Tuesday, January 30, 2007

All-Out War

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life,

and his ultimate bondage is getting you to live as though his lie is truth."

~ Neil Anderson ~

Growing up, I viewed the spiritual realm as a sporting event; say a football game, with God and his angels sitting on the home side, and Satan and his demons sitting in the visitor stands.

As in any high school, the visitor stands are less than optimal. They are furthest from the concession stand. They are usually small, cramped, and rickety. Visitor stands face the setting sun and seem to catch the brunt of the wind. They are furthest from the restrooms and the parking lot. It is even hard to hear the announcer in the visitor stands. So from the moment the visitor arrives, he is irritated, and wants the home team to lose as much as he wants his team to win.

So, in my young mind, humans were the players, and the fans, be they God or Satan, simply cheered their team on. At that time in my life, I really did not think much about God or Satan being actively involved in my life.

It actually took two works of fiction for me to start thinking differently. I read C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, a fictional account of Satan training his young nephew to take over his work. He refers to God as “the enemy” and humans as “the patient”. He teaches him how take over the hearts of men, and the specific tactics to use when the target patient is a Christian. Instead of tempting him to steal or kill or commit some heinous act, he merely tempts him to believe that he is in control of his own life and does not need God. He works to busy the patient’s life so that he doesn’t have time to pray. He sends discouragement to set up camp in the patient’s home, so that he will stop going to church. In many ways, he actually works more on the Christian than the non-Christian, since the lost already belong to him.

It reminded me of John 8:44-47 when Jesus says of Satan, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Later on, I read This Present Darkness, which offered a fascinating glimpse into the unseen world of spiritual warfare. Frank Peretti paints a vivid picture of God and Satan actively at work in our lives, not just as spectators cheering us on in either direction. Purely a work of fiction, it did cause me to dig deeper into the scriptures and to study instances when God and Satan fought over the souls of men.

God desires that we come to him. He wants us to choose him. Satan, on the other hand, is a stalker. We are warned in I Peter 5:8-9: “Be self-controlled and alert. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”

Likewise, James 4:7 urges “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

I no longer think of the spiritual realm as a spectator sport. It is all-out war. Every day is a battle; every minute is a skirmish, and I, and I alone, decide which side is going to win for that day. Each day that I decide to be in control of my own life, Satan claims victory over that battle. Each day that I submit to God and seek his will for me, God and his angels rejoice as the victors.

Knowing all of this, I still struggle. How about you?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Generally speaking, I avoid mirrors. In the morning, I do what I have to do to get ready. I make sure I look ok before heading out the door, and that is it. That is usually the last time I check myself in the mirror. As long as I don’t look, I can forget for hours at a time that I am 50 years old; on the inside I feel the same as I did in my 20’s or 30’s, with the possible exception of a few joints.

Recently, the whole family flew to Kansas City to be with Kindred Spirit and her husband, Sammy, for a very important event. On the way there, I was allowed to pre-board with Sweet Pea and the baby to help her carry all of the things that go with traveling with a baby. The rest of the family went through the usual line.

However, I must confess to you now that I was deeply wounded upon our return a few days later. We had booked a flight late in the evening (past my bedtime, actually). I was standing in the pre-boarding area at the Southwest Airlines gate with my daughter, Sweet Pea. She was holding the baby and I had my purse, her computer bag, her diaper bag, and the umbrella stroller. The attendant announced that they were now accepting pre-boarders. She then turned toward my daughter, took her ticket, looked me up and down and said, “Grandma will have to get in line with the other passengers.”

Sweet Pea looked at me apologetically and said, “I’m sorry mom. I’ll take that stuff so you won’t have to carry it.” Ever the martyr, I sighed, “Don’t worry dear. I’ll just take it with me; I’ll be fine.” Then I turned on my heel and schlepped my load to the end of the long line of passengers, hoping to shame the thoughtless attendant. Turning around at the end of the line, I was disappointed to discover that she had not even noticed!

