Healing the Hurt

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Let’s sit and talk for a moment about your pain. I’ll pour a cup of coffee, and you can pour out your heart.

If you are among those who have experienced emotional hurt, harbored old wounds, or are in a painful place now, then this is for you. If you are in the number of people involved with helping a loved one with any such painful issues, then this is also for you. Because deep wounds cause scars and scars don’t go away; because seeing a loved one hurt, hurts too; and because those valid sources of pain are ever present, most if not all, at some point, need help.

Not a counselor, nor trained beyond the brief introduction we get from nursing psychology, I am addressing this subject only from the heart of someone who cares. Neither have I had enough life experience to feel like an expert. However, there is nothing new under the sun,  (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and if we are careful observers of life, we learn as we go. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes went on to say, “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.” (1:15) Why then is it that people keep trying to go back and change the past? The past IS part of who I am, what I’ve become, for better or worse, built up or eroded. Whatever it was, it cannot be changed; but it can be used for  building blocks to a better self, and compassion for others. If I could change anything, it would be to plant that notion firmly in the minds of some who are futilely struggling to remake the past. Looking for comfort from the Spirit of God this morning, I was reading in Colossians, though I can’t recall why at the moment. Do you ever find some matter of your heart shows up in the scripture you go to next? I do, and  what I want to recall here is chapter 3, verses 12-14.”Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But ABOVE ALL THESE THINGS”(emphasis mine), “put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Holding on to the embedded notions of unworthiness, low self-esteem, or holding a grudge is caustic to the healing process. No good thing can grow in that environment. The continued desire to change the past by rehashing it and reopening old wounds will never change it. Rather, it allows it to breed toxins and fester into problems with our present relationships. Oh how I want to erase things from the minds of those in such anguish; until I remember that all we experience is who we are. And I wouldn’t want to change who they are;  just heal the pain. All we can do from here on, is let it go and allow fresh granulation tissue to fill the wounds. The scar will certainly be there, but it should become a healthy, healed body.

As I was  pondering the way people tend to use the past as a propellent for all future feelings, I thought about why some wounds heal and some do not. In nursing, I saw wounds that healed nicely, minimal scarring, and no residual stiffness. Then there were wounds that seemed destined for trouble. They developed infection, complete with all the different  microbes and resulting nastiness possible. From the small gaps where the edges just fought coming together, to the gaping holes of purulent evidence, there was resistance to heal. Those require treatments that can be very painful, and usually have extensive scarring that interferes with surrounding healthy tissue, possibly causing less mobility if not worse. Two main factors make the difference in how the healing goes. Those are first, the condition of the host – the tissue and  the supporting system; and  secondly, how the wound is being treated. Relating this to the psychological wounds is pretty easy. How was the victim developing as a person before the painful encounter? That would be like the condition of the tissue. Was there a support system to help his or her emotional healing? That would be like the immune system. Did they ask for and get help, or meet with refusal to acknowledge the source of injury? That would be the medical community and infection control. (Now don’t go calling the person who inflicted this emotional wound, an infectious microbe!😁) Most importantly, does the host, that is, the person cut by life’s sharp edges, know where to turn. That might be the follow-up, self-care or home health.

