“Stick a fork in me and call me done.”
That colloquialism is something I could have said when I ended my weeding task for the morning—I was a wee bit tired. But the saying was a little too close to the truth—except that the “fork” was a pitchfork and the thing “stuck” was the garden hose.
I had been weeding around the azalea bushes in my front yard, then using the pitchfork to toss the large piles into a wheelbarrow. When the wheelbarrow was full, I would thrust the pitchfork into the ground as a safety precaution.
Sometimes it went into the ground more easily than others. This time I noticed a resistance but, unfortunately, not before I had punctured the hose.
My sequence of thoughts went something like this:
“Maybe it didn’t actually puncture a hole in it.”‘
The standing hose water rushing out made me quickly dismiss that thought.
“I wonder if it can be fixed.”
That would require informing my husband, which I was averse to doing. It’s not so much that I feared his reaction as much as I dreaded the ongoing “bull in a china shop” reputation I had earned (and rightly so). Too often I multitask and my diverted attention often results in little mishaps, such as the pierced hose, when my goal was to be helpful.
“I wonder if I could simply replace the hose so that my husband needn’t know about it.”
I then noticed that much of the hose ran under the ground and under a large pile of ground cover. I knew replacing it wouldn’t be that easy.
“Well, we’ve had a lot of rain this season plus we haven’t used the sprinklers in over a year. Maybe by the time we run the sprinkler again, the hose will have deteriorated so that it will look like it split with age…”
In other words, I was looking for a way to hide my sin. Actually, thrusting the pitchfork through a hose that was partially buried in dirt was an accident; hiding that fact from my husband would be the sin.
I’m not the first person who has looked for a way to cover sin.
That claim to fame would go to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3). Satan (as a serpent) tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit; she ate and then gave it to her husband to eat. When God confronted them, Adam blamed Eve; he actually said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12, NIV). As if God should share the blame! Eve excused herself by saying the serpent deceived her and so she ate (3:13).
I’m pretty sure it was their fault that I even have to weed:
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you…” (Genesis 3: 17-18a, NIV).
Thanks, Adam and Eve. I could blame you for the punctured hose. And their pattern continued. Adam and Eve’s son Cain murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4). When God confronted him, Cain feigned innocence, saying “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9, NIV).
Years later, when Moses was on the mountaintop receiving the Ten Commandments in an encounter with the Living God, his brother Aaron was in charge (Exodus 32). The people came to him, saying Moses was taking too long, and asked him to make them a god who would be visible before them. He collected their gold earrings, melted them down, and then shaped them into a calf. Then he led them into a worship service and festival the following day. God got Moses to crash the party, and when the leader confronted Aaron with, essentially, “What were you thinking?” Aaron said this:
“Do not be angry, my lord. You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf” (Exodus 32:22-24).
A little stretching of the truth? I’m pretty sure Aaron shaped the calf and encouraged the people to worship it. Moses (and God) saw right through his falsified story. Moses called out to the revelers, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” Those who did were given instruction to kill those who did not choose the Lord. Because of Aaron’s sin, 3,000 people died that day–and those who survived had to make atonement for their sin.
And then David, the man after God’s own heart, had an affair with another man’s wife that resulted in her getting pregnant while her husband was at war. To cover his sin, David called Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, from war, encouraging him to go sleep with his wife. The faithful Uriah would not enjoy such a luxury while his men were at war; so David sent Uriah to the front lines and gave instructions that he be left there to die (2 Samuel 11).
Ultimately, God knew—and David’s sin did find him out. The baby Bathsheba carried would die as punishment. Thankfully, when David was confronted with his sin, he stopped making excuses and came clean.
Which is what I did. A mere eight hours after I stuck a pitchfork into the hose, while cooking a fragrant shrimp scampi, I casually asked my husband, “Is it possible to fix a hose?”
“Yes,” he replied, calmly. “I have the tools necessary. Why?”
And I told him the truth. It was quite painless—and much better than worrying about the puncture eventually being discovered. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a post about my husband being a tyrant. (He isn’t.) It is a post about me considering an alternative to telling the truth to save face or avoid embarrassment.
I suspect my husband might have me fix the hose with his supervision—or fix it himself while teaching me how to do it myself in the future.
A skill I hope I won’t need for another pitchfork misadventure.
Put a fork in it and call this done. A lesson learned. Actually, two. I will be more careful where I thrust my pitchfork, but I will also aim to come clean without entertaining ways to cover my mistakes and sin.