PAUSE AND PONDER

Two Profound and Unrelated Events

This week two events caused profound pause. I share them with you here.
Always eager to preserve some polite behavior for the younger generation, I simply smiled through the window at the valet parking attendant and gestured to him to open the car door for me.
He fumbled for the handle and as I climbed down, he apologized: “Sorry, I am not used to people looking at me. Most of them are on their phones…”
His tone carried a sad resignation to a common loneliness. People don’t look at each other anymore; and we surely do not interact with spontaneity. We hide behind a device.
Device: interesting word. Seems like that word is close to ‘divide’ and ‘vice’ as in ‘evil tendency;’ and even similar to ‘devil.’ Cause to pause, for sure.
I felt so sorry for the young man and that pity extended to each person huddled over their ‘devices’ in the coffee shop close by. As I waited for my friend and sipped my tea, what do you think happened? I pulled out my phone, of course, and joined the isolated humans holding down the chairs, one at each table, alone.
Next time, I will bring the Good Book and focus on the One who doesn’t even own a phone, and will always be my friend.

Later in the week, I happened to be in the home of a dear family close to me. Dinner was simply a main dish placed on the stove with an open invitation to partake as schedules permitted. One by one family members helped themselves as they scurried off to various appointments. One put the dinner in a thermos, another a paper bowl for the road.
One teenage son scooped the fare into a favorite bowl and sat to enjoy. After the first bite, he sighed: “I love my mom!” How profound those simple four words, really when you think about it.
Little boys come into the world loving their mommies and wanting only to please them. They grow into men and marry women and then live only to please them! We women are so foolish in many ways when we put undue pressure and demands on our “little boys” instead of simply cooking for them. Men are so easy to please. Give them respect and good food, lots of love and quietness, and they will swim through shark infested waters just to bring us a lemonade. That is not an original word picture, I quote it from Dr. Laura; it is, nevertheless, an apt description of how wonderful our lives can be when we keep it simple and peaceful and always have food ready when they are hungry.
Think about it.

I Saw a Soldier Wounded

It’s difficult to see the hurt inflicted by the well-meaning and then stand helpless to remedy. Words without thought born of pressure, urgency and ego can cut so deeply, so quickly into the tender flesh of self-respect.

Men, especially, elbow their way through the crowds clambering for the spotlight, often intimidated by this present society and aggressive women. Their self-respect is a direct product of the little fragments of honor dropped along their life path. These fragments are treasures; some simply dropped by acquaintances over the years to maturity. Others are left as hands full on purpose by thoughtful mothers, sisters and wise wives.

Yet, how fragile man’s sense of self! How fleeting the supposed success when one set of thoughtless words can dash it all to ruin in a moment. I saw this slaughter one evening and awoke the next day with a sorrow for the ruin; and a longing to somehow leave a basket full of encouragement along the path of this stoic man now filling his day, no doubt, with work and purpose in an effort to grasp again that elusive self-respect.

Worse yet, the woman from whose mouth the daggers hurled has probably forgotten the whole episode; while I, a non-participating bystander, am plagued with the memory of the fallen countenance, the retreating and defeated body language and the invisible bleeding of a wounded brother.

Dear Christian, fellow servant, please watch for these mini-wars within the body. Learn from them, and then purpose in your own heart to never hurl daggers of ridicule. And especially do not justify such behavior with, “Oh, I’m just kidding you.” Such jesting is often a cloak of deceit and a work of the flesh. We must protect the fragile gem of respect and humbly submit to one another in love as Jesus would have us to do. Women, especially, be careful to not hurt the gentlemen. Their pain often runs more deeply than ours.

The Date

Steve, my late husband, wrote lots of notes. He wrote notes at work, notes to his family and love notes daily to me. Interesting how he dated each and every type of correspondence. The date, in fact, was the first thing he would ever record on any piece of paper.

Psalms 90 is a powerful read:

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

13 Return, O Lord, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

14 O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

15 Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

16 Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

17 And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Truly, God did teach him to number his days and he most assuredly did apply his heart unto wisdom as consistently for many years he read Proverbs daily.

Oh how that consistency plagues this scattered widow! It seems the only reigning consistency in me these days tends to habits not very spiritual in design, but focused rather on the things of this world. Then, in the midst of the lazy, I remember my God and speedily include him in my day.

FIRST…I want to keep him first, not just remembered. Yet, perhaps I am in good company for even our great Apostle Paul shares his proclivity to failure in Romans 7 as he says, “I find then a law that when I would do good, evil is present with me…” And his ‘therefore’ sums up the simple and profound aha!: “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.”

And then there is this sharp two-edged sentence just to solidify today’s ramble: James 4:17 Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not to him it is sin. Summary: With my mind I know to do good, to serve the law of God but when the flesh is strong, I serve the law of sin and truly the wages of sin is death…Romans 6:23

I do know to do good…to study, to pray, to fast and to hunger after God and to seek his face evermore…Psalms 105:4.

The Date I have this day is with Jesus!

“I Will Never Eat Sugar or Wheat Again”

There really are lots of other things to eat. Besides, at a certain point in life, one has to decide if living to eat or eating to live wins. Our food becomes such a habit. The foods we crave are also the ones we should shun; besides, some of the alternatives are truly more enjoyable. Take Snickers for example…best candy bar ever made in my opinion, but the insulin increase and the hit to the pancreas is damaging.

God gave us one physical temple to inhabit until he calls us home and we are instructed to not defile that temple and to present it as  a living sacrifice. Therefore, is it possible to replace the Snickers with homemade granola and a fruit smoothie? Very doable!

As for the Wheat…that is a hard one. That yummy bread smothered with butter is labeled ‘organic’ ‘non-gmo,’ etc. Surely it will be fine. Afterall, even Jesus broke the ‘bread’ and fed multitudes. In this age, however, other countries refuse our wheat because of the pesticides used in America.  This poison is carried on the wind and seeds intermingle. Since round-up made me a widow, avoiding this grain is a ‘no-grainer.’ *grin*

So, a new day, starting with lovely sunshine, homemade granola and a fruit smoothie marks the turning of a new leaf: a new page of life where food is chosen to glorify and live; old habits put aside, and determination becomes my reasonable service. Bon Appetit.