JW10 – From A Mother’s Perspective

This week’s journal post is to re-write a real-life event from someone else’s perspective. I chose a visit to the doctor’s office from my mother’s point of view. 

She sat on the exam table and waited for the doctor, if in fact it could be called a table. It was more like a sinister gray cot with tissue paper spread over it, something that was designed to keep patients in mental terror. I took the chair next to her and we each pulled out our various projects. I smiled to myself, happy that at least one of my daughters had taken after me in my hobby of sewing and embroidery. She embroidered the corners of and apron she had recently made; giving the raw edges a nice finish. I worked on my needlepoint project, a picture of a house, which would one day, be a purse for me. We conversed a little back and forth about our various projects. She queried me over the differences and similarities between needlepoint and embroidery, as she had never done needlepoint herself. After a little wait the doctor entered the room and asked a series of questions regarding why we had come. She replied with her story of the injury, while I listened and took mental notes. He examined the hip joint, taking her ankle and testing the range of the joint as she sat on the table. He pushed her ankle to the left and the right, dictating the rage to the nurse. I winced, imagining the pain it must cause, but she seemed unaffected. After several more questions he requested an x-ray and led her from the room.

 

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JW7 – Washing His Feet

There are two similar stories in the Bible, which have touched me deeply, especially in recent months. The first is found in Luke 7, and the second in John 12. Each of these stories describes women who loved Jesus, coming to him and anointing his feet with oil. The first woman was a prostitute who was sorry for her sins and knew that Jesus had come to forgive them. The second was Mary, a beloved friend of Jesus who knew he was the Messiah. The passion that each of these women demonstrate has always astonished me. Why did they do such a thing? Why would they pour out precious oil on his feet?

 

For some years I never understood those stories, but recently I have met people to whom I am extremely grateful. Each one of them has been so incredibly kind to me that it has brought me to tears. These two people live a very long way from me and I rarely get to see them in person. That makes being with them more special than almost anything else in my life. With one of them in particular, I am ever more reminded of those two stories, and of Jesus’ words about Mary. “Let her alone. . .The poor you have with you always, but you don’t always have me.” (John 12:7 MSG) I gave this person a present and was so eager to spend time with him in a way that I hardly am eager to spend time with anyone. Time with him is so precious because he is kinder to me than anyone I have ever met, and also because I can only see him once out of the year, and for a very short amount of time at that. These two stories have touched me so much because I know what it is that they felt, and because of that I have learned how sweet time with Jesus really is.

JW5 – Overcoming Petty Faults

 

As I consider the prompt for this journal, I cannot help but find a degree of disagreement with it. Somewhat related to this week’s writing topic, a “Brer Rabbit” story which is comprised of a humorous out smarting of a villain, the prompt is to write about a difficult situation I struggled to get out of. If I think in terms of a situation I “got out of” I think about cheekily avoiding an awkward guy who seemed extremely interested in me, or various small things to that degree. Once problems become larger, I don’t usually get out of them. Difficult situations are not often to be avoided; they are instead to be overcome. I have decided therefore to write about a relationship full of painful remarks that I worked through.

 

From the first days that I delved into the dress-up basket full of my older sisters’ dance costumes, I have wanted to go into ballet as a profession. I would spend hours in an ancient stained tutu dancing to the Nutcracker to the point that my family couldn’t stand the CD any longer. Eventually I attended classes with my little sister. Because I am more out-going of the two of us, my parents decided to keep us in the same class for a while. I loved being the oldest in the class, and therefore often the best. I talked a lot, and loved to lead the group, especially if we had a sub-teacher. I knew the choreography the best. But eventually I moved to a class in my age level and even attended classes beyond my age level, just for the sake of advancing my technique.

 

That was when I met someone who was just like the little me. She was tall and she talked up a storm. I don’t know what all of the reasons were for it initially, but I disliked her from the start. She was younger by a few years, but she didn’t act younger. At least to every one of my sisters, we thought she acted like she was the oldest and the best in class. However, I shortly moved out of her class and into the level.

 

Then she moved upward too and suddenly she began competing to reach the top of a class I’d been in for three years. Being several inches taller than me, she was a hard obstacle to just erase from the back of my mind, especially when we were put in the same section of the dance. If that had been the only thing, I probably would have noticed her little, but then there were those myriads of cheap comments. My friend would complement me and she would jump in to claim it herself.

 

I knew that much of the problem was caused by my own immaturities, but how could I just pinpoint the issues in me and not feel as if she was attacking me? In desperation I tried as many approaches as I could think of. I talked to my teacher, but the most she would do was listen to me. I would tell her how this girl was constantly critiquing my dancing, telling me when I was supposed to go on stage, or telling me “that’s enough now” when I acted goofy. But my teacher chose to not say anything.

 

Encouraged by a close friend, I finally did what I should have done from the very start, I prayed. For several weeks I hardly prayed about anything else. But the problem didn’t just vanish. I then decided to talk to my Bible study teacher, who also teaches dance. After drawing her aside I explained the situation to her and asked her advice. She told me that this girl often came across in a way she didn’t mean at all, and that she wasn’t trying to attack me at all. Though I hated the idea, she advised me to talk to her about the issue and tell her that she was coming across badly.

