All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. Galileo Galilei
I’m not one to complain, or am I?
I’m not one to judge, or so I thought.
In my pursuit for perfection, the kind that I thought would give God glory, I must have missed it, because it seems I’m not as perfect as I thought.
This blog and my expressions are not about my being righteous or my having attained extraordinary wisdom.
On the contrary.
It is my pursuit of it—to learn how to be righteous as He is righteous.
While I’ve shared about vanity, communication and the lack thereof, and our unfathomable brain, I’ve come to realize my thoughts have a kind of circuity—as in the cycling of how I observe others, perceive His ways, what is working and what is not.
It’s in these honest confessions and complaints that I discover more grace for me and for others, discover more freedom from my construed or misconstrued intentions, in hopes of ultimately discovering life more abundantly for us all.
Yet, I have to give them voice for the voyage. Once released, they no longer loom so large inside (or in keeping with my nautical descriptive: rock my boat).
For instance, I must confess there are things you might not know about me . . .
Like how I’ve added excitement to my day by conducting my own clinical trial studies.
One occurred when I received through the mail a free packet that promised me a 90-second facelift. Once I smoothed the droplets of priceless serum on half my face, I asked my husband Bill to select the side supposedly lifting.
Either Bill can’t detect a facelift while it’s happening or I don’t have the right kind of face. (Of course, I might not have smoothed it on correctly–that grid-patterned thing they directed me to do was confusing and tedious.)
All I know is that it’s a good thing it didn’t work, or I’d be hiding out until my next free packet arrived for the other half of my face.
Another thing I have to confess is my greatest pet peeve . . .
I get particularly irked when I’m watching the morning news, and after the newscaster shares about a tragic occurrence, she gives a shout-out, “I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!”
Really? That’s it? That’s all you can offer?
I then stretch my middle finger over my index finger and wonder how long it has to stay like that to produce positive change . . . still waiting and it’s starting to hurt.
I’m also a fanatic about thank-you notes and gratitude:
If there is one thing I was taught growing up, it was the importance of writing thank you notes. I didn’t know how to cook or clean house or balance a check book once I left the nest (or set sail), but I could write one dynamic note of appreciation. As a result, I’m big on gratitude, goes with being instructed heavily on the art of writing thank you notes.
And not just the “Thank you for the Panini grill. It’s huge and heavy, yet its shiny surface looks great taking up most of my counter space.”
NO, I was drilled on writing heartfelt thanks, and for that I am all the more heartier. When I ponder over my lovely monogrammed cards, I am hardwired to consider the gift’s value in my life. But most especially, I think about the thoughtfulness of the giver and my appreciation for the sacrifice of time, energy and money given to offer that gift.
One caveat: as I’ve grown older, I’m increasingly aware how crotchety I’ve become when a gift given was not properly acknowledged. Dare I say I get a tad indignant. So I’ve had to learn to let it go. Because just as I wasn’t taught a lot of things growing up that truly were valuable life skills, I have to now wonder who I have made indignant by my lapses. (So that’s why some are so crotchety towards me?)
Speaking of lapses:
Once when Bill and I were trying to get a stain out of his shirt, he asked, “Don’t you know to scrub it with a bristle brush?”
I shook my head. “No, missed that.”
You see, when I first got married decades ago, all I knew to do was fold clothes and straighten stuff until it looked good. So try to imagine me, newly married, realizing I was the only one around to clean our house.
I attempted to wing it in the creative sense where my thinking tended to stray. Thus, I figured that if ammonia was a strong cleaner and bleach was a strong cleaner, if I mixed the two of them, hmmm, I could probably have the cleanest house in the county . . . in only half the time.
I ended up burning my lungs with the fumes. Heloise I am not.
And for years, I wondered why my mom, who had a degree to teach Home Economics, never taught me how to cook one thing or clean anything in a house. Last summer after I read The Help, I understood.With my mom being from The South, not the upper ridge of the sunbelt states where I grew-up, Mom probably hadn’t been taught either. Thank you notes she could tell me about.
So what we don’t know really can hurt us and/or make our paths rocky (and our boats a bit bouncier). Especially when we try to concoct our own version of Mrs. Clean without a degree in chemistry.
And when I ponder, a couple of times I’ve considered
writing Marilyn von Savant. Some might ask, “Who is Marilyn von Savant?” Well, she’s the woman deemed to have the highest I.Q. ever recorded by Parade Magazine, and it’s in their magazine she has a weekly Q & A.