What bothered me more than the public humiliation of being kicked out of the pre-boarding line was her assumption that I was a Grandma. Don’t get me wrong; I am proud of being Grandma. It is the best. It just seems to me, from a customer service standpoint, that, having kicked me out of the line, she could have softened the blow by pretending she didn’t notice I was old.

I always laugh when the twenty-five-year-old salesman in the store says, “Hello, young lady!” knowing full well that he is trying to make a sale. A more obvious attempt at flattery is when I am shopping with my daughters and salesman asks if we are sisters. Ridiculous or not, I much prefer their calculated flattery to the callous reminder from a stranger that I not only feel old, I look old!

The child in me wanted to stick out my tongue and blurt, “Well, I may be a 50-year-old grandma, but you are at least 60!” The sarcastic teenager in me wanted to roll my eyes and say, “Whatever. At least I’m not wearing a Christmas bow on top of my head!” (Yes, she was wearing the kind you buy in packages of 50 with a sticky square on the bottom). The enlightened, college-educated, 20-something in me wanted to say, “I have a right to pre-board. They didn’t hesitate to pre-board me on the way up here!” The 30ish mother of four would have pleaded, “Please, my daughter is traveling alone with the baby. She needs me to help her!” The 40ish professional would have leaned in and asked to see her supervisor, but the 50-year-old grandma realizes that life is too short and time too precious to waste on things that do not matter. Maybe there are advantages to getting older!

What advantages have you found to getting older?

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue

keeps himself from calamity.”

Proverbs 21:23

Monday, January 22, 2007

Oh! To Be Like Thee

"You act more like a Christian by your influence on the lost,
than the saved people you impress" Dr. Alvin Reid

As I ponder this quote, it helps me to tweak it a bit and make it more personal:

I act more like Christ by my influence on the lost,
than the saved people I impress.

How can I be more like Jesus and influence the lost as he did?

Jesus sought out lost people. He actually took the time to go out and look for them. He had compassion on them. He befriended them; he defended them, and he loved them in spite of their sin.

I go to church with Christians. I work with Christians. My friends are Christians. How do I befriend the lost without being swept away by the influence of their companionship?

Jesus established deep roots so that he could not be swept away. He had a close, intimate relationship with the father, God. He talked with his father throughout the day; he meditated on scripture. He talked to others about God daily, keeping Him in the forefront of his mind. His constant companions were men who were committed to changing their lives and following Him, no matter the cost.

In church, we talk about hating the sin, not the sinner, but how do I do that as Jesus did? I must confess that I tend to have stronger feelings against the lost who openly live in sin and claim no relationship with God, than I do the fellow Christian who struggles with sin as I do, yet desires to follow Jesus.

Jesus taught that we should no more hate the lost for sinning than we would the blind for not seeing or the deaf for not hearing. He chose compassion. They were, after all, lost. He patiently showed them the way. He encouraged them and gave them hope. Jesus gave more responsibility to the saved, pointing out that it would be better not to know the truth, than to know it and turn away from it. His anger was reserved for those in church leadership, who had the ability to influence others and lead them astray.

Oh! to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer,
this is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh! to be like Thee, full of compassion,
loving, forgiving, tender and kind;
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand’ring sinner to find.

Oh! to be like Thee, lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.

Oh! to be like Thee, Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive th’ anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing,
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine

Oh! to be like Thee. Oh! to be like Thee,
blessed Redeemer, pure as thou art.
Come in thy sweetness. Come in thy fullness.
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Thomas O. Chisholm, pub.1897

Friday, January 19, 2007


It appeared too bazaar to be true. I couldn’t believe it when I read it. Then, I googled it and found story after story about it, even though I didn’t find the original story in the New York Times. Unfortunately, as pointed out by my bloggity friend, Jeff, I should have gone to:


Had I done that, I would have discovered that this sensational story (see previous post) was in fact, an urban legend. Truth was, it was so unbelievable I couldn’t wait to tell it again.

Isn’t that just like gossip? You hear something. You may even “check it out” by asking ”have you heard?” or “can you believe?”, all in the guise of making sure the story is true as you heard it. Then, at some point, it becomes your own personal, public service announcement.