When a deep scar has developed in one’s heart, it is so important that they know how to unclench their grasp on that piece of the past; a piece that has been so much a part of who they are.  I believe we can get so wrapped up in some thorn in the flesh that we aren’t sure what kind of person we will be without it. I believe the Word of God has the best salve for the wounds, if we can just help those in pain to see it – really grasp and understand it. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:15. Pointing to that peace as our loved ones struggle may involve a pain of its own. Our pain becomes real as the victims smother out all efforts with a toxic attitude. Attitudes toward life are formed early, and are the hardest thing to overcome if they are not healthy ones. We see them still struggling with self-image but we know they are wonderful people capable of great things. When we see the scabs knocked off before the healing is done, and we see the stoic set of their jaw, we cry their tears for them. And then there’s the ‘wound care’. Though it may seem calloused, we have to debride the unhealthy tissue, and that may be painful as they recognize the actual source of infection is their own refusal to let go. It will also be painful to experience again the original injury as they bring it to the surface, where it can be purged from its viable strength.  Once they are forced to own the pain and give it away to God, then they must be encouraged to leave it there. Leave. It. There. Don’t allow them to continue to bring back up what they have longed to put down. Similar to someone with a weight problem staying away from the cookie jar, these dear souls with bad memories must stop going back there to a bad place.  Encourage them to search the word of the only One Who truly knows what they’ve endured and having created us, knows best what works for us. What Paul the Apostle said of his goal to serve Christ, is good for us as we work toward our goals – “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize…” (Philippians 3:13b-14a). Paul had caused trauma and suffering for others, as well as suffered many severe hardships himself. He was fully aware of how much we might need to forget.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 That is our house favorite.

So as I wait for all the pain in the world to be healed, and all creation whole once again, I will do what I can for whom I can.  It may be only a smile here, a pat on the back there; a hug for those accepting it, a willing ear and a word of encouragement. Let it go, like the movie Frozen taught us. Move on toward  taking what you are (…”that whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content” Phil. 4:11) and  allowing God to transform and renew you into the best you that you have ever been. And as I watch I will keep my favorite prayers alive for you. Those are found in Isaiah 40:31 (teach me Lord to wait) and Micah 6:8, that you will know all that’s required of you is to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.” You don’t have to move the mountain; you may only need to hold God’s hand as he leads you through the pass.

Now, cream or sugar with that cup of coffee? as we put a bandaid on your booboo.

Cookie Jars and Stickers

Good morning! It is a very cold sunny morning in Southwestern Kentucky. With just the puppy and me home today, I found myself starting something kin to spring cleaning in the kitchen. Not that I am ready for that, but the remaining fragments of the holidays were starting to bother me so taking time off from tax preparation, I grabbed a cookie jar. As I dumped out the three or four stale cookies, I realized with some sadness that there were no stickers inside. Does your family have little trivial traditions; fun stuff that you only know of within your inner circle?

The blue toboggan clad one is the older of my two snowman cookie jars and each time I’ve ever washed it, the inside of the top was plastered with stickers from Chiquita bananas,  Dole fresh fruit,  and apple varieties. It has been my son’s sneaky (truly never caught him in the act!) endeavor to place stickers from food not only inside and under the cookie jars, but on the back of can openers, the radio, toaster, and anything else he thought I’d be a while finding. He started that when he was a kid; he is now 39 years young and I still occasionally find a new sticker. And I smile. But this year, he wasn’t around enough during the holidays to think of it I suppose, and he has been busy pursuing a master’s degree. So, I felt a small trickle of melancholy squeeze into my heart as I finished washing the jar.

      No less my son, but a dab less fun as we take on layers of life; the sun still shines, but

     we’re wearing the blinds of toting our struggles and strife.

Moving on to the second jar, a more modern take with lime green in his scarf, I took off his head and presto! I was back in the happy lane of memory. I knew the man hadn’t forgotten the little acts of teasing his mama and had found his mischievous side still up to the antics of youth. Just little acts of acknowledging I am here, and wanting to make me smile.

How does our heavenly Father feel when I no longer show the enthusiasm that I did when first becoming a new Christian? This is the question I found in my heart as I finished up the jars. Not that He wants us to remain young disciples in our level of maturity, certainly; just as we parents would never want our children to fail to grow, mature, and put away childish things (I Corinthians 13:11). But I felt a pang of sympathy for God the Father when He sees the vacancy in our eyes that were once aglow with spreading the gospel.  Then I quickly felt aligned with the satisfaction He has when we return to his plans for us. Finding the little sticker symbols of love, I could meekly identify with His pleasure as He sees us back in the excitement of where we started. I want to keep putting happy stickers on the work He has planned for me. I bet when I open my spiritual cookie jar, I find it full and running over with all kinds of goodness for me, too.

