• By Lt. Tim McMillan

God Doesn't Hate You... Yes, even You.

Recently, I came across the following video after a good friend of mine shared it on Facebook.

When the videoed concluded, I realized that I had stumbled upon one of those rare instances in which social media extends beyond what we have come to consider its familiar confines, and suddenly one finds themselves immersed within in a conduit for thought provoking exchanges of information.

Ultimately, this 2:07 video clip caused me to reflect upon the interconnectivity and personal relationship between God and myself.

A couple of years ago, I decided I was going to build a raised deck extension to my patio that would function like an outdoor kitchen of sorts. Complete with built-in food prep table, electricity, and of course designated grilling area.

Cue the Jewish carpenter jokes, because indeed prior to this grand scheme of mine, I cannot say I had ever engaged in much carpentry work.

However, I had made up my mind and I decided I was going to just go for it.

Ultimately, this became an ambitious season-long project, in which I discovered a true love for YouTube and my local Lowe’s salespersons.

As the weeks passed, my deck begin to take shape and go from an abstract idea, born in my image of the pinnacle of outdoor cooking, to legitimate tangible creation.

Now, I truly dove into this endeavor with no mentorship, so of course, there was many a time that my mind’s eye and reality’s eye would find itself at odds.

One rather memorable moment during my deck's creation story was the time I found myself lying on my back, staring up at the blue sky above me. This was not an intended moment of meditative reflection, rather it was an unexpected outcome that had occurred the moment I I leaned against a newly installed section of railing on the deck.

Lying there in the grass in my backyard, I recall thinking to myself, “If only the deck could understand the vision I have for its final evolution to picturesque perfection this entire endeavor would be so easy.”

Clearly, my deck didn’t even have the capacity to understand the purpose of its creation, much less come anywhere close to the level of cognitive function I possessed that allowed for its entire existence.

Eventually, the day came in which I would proudly stand and marvel at what had started as a simple idea, was born into material existence. I finished my raised deck/outdoor kitchen!

Truthfully, I think my wife despises it, and Better Homes and Gardens won’t be swinging anytime soon to run a story on my woodworking achievement. However, no matter what, I could never hate my deck. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love my deck.

I love every irregular cut of wood. I love every bowed board, as I discovered later rather than sooner the necessity of a mystical concoction they call “Water Sealer.” I love my crooked steps, and ultimately I love every fiber of wood that came together to allow my vision to be born.

Ultimately, there actually isn't any shortcomings, oddities, failures, or flaws on my deck. Rather, every aspect of my deck is representative of the mutual loving relationship that was fostered during the process of inspiration, creation and the final realization of my intended desires.

It actually doesn’t matter that my deck isn’t perfect. It doesn’t matter that my deck lacks the capacity of ever knowing why I built it, what purpose it serves, or what plans I have for it as I step up with a bag of charcoal in one hand, cold beer in the other.

In fact, since I created the deck, it is fundamentally impossible for my creation to ever develop an equivalent intelligence to its creator. Assuming that intellect was achievable at all.

The inherent limitation of understanding between creator and creation only assures that if my deck even tried to assume it understood my thoughts and desires, the ensuing result would be a failure. For example, the deck may assume that it should rip all the railing off in order to guarantee that no section ever falls again. From the deck’s perspective, this makes logical sense.

Ultimately, the deck would fail to see that I’d rather fix a broken section than having no rail at all. Better, yet what may appear to be the catastrophic loss of a rail section to the deck, actually is the method in which I learned a better method of ensuring all the deck’s railing is secure.

Instead, I only need my deck to never suddenly believe, “Hey! I’m not a single object comprised of similarly fashioned separate objects. I’m simply a bunch of dissimilar objects that are supposed to exist separate from each other!” - Then my deck collapse and fall apart.

Lastly, my deck doesn’t need to understand anything other than the fact that the most attention it gets is when we work together and it functions as space for me to enjoy cooking amongst the beauty of the outdoors.

Therefore, if my deck was capable of the simplest of thought processes, and free will, it only would need to be able to recognize when our interaction was joyous or when it was frustrating.

With this simple knowledge, my deck could then choose to seek only the times that are surrounded by joy and avoid the times that are surrounded by frustration.

Then, regardless of any of its shortcomings, my deck would be able to recognize that the paramount purpose of its creation is to foster happiness and positive connection with the world around it.

Tim McMillan is a retired police lieutenant and investigative intelligence analyst; and holds BA's in mathematics and cognitive psychology. Primarily, focusing on the Defense and Intelligence Communities, he now uses his unique background, coupled with a willingness to examine any mystery, to deliver groundbreaking investigative reporting. Tim is a contributor for The War Zone, Vice, and Popular Mechanics

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© Lieutenant Tim McMillan All Rights Reserved by The Raziel Group LLC