You lean in, grim faced, and whisper, “I guess you heard she is filing for divorce.”

Or, how about, “They say he has a drinking problem.”

Who are “they”? Why are “they” always anonymous? It’s like there is a “gossip protection program”, similar to the witness protection program. Spread enough juicy gossip, and your identity will be protected. You will go by the code name, “they”. I have tried asking who “they” are and usually get the response, “Well, I don’t want to say.”

Just as I didn’t go to the New York Times archives to check the story out, we seldom go to the person being gossiped about to see if there is truth in what we are hearing. I will admit that in many cases, it would be awkward to do that. Can you imagine approaching the raging alcoholic? “So, I hear CPS got called out to your home last week?!”

I actually did something similar once and it blew up in my face. A friend from church said, with all authority, “Suzy is pregnant! I am so happy for her!” Minutes later, I ran into Suzy and shouted, “Congratulations! When is your baby due?” She exploded. “I am sick of people asking me if I’m pregnant just because I’ve gained 15 pounds!” I was mortified.

Even though I try not to gossip, I find it difficult to rebuke others who do. Perhaps you’ve been in similar situations. The talk is innocent, when all of a sudden, without warning, the other person blurts out some juicy gossip. I will usually feign disinterest, then change the subject, and silently vow to let the story die with me. My hesitancy to chastise others who gossip stems from the knowledge that I struggle with this sin as well. My mother would say that is like “the pot calling the kettle black”.

What does God have to say about our urge to gossip? “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels: they go down to a man’s inmost parts (Proverbs 26:22). Trustworthy people do not do it (Proverbs 11:33). They keep secrets; whereas a gossip betrays confidences, separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28), and keeps quarrels going that would otherwise die down (Proverbs 26:20). Finally, we are warned to avoid gossips (Proverbs 20:19). Proverbs 6:16-19 lists the seven things that are detestable to the Lord. Sins of the tongue, including gossip, are in the mix. That ought to make me think twice the next time I’m tempted to gossip.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Worker Dead at Desk for Five Days

This unbelievable story appeared in the New York Times recently.

"Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for five days before anyone asked if he was feeling okay.

George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proofreader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers.

He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend.

His boss Elliot Wachiaski said: 'George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself.'

A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proof reading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died.

You may want to give your co-workers a nudge occasionally.

The moral of the story: Don’t work too hard. Nobody notices anyway."

Now that is just sad, and I am filled with questions. I try to picture this man hunched over a manuscript day after day. He has a massive heart attack and dies but somehow, doesn’t fall out of his chair. Did he not at least fall forward onto the desk of his cubicle at the time of the coronary? I googled rigor mortis to see how quickly it sets in and here is what I learned:

Once the heart stops beating, blood collects in the most dependent parts of the body (livor mortis). Livor mortis is usually pronounced eight to twelve hours after death. Also at the moment of death, the muscles relax completely—a condition called "primary flaccidity." The muscles then stiffen into a condition known as rigor mortis, which begins within two to six hours of death, starting with the eyelids, neck, and jaw. The body then begins to cool (algor mortis).

So, I’m thinking that he was, at least, hunched forward onto his desk. I’m curious about his boss. If you have a worker that is so dedicated that he comes before anyone, leaves after everyone, and never strays from his task, doesn’t he merit at least a grateful, “Hello, George” or “Good Morning, George” from his boss every day? Does his boss not touch base with the 24 workers in the open-plan office every day? How hard is that?

And finally, what does that office typically smell like, that no one would notice the unusual odor of a body decomposing?

George was a lonely man. He lived alone; he died alone. Was it by choice? We’ll never know. Are there others out there like him? You bet there are, and while it is sometimes difficult to identify the lonely, especially when they are surrounded by friends, I have a responsibility as a follower of Jesus to reach out to the George’s in my life.

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother.

There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.

‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked, ‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’

This too is meaningless – a miserable business!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Ecclesiastes 4:8-10

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eating Crickets

I saw an episode of Ellen the other day; Salma Hayak was sharing what she called a traditional Mexican delicacy – fried crickets! I stood in front of the television in horror as she took a tortilla, spread sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on it, then covered the tortilla with fried crickets, rolled it up, and took a huge chunk out of it. After much cajoling, she even got Ellen to try it. It was the most revolting thing I ever saw!

My daughter, Sweet Pea, spent six weeks in Uganda, Africa on a mission trip several years ago. She told stories of huge termite mounds several feet tall. The locals get really excited about those because termites are a delicacy there!

Sweet Pea also went with a group from college to Spain, and attended a buffet one evening. It wasn’t until AFTER dinner was over that she learned she had eaten dog. She is still not over that.

We went out to eat with some friends to a fancy restaurant. They ordered the French delicacy, escargot…that’s snails to you and me. As they dug around in those little snail shells with their little snail skewers, I could not help but stare. Snails look just as slimy cooked and on a plate as they do inching around my flower bed!

I ate squirrel once in Arkansas. Tasted like chicken.

I ate turtle soup once in New Orleans. It actually tasted like vegetable beef soup.

I ate armadillo chili once in New Mexico. Tasted like regular chili to me.

So what is that makes some foods appetizing and other foods revolting, without even trying them? I can eat cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, and even the occasional lamb. I would even eat deer, snake, duck or rabbit if one were killed, prepared, and cooked (without my knowledge) and just appeared at my dinner table.

I cannot, however, eat a horse, dog, cat, rodent (except for the above-mentioned squirrel), goat, monkey, or any other zoo animal or household pet. I also draw the line at insects. I did swallow a gnat once while jogging. Didn’t taste like anything, but I tried to cough it up, nevertheless.

I think of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were among the young men of Judah commanded by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to train for three years to enter the king’s service. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel took one look at the food and resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, since ceremonially unclean animals were used that were neither slaughtered nor prepared according to the regulations of the law. Daniel was merely demonstrating the courage of his convictions (Daniel 1:6-16).

For me, it is a culture thing. I was raised to eat certain foods and disdain others. It takes great courage for me to eat an animal I have not eaten before, but some are completely off limits.

What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


One of my bloggity friends posted this a few months ago. She received it from a friend out of the country. I would love to give credit to the author if only I know who originally wrote it. I googled it and got 687 results, none of which credited the original author. It is probably re-circulating in cyberspace BECAUSE IT IS SO TRUE! Enjoy.

Congratulations to all the kids who were born in the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...... WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day.

And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.

After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have PlayStation's, Nintendo, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms.

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

School sports had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility,

and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!"

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Because of Jesus

I forgot to pack my lunch. Scheduled to have a lunch meeting with the junior class officers in thirty minutes, I decided to make a quick trip to Panera, one of my favorite sandwich shops. Ordinarily, I would call ahead and place my order so that it would be waiting for me. However, since it was 11:00 a.m., I thought it safe to just show up. Boy, was I was wrong.

As I approached the shop, I read a sign taped to each door. “We are currently experiencing difficulty with our computer system. Unfortunately, you will be unable to use credit/debit cards today, or take advantage of our wifi system. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

I hesitated for a moment to make sure I had cash and headed to the line. It was a little long, but there appeared to be three cashiers working, so experience told me it would move fairly quickly. Boy, was I wrong.

After investing ten minutes in that line, and becoming increasingly uncomfortable because it did not appear to be moving, it became apparent to me that the problem they were experiencing was not limited to credit cards and wifi. I watched as one customer after another, paid cash for his food, took the pager from the employee, left the checkout line, and ambled toward the pick-up line, only to return minutes later to complain that his order was taking too long.

One gentleman with a thick accent started quite a ruckus. I first noticed him when he returned to the order line, cut in front of the next customer up and said, “I still have not received my order, and people who were in line after me got theirs.” “What did you order sir?” the cashier politely asked. He gave his order to the man again, who, failing to find it on the computer system, ran over to those making sandwiches and called the order out to them.

