Reckless, Foolish or Just Plain Dumb?


I was dumb.

There really isn’t any other way around it. I was dumb and it landed me in the emergency room over the weekend. I’ll tell the whole story in a minute.

Here we define Reckless as living without care for the consequences. The idea being that there are times when we are called to accept negative consequences. Too often our decisions to do or not to do something starts with the question: “How will this affect me?” This places us and our own good at the center of the universe, rather than the people around us and how God might want to use us.

Reckless is different from being Foolish, which we talk about as acting without thought of the consequences. Foolish people get into trouble, not for noble purposes, but because they didn’t think things through.

Then there was me this past weekend. Our family started a tradition last year of going to a local Christmas Tree Farm and cutting down our own tree. I think my wife and I may enjoy it more than the kids at this point, but it’s an adventure. We walk through rows of pines looking for the right one. We weigh width vs. height vs. what will fit in our Living Room. And eventually we settle on one and I take a saw to it.

There is something manly about cutting down a tree. Even if it’s trunk is only three inches in diameter and it can’t fight back. I let out my best Tim Allen grunt when the tree fell to the ground.

Eventually we got the tree home and set up. The lights are on, the ornaments are in place and we are ready for Christmas morning.

Except for one thing.

The star isn’t on the tree.

It was an oversight my five-year-old-son reminded me of daily in the week since we got the tree up. When we packed up Christmas last year, the star got put into a separate box from the rest of the tree decorations. We had yet to pull out that box. So Saturday morning I decided to rectify the problem. I went digging through boxes of decorations and found the star and proceeded to try to put it on the tree, only to find that the tree was slightly too tall.

Easy to solve right? And I knew that I should have gone to the garage and gotten our gardening shears. But I didn’t, because much closer was one of my backpacking knives. I grabbed it and went to town on the top of the tree. Only a few seconds went by when my brain said “You should really move your other hand because if you slip…”

Just then the knife slipped from where I was cutting and ran across the top of two of my fingers, cutting both badly. Blood gushed, kids ran, and my wife almost threw up. It was quite the scene.

We got the bleeding under control and headed for the ER. Four stitches and some super glue later and I am good as new.

I was processing later where I had gone wrong. I use knives all of the time, and I know how to be safe with them. But this time I ignored that voice just a little too long. I’m not so sure if I was foolish so much as I was just plain dumb.

But at least I should get a cool scar to show for it.

Unfortunately the star still isn’t on the tree.