Little acts of love and kindness are never forgotten. In fact, according to God’s word through the apostle Paul’s pen, love is greater than speaking in tongues, sounding brass and cymbals. Love is better than prophesying, and all knowledge and faith. (I Corinthians 13:1-2)  Followed by my daughter’s favorite passage of scripture,  verses 4-7, love is explained to be patient, kind, without envy or pride; well-behaved, seeking good for others, not easily angered nor of evil thoughts; rejoicing in truth and not in sin;  bears, believes, hopes and endures all things.

Go out and leave a little sticky note of kindness to make someone know they are loved today.

 

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About “Sharing From My Heart”

Living in a technology controlled world is difficult if not disturbing for a person whose brain didn’t come with a computer chip. I have written tonight in my laptop Pages, and decided to share it via my blog. The only way I could find to do that is what you see in the previous post and you have to click on the ‘give-in-or-give-up’. Sorry for the confusion if it causes any. Have a great rest of the week. Trisha

Good Day, Bad Day – All in One’s Perspective

I’ve heard trouble comes in threes. I had one such day on Monday, the second day of the new year. I however, do not say it was a bad day. No day is bad since it is one more window of time the Lord has provided with much potential, and always full of blessings. Even if we can’t see them through the mud on our panes, they are there.  I was blessed with the laughter and chatter of two little girls in my house that day. My great-niece and our neighbor’s little girl had a play day and they never missed a moment, filling the house with activities for the dolls and imaginary pets. I stayed out of their way and got a kick out of listening to the scenarios they created. Oh yes, I was about to tell of my trio of troubles that day.

First, as I finished ironing a shirt, (and it just had to be one of those long ‘boyfriend style’ shirts, light blue and white) I missed the hanger and dropped the shirt into the wax warmer plug-in that WAS beneath the ironing board. The scented wax was red. The red wax was scattered along one sleeve and shoulder as well as the hem. Luckily it dries quickly and seemed like it would peel off, but no, I soon saw that the color and waxy feel were not giving up. I decided to put the shirt into the freezer and hoped that would cause the wax to chip away cleanly, and the warmer found another receptacle in which to reside. I finished my ironing and made lunch for the girls and myself. A while after lunch they wanted popsicles and I sent them to the freezer to make their selection. The shirt! They hadn’t found that to be an obstacle, or even something to report to me. You’d think finding a shirt folded up in the freezer drawer would seem odd to 7 and 8 year olds, wouldn’t you? When I remembered it, I hurried in there to find the shirt wadded up and moved aside, but no worse off. The wax hadn’t let go, either. Spot remover and rewashing took care of the situation just fine; so the blessing is that I’ve moved a potential problem that could have involved a not so easily laundered item.

Later on the girls wanted to watch a movie. Upon return with the DVD from another room I was met by a kitchen floor full of milk splattered over an area of about five by ten feet and a little blond-haired girl down on her hands and knees trying to wipe it up  with a single paper towel. I couldn’t think of where to start so I heard myself exclaiming, “I just don’t understand – lunch at the dining room table was over – where did this come from – I thought you were waiting for the movie – Izzy please just go back and get a bunch of paper towels for me.” She brought both, yes, both the remaining two towels on the roll. I decided to get their movie going before tackling the clean up, just to find the stupid DVD/TV/Remote team weren’t playing nicely together and it was getting rather warm about that time. Finally the movie Frozen was playing and I thanked Izzy for trying to help clean up, reminded her of the “only covered cups for the living room” rule, and fetched my mop and bucket. My blessing? Izzy had dropped the cup on her way into the living room, not on the sofa one foot away, not on the rug beneath the table where she started, and hallelujah! not on the king sized quilt tent covering the breakfast table two inches from the edge of the spilled milk. Floors, chairs, and walls can be wiped down and little girls can be happy again. As I finished the second mopping, the thought popped into my head that troubles come in threes.

