Splinter by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche

Trivia containing “Home Hints” or “Fun Facts” often are sent to me. Years ago, when I was teaching high school, one such Email– two pages full of such tidbits– made its way into my Inbox. I recited them to my students who found them as interesting as I did…until, that is, I read #10 which stated, “It is impossible to lick your elbow.” Immediately, a junior in the back row licked his elbow, making me skeptical of the other “facts” I was asked to believe.

All that to bring me to the story of my splinter. A few months ago, Dave and I were in Springfield, Missouri, picking up our kayak after having a hole repaired at the shop where we bought it five years ago. This was a good plan, since the option was Hubby’s grandiose idea to glue his stash of Gatorade lids together, melt them into the puckering cavity and call it good. The kayak shop seemed a better bet.

We had borrowed a trailer which, to our surprise, ended up being one we had loaned our son a decade ago and hadn’t seen until it turned up—suffering multiple maladies, including rust, rotting boards and no taillights– behind my nephew’s shed.

I digress.

Sliding the mended kayak onto the trailer, I immediately felt the pain of a splinter in my thumb. Dave’s attempt to remove it by using a fishing lure–one he found latched onto a web pocket in the kayak—left me with a bloody thumb and an embedded sliver of wood too deep to extract. Once home, I referred to my “Home Hints” on how to remove the little demon. The first suggestion was to lather it with honey, sit back, and watch the sweet goo do its magic. And get this! It worked. Within 5 minutes, the splinter had finagled its way to the surface. A “fun fact” that panned out.

So, I now am rethinking my decision that all of these “fun facts” are hogwash. Just because one student could lick his elbow doesn’t dispel the other 20 pieces of information that might just come in handy someday…like in a trivia contest or as a painless remedy. We need to determine what is truth and what isn’t.

I have a friend who considers the Bible nothing more than a collection of useless, truthless trivia. She is a splinter to my soul, for she believes that there is no “Absolute Truth” and that only fools buy into Jesus’ claim that he is “Truth.” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Jn. 14:6) The irony, as I have pointed out to her, is obvious: “So, to you, your Absolute Truth is that there is no Absolute Truth. Interesting.”

For me, the Bible works. It is not simply 66 books of useless minutiae but is a personal, love letter from God to everyone who seeks Him. Psalm 119:105 refers to it as “a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

The Bible brings me peace and promises me a future. It tells me of a loving God who became man and suffered everything we have suffered, exchanging His life for ours. It makes me a better person as it reminds me to be forgiving, selfless, honest, patient (still working on that one), loving and kind. It tells me that I may have some ugly splinters in my heart that need to be extracted but that “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” (Prov, 16:24)

Useless trivia? I can’t imagine anything further from the truth.

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