“You can’t fit a square peg into a round hole…” preached the radio. The first time Dad heard it he let it slide, not wanting to be rude by pointing out the announcer’s mistake. But during the long hours he and mom worked in their basket shop, the advertiser’s message played again and again like a broken record until Dad finally had to set the record straight. “Sometimes you can actually fit a square peg into a round hole --we did it.”
When pressed for an explanation he recollected: Years ago, horses pulled homemade sleds to haul hay, grain feed, rock, etc. Sleds were more practical than wagons because they wouldn’t “get away from you” as easily on the hills and their runners didn’t cut into the field as much as wheels. The sleds were maybe 4-5 feet wide and 6-8 feet long, pulled by one or two horses. Getting back to the square peg in a round hole part of the story, when the wooden sled runners wore out, you replaced it with a “half-solely”. This is when you chopped down a sapling about four inches in diameter and cut it in half lengthwise, then attached it to the wooden runners with the round side down as to glide over the ground. Best as Dad could remember each runner had about three holes drilled in them to which you’d line up holes drilled into the new sapling. Next you’d have to drive square pegs in the holes. Dad admitted it was hard to hammer, but it would stay in place extremely tight, reinforcing the assembly for the long haul. There you have it—square pegs in round holes completed the half-solely!
It all got me thinking and wondering what else people tell us can’t be done, but it can. Maybe we can do more than we think we can. There are lots of distractions in life and the enemy is trying to convince us of lies all the time. Recently someone told me to look at an area in my life where I have potential to do the most good and that’s probably where the enemy will work the hardest to destroy or distract. Take Peter for example, in the midst of his storm, he was asked to walk on water to meet Jesus (Matthew 14:29). He’d never seen anyone walk on water before and probably never even dreamed he could do it, but he stepped out of that boat anyway.
There comes a time when we’re all in the same boat wondering how we fit in. Remember that game Perfection where you only had 60 seconds to place all the different shaped pieces into their respective shaped holes? I wish Dad would have told me about the square peg in a round hole earlier and I would have brought a hammer to the game table. Often I failed to beat the buzzer and all the pieces went flying into the air! Life’s like that sometimes…frantically trying to get all aspects of my life into proper order before I lose control of everything. Much like the game, there is one hole in our hearts that is God-shaped and only God can fill it. Once we get that one in position, the other aspects will fall into place…and the good news is we’re not in a race for perfection.
There are probably many barns across Webster County with one of those wooden sleds tucked in a far corner. If we look at the runners closely, we might notice square pegs pounded into round holes, a reminder that just because someone says it can’t be done, doesn’t make it so. And most things worth doing involve a little elbow grease. Be encouraged. Let’s roll up our sleeves, step out of the boat, and when we dip our toes in the water make sure we remember our Life Preserver.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel