My son and I disassembled the Millennium Falcon last night.
The LEGO version, that is.
The good ol’ Falcon set a new record in our house: staying
fully assembled nearly nine months. All 1,254 pieces of it. The previous
record-holder, Boba Fett’s Slave 1, had lasted a mere two weeks before being
turned into “scrap” plastic. I suspect
the Falcon’s record will never be equaled in our home.
Despite the ship’s remarkable longevity, though, after a
while even the most cherished LEGO set starts to look like fodder for even cooler stuff we could imagine making with
all those pieces. And so when I got home from work yesterday, Henry informed me
that he had begun the disassembly process, starting by removing the Falcon’s
top quad-laser cannon array as well as its signature radar dish, both of which
had already been transferred to a new ship.
Soon, the feeding frenzy of “new” parts was on in earnest as
we both started yanking pieces off and adding them to our new creations. It
wasn’t long before the trusty ol’ Falcon was down to its base skeleton. (Don’t
worry, I took pictures a while back, so we’ll always have those memories.)
At that point, I wistfully recalled a moment I’d had as I
started to assemble the big set right after Christmas last year.
If you’ve ever built a LEGO set — and if you haven’t, well,
bear with me — you may recall that you sometimes have to follow the
blueprint-like instructions for some time before what you’re constructing
begins to even remotely resemble the finished product. That principle is even
more true the bigger the set is. You build and build and build, and despite
your progress, there’s very little that looks like the cool images on the box.
In the case of the Millennium Falcon, much of the first
third or so of the ship is simply constructing a huge, vaguely square base upon
which the rest of the craft will be built. A foundation if you will.
Lego Millennium Falcon Stop Motion Assembly 3d from Francisco Prieto on Vimeo. This
video is actually for the Ultimate Collector’s Edition Millennium Falcon, which
is about 5,000 pieces — four times bigger than the one we did.
I remember thinking as I worked through the first of several
instruction booklets, Man, this thing
doesn’t look like the Millennium Falcon at all. And yet, I knew the
foundation I was laying was one that was precisely designed to become something
very specific — and in this case, very cool. Every LEGO brick, down to the
smallest piece, was specifically designed to work in harmony with all the other
bricks around it to create a mini-masterpiece.
The spiritual application here isn’t a terribly big leap to
make. In our lives as well, God lays a foundation that consists of a particular
design, particular pieces that have to go exactly in the right places to
accomplish His ultimate ends for our lives. Early on in the process, it can be
very difficult to see how it’s all going to fit together. And sometimes, awkward
or painful parts seem to stick out for a long time before we may get any
clarity on how, exactly, they fit into the overall design for our lives.
But I’ve found that the longer I’m around, the longer my life —
if you’ll allow me to massively oversimplify things for the sake of making my
point — seems a bit like putting a complex LEGO spaceship together. In time, as
more pieces and layers are added, something beautiful and purposeful begins to
emerge. We’re able to look back on certain things and see more clearly how they
fit together in God’s providential purposes and plans for us.
Now, I don’t want to oversimplify here, because sometimes we
just don’t see how certain pieces
fit. Sometimes things remain a mystery. Sometimes there are unanswered questions that simply defy easy explanation.
That said, I’d also like to add this: Our early years as
adults, especially our 20s and 30s, can be a season in which God works to
accomplish foundational things in our lives through our experiences, our
longings, our relationships, our struggles and even our deep disappointments.
At times, our lives can look formless and even directionless in the moment,
because we only see the vague outlines of the foundation, not the polished,
completed reflection of God’s work we may become perhaps decades down the road.
So if you’re in a spot where you feel stuck or confused or
uncertain how all the pieces fit together, that’s OK. Take a breath and trust
that God may just be laying the foundation for something that you can’t begin
to perceive just yet … something that He’s nevertheless lovingly assembling,
piece by providential piece.