you those.  And if you even think about questioning his rules for playing with LEGO bricks, things may get a bit ugly.  So, why play with him if my own creativity will be stifled?  Because he asks me to, that’s why!  Believe me, no matter whose rules you follow, seeing your child’s mind at work and jumping into his world for a little while will result in SMILES that last a lifetime.

Do you know any kids with a pile of LEGO bricks?  Dump them in the middle of the floor and get busy playing.  Take a break from being an adult and make some SMILES today!

*Captain America (a/k/a Steve Rogers), Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Thor, Loki, Spiderman, Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. are licensed Marvel characters/names and registered trademarks of Marvel Comics and/or Marvel Studios.  Use of these names in this blog is not an attempt to claim any rights to these characters, names or story lines and by no means is meant to infringe upon the rights of the rightful owner.  My kid was just playing!! 😉