He ran back to his post at the register and proceeded to take another order as the increasingly agitated man paced from the register to the check-out area. Every few seconds he would yell something in the direction of the employees behind the counter. However, having discovered that the pagers were not working properly either, they were literally running from the register to the check-out area to give the orders to the sandwich makers. Finally, he yelled, “I want to see the manager!”

With his accent, he was a little difficult to understand, so had to repeat himself twice before one of the frantic employees stopped what he was doing and headed to the back to find the manager.

In the meantime, his order was filled and handed to him as he yelled, “It is too late! My lunch break is over! I have to go back to work!” As he headed toward the door he yelled over his shoulder, “I will be back this afternoon, and I expect to see the manager!”

By this time, I had invested 25 minutes in the line and had inched my way toward the front so that there was only one person ahead of me. I couldn’t help but smile as I approached the young man who had just been berated in front of everyone by that angry customer. As our eyes met and he saw my smile, I watched as his face visibly relaxed. He took my order, and as I left, stopped me and said, “Have a nice day” with such feeling, it spoke volumes.

Waiting for my soup, I stood in wonder at these employees, most of them probably making minimum wage, who, in spite of the anguish on their faces, shaking hands, and frantic movements, continued to solve the food problems of one customer after another patiently and politely. I thought of Jesus, his short life on this earth, and the way he died. I thought of the relationship I now have with him, a relationship open to anyone who will believe and accept him as Lord of their life, and I thought of the perspective it brings. Because of Jesus, I can be calm when all around are frantic, knowing that missing the occasional meal is nothing compared to missing out on a life with him. Because of Jesus, I can smile at a frazzled employee, even though I have waited in line for a long time. Because of Jesus, I can try to learn something from experiences such as this, rather than allow them to ruin my day.

Because of Jesus.

"Wherever you are spiritually

whatever you have been through emotionally,

you are already wrapped in the Lord's embrace,

held close by his nail-scarred hands."

Liz Curtis Higgs

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Heart of Lucinda Druell

I stumbled upon this poem on the internet, which recently won first place in the Faithwriter’s Writing Challenge. It tells the sweet story of God’s love and forgiveness. This talented writer, Kenn Allan, serves as webmaster for Christian Writer's Fellowship International (CWFI).

The Heart of Lucinda Druell

by Kenn Allan

The village known as Potters Glen,

Had one abiding jewel,

A beauty rare, yet pure of heart,

Her name Lucinda Druell.

Around her throat, three polished keys,

Of copper, brass, and gold,

Adorned a fragile silver chain

A treasure to behold!

When asked to what those keys belonged,

Her eyes would flash with fun,

She'd lay the charms across her palm,

Then clench them tight, as one.

"The first belongs to Heaven’s gate,

Which waits beyond the skies.

The second keeps my virtue safe,

Should impure thoughts arise.

The third unlocks my virgin heart,

For true love to possess.

And if men asked which key was which,

She’d tease, You’ll have to guess.

My summers passed with soul possessed;

Oh! love can be so cruel!

I dared not whisper my desire,

for sweet Lucinda Druell.

One autumn's eve, a devil flew,

To roost in Potters Glen,

Enchanting women with his charms,

And tempting hearts of men.

His eyes beheld Lucinda's soul,

So innocent within,

And with his smooth beguiling words,

Persuaded her to sin.

No sooner was her fall complete,

Lucinda screeched in pain,

She grabbed the keys around her neck,

And tore them from the chain.

"My copper key has turned to lead,

My key of brass to rust,

My golden key no longer shines!"

She flung them to the dust.

"I nevermore shall play the fool,

Of those who would entice!"

And then she tightly locked her heart,

And sheathed her soul in ice.

For me, that night, Lucinda died;

She vanished with the breeze,

To haunt the shadows of the night,

And lurk among the trees.

Her legend spread both near and far

The Vamp of Potters Wood,

Who craved the lusts of righteous men,

And sullied all she could.

Despite all this, I sought a way,

To save her from her plight,

But whilst I walked by light of day,

Lucinda prowled by night.

With winter came the tawdry tales,

Which like the snowfall spread

Lucinda dwelt on Widows Hill,

Consorting with the dead.

