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“Well, here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” This is, arguably, one of the most memorable lines in comedic film history. Ollie Hardy would frustratingly utter those words to Stan Laurel, at which point Mr. Laurel would scratch the top of his head and begin to sob. This scene would always happen after Mr. Hardy had plunged headlong into a task, often without investigating the best way to bring about a successful conclusion. He would stumble, bumble, stammer, and flail about causing a simple task to become a complete disaster. All the while, Mr. Laurel would stand aside not knowing how to assist.

Inevitably, something would cause Ollie to stop and survey the situation. That is when he would speak the famous line. He would then attempt to restore some order; to no avail. Next he would turn to Stan and say something to the effect of “Don’t just stand, sit, or lie there…” whichever the case may be, “do something!” At this point, Stan would rather timidly attempt to hand Ollie a broken piece of something from the catastrophe. Ollie would invariably slap it from his hand and grumble, “Never mind. I’ll do it myself.” Stan would again begin to sob.

Stan never quite knew how to help Ollie, possibly because he never asked for help. Quite often Stan would see an “out” before the scene got out of hand. Ollie would never pause to look or listen, he would simply push Stan aside and continue about his business. With a puzzled look Stan would say, “But I was only trying to help.” Ollie would continue in his hopeless endeavor; success nowhere in sight.

This is how the film most often ends, Ollie standing in the midst of his self-imposed disaster.

The scenario is staged for our entertainment, it is funny and it makes us laugh. Indeed we do laugh at the circumstances. Well, I do anyway.

I am thinking about the words I have written here and wonder… I wonder does this comedy of errors reflect our lives? Yes, to an extent I believe it does.

How often do we plunge into a situation, possibly with all good intensions, without considering the outcome or even seeking God’s aid? Do we even ask Him for advice? Now if you do, then I commend and applaud you and you need read no further, for you are much better than I. However, I am much more like Mr. Hardy. I cruise through life slipping and sliding from one mess to another, narrowly avoiding complete self-destruction. I seem to never learn from prior experiences. I need to stop and listen for God to give me counsel. I need to trust others who may view the scene differently. Others, who perhaps have been there before and have the scars and t-shirt to prove it. I need to see if I am able to apply their knowledge to the situation. Not to cast off my responsibility but to avoid unnecessary foolishness. Too often I find myself in a predicament asking God, why did this happen?

Why did it happen? I’ll tell you why, I charged in, full steam ahead, not considering how an event could come out in the wrong manner. Then I get upset and blamed God. It is not His fault, and I know that.

Yes, I am a human and I have, do, and will make many mistakes. My hope and encouragement is that God understands this and will pick me up and brush me off every time I fall. I need to slow down and listen for the still small voice. I need to take time to more deliberately seek God.

Myself, I am not unlike Mr. Hardy. I am, however, a work in progress.

~Richard Liunas