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Column Dr. John Wesley Bressler
Learning why God would love a doofus
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    I have to tell you how I earned the nickname “Doofus.” For a long time, I assumed that it was one of those pet names or term of endearment.
    For a long, long time, I always believed I was destined to be a sailor, a rogue pirate, one of those at-sea-and-proud-of-it kind of guys, a man who could say, “Aargh!”, steal treasure and drink rum. I found out that there is a law prohibiting piracy — which doesn’t seem fair — treasure is taxable and few people know what “Aargh” means.
    Anyway, when we were at our first church in Sarasota, Fla., I began reading up on boat building. That is one of the requirements in sailorhood. Most of the boats were too big or too expensive to buy, but I found this book that guaranteed even an idiot could build one on a shoestring. Except for the title, which I though was just a bit demeaning, I liked the shoestring concept. I discarded the chapter on building your dreamboat out of cardboard and packing material as well as the one about chewing gum is water tight. I did find one that I knew I could handle: Sewing Your Own Boat!
    In this ground-breaking chapter, I found that all I needed was some old plywood, a drill and a one-eighth bit, 1500 feet of nylon fishing line and some fiberglass cloth and adhesive. Unbeknownst — I like this word — to Julie, I found some old quarter-inch plywood that I think was being thrown away in back of the lumber yard late one night, some unused line off the gear of some of my parishioners and a drill I had borrowed from a friend back in seminary. So far so good. I cut the plywood according to specs and drilled more holes than I could count and began the sewing process.
    After three hours of lacing together the first side and bottom of my cruiser-to-be, Julie came out of the house. She looked at me for a long time and then asked, “Sweetie, what are you doing?” It was so obvious that I hesitated to answer but replied, “Why, Honey Sugar, I am building our dream boat!”
    She kept looking at me intensely and asked again, “Why are you walking from the driveway to clear across the street?”
    Once again, the obvious, “Well, Love of My Life, the fishing line is so long that I have to go through these two holes and then walk far enough to tighten the line and then come back again to do it again.”
    “John, have you ever thought about cutting the line into short pieces, knotting them together when you use up one piece and so on, so you won’t have to walk so far?”
    I thought about this for a couple of minutes and quickly and deftly said, “I am doing this so I will have smooth edges. Nothing looks so amateurish than a boat with bumpy seams.”
    It was a few years later that I finally built my first boat, with the help of a fairly capable Boatwright, and it was a beauty. I found out two things: the name Doofus is now permanent and Julie still loves me. How can you beat that?
    We all have dreams of what we can do, accomplish and what it will look like when finished. Sometimes our dreams are just that, some don’t work as well as we had hoped, and some might take a lot more time and expertise than we have or want to expend. I believe, however, that if we want something badly enough and are willing to truly try and try again, we can realize almost anything. There is considerable sacrifice and hard work involved, but if the prize is worth the effort, then the process is a labor of love.
    Sometimes I look at myself and my shortcomings and wonder why God has spent so much time on someone like me and if all the effort is going to pay off. I try not to spend too much time on the question because the answer is there and it is as clear and understandable as God can make it. God has said and keeps saying, “I have loved this world and you so much that I have given My Son Jesus in your behalf. Don’t try to dissect my thoughts as they are beyond human ability to comprehend, just accept My love, My Son Jesus, and believe what He has done for you, listen and obey His teachings, and live your life accordingly. I will take care of the finished product.”
    I am too human to figure out what the finished product will look like, so I can only trust in God and in His unbreakable promise.
    My only wonder is what He will say to me. “Welcome, Doofus, into the joy prepared just for you.” I like that. I really do.
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