So I would write:
Dear Ms. von Savant: How can I be assured that by my simply stirring ingredients as directed–like flour, baking soda and salt with creamed sugar, butter and eggs–that they will be evenly distributed? Thank you in advance for considering my question.
So has anyone else ever wondered that question? It could get quite philosophical if one truly ponders long enough. And for the one that might know the answer, please respond, and you might just be deemed the person with the second highest I.Q. (It could be a part of my next unofficial clinical trial study.) And, thank you very much, I’ll also send you a personalized note of appreciation.
Sometimes I’ve gotten annoyed visiting with a friend when she mentions how her other friends need her, or that a committee has assigned her for a special project when all I need to know is that we’re regular people with no particular self-importance. Or do I really?
For then I hear my reply, tacking on in subtle script the valuable service in which I’m about to embark.
So what’s a humble servant to do?
Don’t tell, scripture notes. But who’s taking notes?
For me, I think it all boils down to my heart’s motive when I do share.
Certainly we need to do those special projects, and at times, we need to share them. It’s just our intent when telling that could be the problem.
Then again, it could also be the ears hearing them. Another point to ponder for a second or two.
As we talk and think, we might need to listen more, to ourselves. It seems our confessions expose the processes of thought and formed attitudes we stumble upon in our lives with others. And for those who know me, you realize I don’t really get irked by much. That’s not my personality. And that part that does get irked at times is hoping to learn it’s not worth the exertion of energy and especially the price of it all.
Here’s one example where judging fails me:
While driving through a parking lot one day, I waved to a woman I knew who was walking to her car. She looked straight at my car and glared. My immediate response was “Hmpf, so what did I do?” which easily escalated to hurt, then indignation with “How dare she!”
A few days later while I was walking through the same parking lot and dodging laser-beam reflections from car windows, I noted some shadowed forms in a car I passed in front of. I had no clue who sat within. To smile or wave into that unknown land could provoke a stalker, I surmised. To not smile though, I risked a greater danger—an unacknowledged wave meant I dared to appear a snob. Hmmpf!
I’m sad to say, I’ve probably snubbed more than I’ve realized even when there were no reflecting windows. I’m almost blind, you see, so I miss a lot. I’m also usually too preoccupied, meaning parades that have passed before me were never appreciated.
And in my total preoccupation, I’ve even looked straight through people in my search for artichoke hearts and never really seen them. That is until later when the groceries were being put up and their faces flashed before me. Oops.
So in my asking for grace for my misdeeds, I also must offer my own, as in forgiveness for silly stuff that shouldn’t matter but it does.
I can’t judge the woman who doesn’t respond how I expected. I don’t know what might be going on at her house or what was said or not said on the phone call she just took.
And the hardest part of about being judged by those who don’t even know me is that they are unaware of my heart, my motives. Yet, haven’t I, too, judged others by my limited perspective?
One of the greatest lessons I ever learned was when I was in my twenties and grasped that I should pray about things (versus crossing my fingers). At the time I was having great difficulty understanding my mother and father-in-law. I remember shaking my head and praying, “Lord, help me understand them.”
As I prayed, I sensed His answer: it was like a huge book was placed before me. The book opened and the pages fluttered from the beginning to the end.
Oddly, actually more miraculously, once the book closed, I felt like I really did understand them. For all the events that had occurred in their lives and shaped them–good and bad, I understood them better, and, as a result, I could love them better, too.
Why don’t I pause and do that with others? In turn, why don’t they do that for me too?
I’ll end with a simple truth:
Last summer while I was outside walking, I had a butterfly dip in front of my face. My eyes caught its graceful flight. It was as though it was asking me to follow it, to pay attention to its miraculous transformation.
It’s so free, I thought.
And rightly so.
I’d feel free, too, had I been through what it’s been through. In a nutshell, or in this case, cocoon shell–its wormy body was ground into powder and liquid before it could be remade.
Processes, steps, none could be shortchanged for its resulting beauty.
Oh, wait, that’s what I’ve been through.
Yet, this butterfly had to fly directly into my face for me to be reminded of the freedom only Christ creates.
A creation recreated into ultimately life eternal.
What else can I say to that except for us to live in the freedom Christ died for. Sometimes it’s not that we have to discover it so much as we have to develop it.
May your honest confessions lead you to truth, truth that enlightens you to discover, His Truth that frees you.
“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” II Corinthians 3: 4-6