I wrapped myself in cloak and scarf,

To brave the wicked snow,

And pocketed three tiny keys,

Abandoned long ago.

The raging storm around me swirled,

To freeze my noble cause,

The trees above me scratched the sky,

With gnarled and craggy claws.

I soon ascended Widows Hill,

But near its dark plateau,

A specter loomed against the night,

And threw me to the snow!

Her raven hair was wildly tossed,

Her eyes were icy flame,

I smelled her putrid shroud of sin,

And heard her hiss my name.

So you have come, Lucinda said,

Her voice like crackling frost,

Remain with me forevermore,

And dwell among the lost.

From where I sat in frozen fear,

My thoughts in disarray,

Three tiny keys slid from my coat;

Lucinda looked away.

Repentance glistened in her eyes,

And shame eclipsed her pride;

I understood and scooped the keys,

All scattered at my side.

Hear me, O LORD, I prayed aloud,

Above the howling gale,

Bring comfort to Lucinda’s soul,

And let your peace prevail.

Restore her key to Heaven’s gate,

May virtue once more thrive;

And heal the blemish on her soul,

Which keeps her guilt alive.

I struggled on the frozen slope,

To rise upon my feet;

Lucinda cringed and backed away,

In hesitant retreat.

Fear not, my love, I reassured,

Don’t lose yourself to blame;

The LORD forgives your wayward path,

Come back, from whence you came!

I clenched the keys within my fist,

Before she could depart,

And lunged at her retreating form,

And held them to her heart.

A thankful moan escaped her lips,

She gave my fist a squeeze,

As melting ice poured from her chest,

And cleansed those tiny keys.

The copper, brass, and golden charms,

Shone brighter than before,

And in the glow of lessons learned,

I loved Lucinda more.

In early spring, we pledged our love,

Until death do us part,

And to this day I hold the key,

To sweet Lucinda’s heart.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

How Common is Common Sense?

How common is common sense?

Not as common as you might think as I discovered in Target a few days before Christmas. I was perusing a toy aisle, looking for that perfect birthday gift for my grandson who turned one just two days before Christmas.

Trying to decide which one I wanted, I noticed a baby in a nearby shopping basket. He looked to be about nine-months-old and caught my attention as he stretched to reach a toy at eye level.

Thinking that he might fall out of the basket, I looked around for his mom. It was then that I realized that I was alone on the aisle with this baby. Yes, you read me right. I was alone on the aisle with this basket that held a baby in the front and a purse in the back. Incredulous, I looked to my left and right to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Not knowing what to do, I froze. Under no circumstances could I leave this baby.

A woman came around the corner pushing a basket that held what looked to be her grandchild. As she approached, she politely said, “Excuse me,” unable to navigate her basket around me and the basket I was guarding. As I cleared the way for her, I whispered, “I don’t know whose this is.” She looked to her left and right, and, convinced that she misheard me, said, “Excuse me?” “I don’t know whose this is!” She gasped and hesitated, unsure if she should leave this unattended baby either.

A few minutes later, a woman, presumably the baby’s grandmother, came around the corner, and swung the basket around, oblivious to the two women with gaping mouths staring at her. As she headed for another aisle the woman next to me muttered, “Some people are so stupid!” and stormed off.

For some reason, I needed to know that she was not going to do this again on my watch, so I walked from one toy aisle to another until I found not one, but two women with this baby. Yes, not only the grandmother, but the baby’s own mother had left him unattended. Yet, I could not bring myself to say anything to them. I admit that I feared their reaction and rationalized that nothing I said would make any difference; it would just make them mad. I also wanted to avoid a scene, not trusting myself and surely not trusting them. Shamefully, I must admit that I just walked away.

Isn’t that the same thing we do with our loved ones? Many times, I will hear of a couple getting divorced and think, “Well, everyone saw that coming. They have been having problems for years.” Yet, I do not say anything to them. After all, it is none of my business, right? How many times has God put something on my heart and I refused to acknowledge it because it would mean being in an uncomfortable situation?

“Brother, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galations 6:1-2