Now, the incident that got my blog brain going happened when I took the girls home. Neighbor delivered to her parents, and niece delivered to her home, I was contemplating going home for a nap versus stopping to visit my dad. The idea of getting home prevailed as I was leaving the final drop off point. Then my phone rang and my dad said, “What happened to you?” I asked, “what do you mean?” He replied, “well, you just took off  without saying anything, is something wrong?” “Daddy, I’m just leaving Jessi’s driveway; I haven’t been by your house”. Pause. “Trisha, we just saw your car out here in our driveway, and it looked like you were on your phone so we waved at you and waited, but then you just backed out of the driveway and slowly drove on down the street.” He was so sure of what he’d seen that I almost questioned my sanity (after all it had been a full night and day with my guests) but I assured him that no, I had not been anywhere near his driveway. I told him I had thought about coming by to visit, but was not dressed to be seen, hair uncombed, and felt like going home for a nap. To which he uncharacteristically said, “we don’t care what you look like – we’d just like a visit”. By then I was nearing their neighborhood and felt like my car was going to turn in his direction even if I didn’t, as if a force was exerted by the puzzling experience and I  looked forward to hearing details of what they saw that made him think it was me. We visited for about an hour, more or less, and they both explained in detail how she had looked out one window, told him I was in the driveway, he looked out a door, waved and stepped back inside to find in a few moments that the car was leaving, and the two of them said I had to be called right then to see if something was wrong at home perhaps. All of that at the very moment I would have been traveling toward the state highway on my way home. Later, as I actually was driving home after my visit, I encountered a clean up crew about half way home where there had been a fairly serious accident. My blessing? I don’t think I have to explain that one for you. I have a chill just retelling it. Now, arriving home, engine turned off, I heard the third trouble for the day. My right rear tire was spewing loudly and I found a piece of metal in it. Obviously I picked it up on my way home, probably where the accident had occurred.  The leak was slow enough that I had time to drive it over to my husband’s shop where he could take the tire off under shelter and, long story short, it was a $12.50 repair the next day. A piece from a windshield wiper is what the repairman said it was.

Now, some would say that if I hadn’t stopped at Dad’s, I wouldn’t have damaged the tire; and that things don’t happen for any reason. Others might say the timing was too close and if I hadn’t stopped I could have been involved in the accident myself. We never did figure out who has a vehicle so much like mine that my own dad thought it was me. Some say we entertain angels unaware. No matter which camp you’re in, I say I am one very blessed woman; a daughter of the King, and of a very good daddy too.

“I walk with the King, through pastures so green; by quiet waters still to do His good will. He lighteth the way, from darkness to day, I’ll hold to His hand, I walk with the King.” (words and music by Alton H. Howard) I’ve always loved that song.

The whole thing really stirred my heart with that “providence of God” thing we wrestle from time to time. Whatever we do in word or deed, we are to do all in the name of the Lord. So I don’t want to sound ungrateful by denying His hand in how things turned out. Neither do I want to say everything is guided by or happens for a purpose. Too many things happen that we just cannot find a good reason for and I think partly, stuff just happens. Minor things like flat tires and major things like loss of life; no apparent reason. But, the more I think about God, the more He engages my life, and the more I am influenced by His will. Those little voices in our heads that make our decisions are guided by something, the influences in our lives,  kind of like ‘out of the heart flow the issues of life’.  So deciding to spend time at Dad’s really was something I had been considering because of several influences. One, various proverbs from the bible caution us to respect the elderly, appreciate time spent on others, and so forth. Then there’s the blessing from God of still having a parent around to visit and still learn life stuff from him. Thirdly, because I love that Jesus said the kingdom of Heaven is ‘of such ‘ as little children, I love spending time with them and learning more of those traits. So in those three ways God did orchestrate my day. I guess what I can take away from all that is to train those voices that you hear to be good ones, and then listen to them. It could save the day – or not. Think what you will, I’ll always believe an angel or the Lord Himself was guiding me that afternoon. A good day, or a bad day? Definitely it was a good day!