 

I stalled for weeks. I didn’t want to talk to her. What on earth was I going to say? I knew I could so easily just cut into her and let out all the wrath I’d been suppressing for years. So I simply prayed and a few weeks later everything changed. She complimented me out of the blue, and we were suddenly friends. There was so much more to her than the little things she said that made me take offense.

 

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

JW 4 – “Be ye kind, one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another. . .” Ephesians 4:32

“For we know in part, and we prophecy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know, even as also I am known.”

I have been asked to write about my most important life lesson. I cannot help but begin with the fact that all knowledge on this earth is partial. We can know nothing absolutely except for the Word of God. So when I am asked to tell the greatest lesson I have learned in life I must ask myself, what do I truly know? I know only the Word of God. Therefore, all that I really know is of the Bible, and my greatest life lesson is something that is contained in the Bible.

Growing up I remember adults brushing me off. Around age nine I wanted to have in depth conversations with people who were older. They wouldn’t listen though. I remember older friends going off and closing the door for a private conversation about “important things” when I was 12. I was just too young for grown up things. But I can remember thinking, “If they would only talk to me, maybe they would know a fraction of the thoughts in my head and not think of me as so young and stupid.”

The older I have grown, the more I realize that everyone should be treated with honor and respect whether we think they deserve it or not. Those who treat others without respect deserve none, but God calls us not to repay evil for evil. (1 Peter 3:9)  Matthew 7:12 also states, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus is telling us that the greatest lesson He teaches us is to treat each other with kindness.

So many times I find myself at odds with the opinions of others. With some people that I know if I make a statement that they disagree with I meet immediately with their harsh condescension. In conversation they never hesitate to sharply cut me off and beat me over the head with their religious answer refuting my statement. They don’t even stop to realize that nine out of ten times they misunderstood what I said completely.  From all of this I have learned how important it is to be gentle with others. Sometimes we meet people who say things we disagree with, but just as often, we misunderstand what people are saying. “A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” (Proverbs 15: 1 KJV)

From all these experiences and infinitely more that I cannot even remember, I have learned that kindness is the only way. If I were to die today I would hope that people would remember me as gentle, someone who didn’t return evil for evil, someone soft-spoken, and someone who treated others as I would wish to be treated. For the legacy that I will leave, for the children I hope to have, I want to show that Matthew 7:12 is the true and only way to live a righteous and Godly life.

A Candle Lit Life

In this culture of gadgets to use for almost every moment in life we often don’t give a thought to what it would be like without them. Until something breaks, we usually take technology for granted. I grew up with an electric beater that we used to whip cream. When I learned about gears, I curiously messed around with wires and gears to make a hand beater. I even drew a blue print for one that would fit over a jar and beat things. One day the beater died. Then, to my utter delight, we found a hand-run beater inherited from a grandparent. Now I get to wind up the gears every time and see in action, and to feel the way it works.

Electric lighting has been one of those things we usually take for granted. As a child always entranced by old things, I have many a time wanted to live with only candles. During various harsh storms I have actually had the chance to do so. About a year and a half ago, several horrible tornadoes swept the southeast, leaving us out of power for days. I learned that mirrors help a great deal to reflect the light of a candle. Even though the bathroom has no windows, it became the easiest room to light because it has a huge mirror.

If we used candles every day, many parts of our life would change. One detail that I find makes me laugh inside is how much make-up we wear. In dim lighting, so few of the little discrepancies of our faces can really be noticed. I once had the honor of attending a ballet at a prestigious theatre. On the way to the bathroom there is a little parlor with a number of vanities placed here and there. The room is lit with lamps that appear to be oil lit with elegant, Victorian-styled, colored-glass globes. This dims the light in the room. I glanced in the mirror and saw that the lighting hid nearly all those little blemishes I can see on my skin. I realized that once upon a time when people didn’t light up every room with bright light bulbs, one wouldn’t really need to wear concealer over every tiny blemish. The dim light of candles once beautifully hid the tiny blemishes our culture now tries so hard to cover up.

As a die-hard romantic I often chose to live with candles instead of light bulbs. However, I am highly thankful for Thomas Edison’s marvelous invention. Tending candles takes a large amount of time, and one cannot leave them burning unattended. I will always love candles, and use them at every chance I receive, but I will always use electric lights too.

Writing Journal 1

“My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.” Psalm 119: 81-83

These verses strike me the most out Psalm 119. So often I feel completely filled with a longing that cannot be satisfied. I long to be with Jesus, not merely in spirit, but in flesh. C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Sometimes my longing drives me to great lengths. Growing up I went to a Christian summer camp where I vividly experienced the presence of God. After being gone for many years, I found myself pining to go back. All that I could explain to myself was simply that I long for God. I longed to go back so that I could feel his presence. When did go back I wasn’t fully satisfied. I realized then that only in heaven will I fully be satisfied. It gives me great comfort to know that David felt exactly the same.