Flat Sodas

The fizzle is out of my soda pop, or to us Southerners, my coke. Come to think of it, the snap is out of my crackle in a lot of ways. Four days after Christmas now, dust has diminished the shine of decorations and scraps of paper remain of the pretty presents under the tree. The cookie box is about empty, the half eaten cake is in the refrigerator, and the empty stockings lie deflated.

Having taken the first nap today that I’d allowed myself since too long before the holidays, I awakened very thirsty. I had come into the house earlier with that super sleepy feeling I get from riding in a sun-filled car, and went straight to Mama’s old chaise in my sunroom, moved Mr.Gray Cat’s blanket and stretched out in the bath of sunlight all over my back. About an hour and a half later I awoke suddenly, remembering something I had promised I would do right after lunch; and it is now 2:45 pm. Shaking the sleep from my head and the adrenalin from my heart, I poured a glass of Diet Coke  over crushed ice, looking forward to that sparkle and sizzle to get me going. I thought I might sit for a moment and plan my strategy for de-decorating over the next few days; then proceed with today’s assignments.  My heart sank as the flat brown liquid just sat there, no fizzle nor foam at all; just that yucky sweet taste and I’m reminded of so many things – like my memory – that seem to have gone flat lately, or at least lost their luster.

Having the blessing of good friends to share the season with is so important to me. One such occasion was my college roommate stopping for an overnight visit yesterday.  I told her she got the leftovers from all the Christmas goodies, but unfortunately it was more than just the food. Five days of grand dog plus our own puppy, and simply enjoying time spent with family had left the floors strewn, furniture dusty, and the dessert table a crumbly hodgepodge. My energy level  as well, was waning. So I decided to take the advice of sage writers and just relax and enjoy the time together instead of being exhausted from cleaning and preparing like we do at the beginning of the season. And, I did enjoy our visit so much! Hopefully she did too, enough to forgive my smelly little puppy and dusty furniture. Judging by the way it was accepted, I’d say the Christmas cake was still good.

This all reminds me of the way we often enjoy our season of being in the beauty of God’s love but in so doing we let the tinsel tarnish and the glow grow dim. In the midst of our blessings we can take so much for granted. Busy-ness, baking, purchasing and wrapping almost wipe out our ability to enjoy the Christmas season. Likewise, business, family and friend activities, recreation – just enjoyment of life in general – can, and often does, take our focus away from the excitement we felt when first giving our life to Christ. Here we are basking in His presence, but forgetting the missions He has given us. I speak for myself betting there are others like me. It was good to just sit back and enjoy family activities, preparing food, exchanging gifts, watching movies and best of all laughing and talking while we end another year of blessings. Meanwhile, a layer of living crawls over all that pretty preparation of decorating and baking, and lack of upkeep is obvious. In my personal life, I want to be more diligent this coming new year to keep my Christianity shining. I want to keep that ‘new Christian’ feeling alive. “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”(Galatians 6:9). Again, to the Thessalonians Paul wrote “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good” (II Thess.3:13).  God’s Word never grows old nor out of season. I want to hear the fizz and see the sparkle every time I open HIs Word; I want to be refreshed by it, preventing me from having a flat outlook on life. I want to taste the sweet perfection of His love and never have a yucky taste in my mouth from the world that the devil drives.

Two days later:

I’ve turned the Christmas tree lights back on today to drive away the gloominess, yesterday’s sunshine hidden by today’s rain. I love the sparkle and excitement of the holidays and tend to hold on to it as long as possible. Eventually the task of keeping it all refreshed gets old, and alas, it will come down and make room for tax preparation, garden planning, and perhaps a puzzle assembly. But in our non-holiday world, the richness of His grace is all I need to drive out the gloom and doom that threaten our joy. With Christ in your heart, you will overcome the tarnish and dullness that Satan wants to wrap around your blessings. Happy New Year friends. As you pour your cup of cheer, whether Diet Coke, wassail, or egg nog, may you recognize your blessings and shine all year!

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

LATE SUMMER’S DAY

I’ve looked through my posts and do not see if I ever posted this poem. I feel like I did, but I can’t find it. I wrote it one September, possibly late August, and today reminded me of it. Probably five or so years ago, sitting on my front porch watching  my friend/like a sister/former patient ‘in waiting”s little boy play, I was in awe of this time of year.

The birds’ cheerful singing with the wind chimes a ringing

Give voice to the breeze as it blows.

Warm air that feels cool, sky as blue as a pool,

Make the day as good as I’ve known.

Little boy Ryan with popsicle lips and butterflies sipping at zinnia tips:

Two special sights to behold.

The greens are much darker and serve as a marker,

With the gathering streaks of gold,

Of the promise that Autumn hovers; and a peacefulness covers

The summer’s long dry breath of air.

Cicadas chip through the still afternoon

And echo my thanks to be there.

P.Ward

Daily Prompt: Argument

via Daily Prompt: Argument

Summer and Autumn are two fine girls who argue each year about the world. Summer has taken her time to leave and impulsive Autumn has pushed up her sleeves. Summer with a blush and brown arms crossed, says without me all the gardens are lost. Autumn just laughs with a breezy smirk, and says then I’ll let them rest after you made them work! And besides all that when my colors they see, they’ll feel the cool air and their favorite is me! But Summer not to be easily outdone, said just look at my beaches, and my back porch fun. Why, everyone lives to see summer arrive, to play and vacation and take long country drives. That made Autumn shiver a bit to think that her rival might outdo her wit. But as days grow shorter and Summer gets old, her temperament changes, she’s much less bold. Then Autumn pulls out her canvas of colors, her song of birds and Thanksgiving wonders. And for a time she has won the fight, until Summer awakens on a warm Spring night!

 

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

I like Fridays, really I do. I like that industrious feeling I get knowing the weekend is coming up and I want to get things kind of spiffied up, the trash is out, new hair cut, stuff like that. As I was going about my calm afternoon’s business today, I had a sudden change in plans. Just too much to let it slide without a recap,  I thought why not find a spiritual application to all this and share my ridiculous afternoon. After all, I DID keep my cool. Also, I hear it is good to laugh at oneself. That’s good, because I seem to do a lot of that lately.

Some of you may recall that a year, maybe two, ago I posted a picture of a pitiful little red sauce pan, blackened from being forgotten on a lit stove eye. Med high heat is good for boiling water until the pan boils dry. But on to the events of today.

For some reason, I went into the garage. I still have no idea what I was about to do. I noticed some small round black droppings under the cayenne pepper plant I pulled up yesterday and my husband had hung upside down to dry. These droppings were on top of a small cabinet with a plastic crate atop it, and in front of that a partial 12-pack of canned Cokes that had been there for about two years. Well, I couldn’t have worm stuff around all that! So intending to move said items and quickly sweep up, maybe put newspapers down until whatever is in the pepper plant is finished doing what damage it plans to do, I picked up the carton of Cokes. Do you know what two-year old cardboard that has suffered temperature changes will do with five heavy Coke cans inside? Yes, I do too. CLEAN UP ON AISLE 13, PLEASE!!!

Once I wiped the cola from my eyes, there I was standing in liquid sugar pooling more quickly than I could think of what to do. I have to mention also that I was wearing an air cast due to tendonitis in one heal, and on the other foot was the only shoe I have that balances out the height of the boot so that I don’t walk crooked. Covered in Coke. Concerned that the cola was running under the upright freezer, I grabbed a mop bucket, wash cloth, Formula 409, and the mop and began the cleaning. The more I cleaned, the more cola I found on something else. I promise you every surface in that quarter of the garage had Coca-Cola sprayed over it. I didn’t see the splatter on the door into the house and the steps until I’d started wiping down the wall above and beside the chest freezer, which along with the upright, looks really good now with their newly cleaned surfaces. I moved the welcome mat out to be rain washed as I saw a bank of black clouds rolling in. That’s about the time I began to think of God – the breeze with those clouds was a God send.  (Why didn’t I give those Cokes away long ago? We never drink them! I just kept forgetting.)

As you can imagine, one job just led to another. Before I knew it, I had the little two-drawer cabinet taken apart, emptied, and rinsed with the water hose; also the pair of shutters I keep thinking I’ll make a neat project out of someday.  About the time I thought I had the job done, I noticed Coke spatters all over the front of our Kubota mule. Now that’s  not something I want to leave out in the rain because a good part of my gardening supplies are in it. So, wipe, rinse, wipe again. I’m thinking about that time, I REALLY needed to think of some scriptures. Patience, peace, joy, what are those fruits of the Spirit again? My mind wasn’t working with me. But what I did find the Spirit telling me was,  “you have a garage, and it isn’t flooded; you have running water, and one heal that isn’t throbbing; and, you didn’t lose your cool (that’s right sister, I did not go from zero to 60 in a second) so right now, all you need to do is be thankful in everything” (Philippians 4:6).

I decided the quick wipe I gave the side of the car probably left some sticky residue, so I went inside to get the car key intending to back the car out for a rain rinse, though it still wasn’t raining. What met me inside the door was that unmistakable odor of hot metal. Remember the little tea pan? Oh, I had done it again! Before going out into the garage for that still unknown purpose, I had put a pan of water on to boil for tea. As I now ran across the living room, I was thinking, “great! now I’ll track this sticky stuff onto my newly mopped kitchen floor…” Also I was thinking, I didn’t know I COULD run with this boot on. Stove eye turned off, I returned to the garage, backed the car out, and put things back together thinking what an improvement! At least a fourth of the garage looked good! The rest was swept out and straightened up. As I looked around feeling I’d accomplished something after all, I saw a stream of brown liquid running out from under the trash can where I had thrown the cans and carton as my first step in cleaning up the mess. Like they say, you can’t make this stuff up! As I replaced the bag with a clean one, I thought, “I need a couple Tylenol, maybe a Tums, and certainly a shower. I’m finished.”

Shower done, I sat down to look up the fruits of the Spirit, which by the way, came to me easily once I was unwound;  but what I did find was a reason to be glad for the unexpected work I had done. A study bible that belonged to my mother has “Consider This” articles among scriptures. This one in particular states “According to this (myth that work is a part of the curse), God punished Adam and Eve for their sin by laying the burden of work on them: ‘In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground’ (Gen. 3:19). That’s why work is so often drudgery…” In fact, the article points out, “The Bible never calls work a curse, but rather a gift from God (Eccl. 3:13; 5:18-19). God gave Adam and Eve work to do long before they ever sinned (Gen. 2:15), and He commends and commands work long after the fall.”  While I may have made more work for myself today than was necessary, it felt good to have a clean garage. In it all I was given opportunity to be thankful for my blessings and to pray for those in flooded areas. I was reminded to think about scripture. I have a load of laundry done ahead of Saturday and Monday’s wash in order to get that pair of shoes washed. Who knows, and I never will, what I may have been about to do that would have been worse in consequences – okay, that may be going a bit too far, but who knows. As you start a new work week Monday morning, be thankful for the gift of work, provisions, and abilities. I will also be thankful for lessons learned. Never pick up an old carton until you test the bottom. I should also add my gratitude for a husband who is willing to come in after working hard and eat a plate of left-overs. I had a Klondike Bar. Feeling much better!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

Fair to Middlin’

Everyone enjoys a little confidence booster every now and then, right? Okay, we would accept a daily dose of it provided it was offered! Today I got one of those little boosts. I received a phone call from a very sweet, and I don’t think she will mind that I say elderly, lady from our community. Not only do I admire her for her stamina through illnesses, losses and aging, but just in general as a real lady. Gail Dunn is the wife of our retired elementary school principal, the mother of three beautiful children and has many grandchildren. With all that and a large extended family, I wouldn’t expect her to take the time to phone me just to tell me how much she enjoys reading my posts. But she did. And that meant the world to me. As I said in the intro to my blog, I just enjoy writing  about life, giving glory and honor to God; and if others get any pleasure from it, then that is like icing on the cake. Gail has told me that she would like to see me write more. I needed that encouragement. Sometimes I think about writing a book of encouragement, and then I get distracted, even discouraged. But then a sweetheart like her reminds me that God may have given me a purpose  with writing.

I asked Gail about her health and that of her husband. To this she modestly replied, “Oh, fair to middlin’ at least for going on 80 years old”. I laughed because I’ve heard that phrase most of my life and I understand it to mean, “I can’t be an honest person and tell you I am doing well, and I’m too polite to go on about health problems”, and it carries the implication that right now I’m about as good as it gets. I actually heard myself use that very phrase last week. Yikes! I’m very possible becoming that parental (to quote my daughter) generation, with all its ups and downs. More ups than downs when you know someone like Gail.

Mr. and Mrs. Dunn have been pillars of the community for longer than I’ve been a part of it. Quiet, unassuming, but strong in character and always smiling and showing interest in others. Just like asking today about the welfare of our children, they have shown that kind of interest in the hundreds of young people who passed through the doors of his elementary school and the churches they’ve attended. They have opened their home with generous hospitality to many a crowd. They’ve given much-needed advice  to young parents, and have been great role models for all those kids as well.

I recall that they used to grow blueberries when they lived “out in the country”, and they often opened their blueberry season to friends. Being a blueberry lover myself, that one stuck in my mind. An impressive encounter with Gail’s husband Ray, was when I applied for a bus driving position for the district where he was principal. Knowing I had not been the most punctual parent throughout my son’s kindergarten and first grade years, he looked across his desk, over the top of his reader glasses, and said, “You WILL NOT bring a bus in late, right?” I left with the position, although on shaky legs. One doesn’t fail to live up to an expectation stated just that way. I wasn’t ever late unless it was due to weather or bus break down. Another very appreciated occasion in his presence was when my son had leg surgery between Kindergarten and first grade, and so started to school with a cast and crutches. Mr Dunn asked me into his office, and explained how children never want to be different. They want to be just like everyone else for the most part; and that the cast and crutches made my little boy feel different, so if he acted different from before, well, he was different. He gave to me a set of tapes made by Zig Ziggler that had amazing parenting  and kid advice. He didn’t have to do that. But that’s the kind of caring, concerned people the Dunn’s are.

I don’t know all about their lives, but I do know that Gail lost a sister tragically to an automobile accident; that Gail has assisted many years with their aging parents; dealt with their son’s juvenile diabetes;  and did all those behind the scenes responsibilities that make a successful husband’s life easier. Gail has the most peaceful smile and voice you could ever hope to know. Gail and Ray have had their own share of health problems. And, I don’t even know the half of it!!  Like I said, we knew them through our children’s elementary school years, and my mother taught third grade under Mr. Dunn’s leadership. We attended church with them at two different congregations over the years. Never did I hear anyone say anything negative about this lovely couple. Their children adore them, and their community admires them. Fair -to-middlin? I don’t think so Gail. I think you are great-and- gettin’ better!!  The first two verses of Proverbs chapter three portray Gail and Ray’s life so well. “My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.”

I love the next four verses, Proverbs 3: 3-6,  in which we are told to keep God’s truth, even bound around our neck, written on our hearts, finding favor and high esteem in the sight of God and mankind. ( Just as the Dunn’s have.) Trusting in the Lord, leaning not on our own understanding, in all our ways acknowledging Him, and He will direct our paths. Gail’s phone call reminded me that if she could take the time for such an encouraging call, I can devote more time to writing and encouraging. Several other verses of scripture refer to “writing on the heart”. Gail wrote on my heart today. I hope that out of my heart will come encouragement for others.

We never know what good things God will do with what we give. That little incidental kind thought you have for someone today could be the rope they need tomorrow. So, go ahead and speak that kind thought to them. Life already has too much bashing and belittling. Let us counteract that with encouragement, words of kindness and acts of generosity.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver”. Proverbs 25:11