Slow down … you move to fast …

15 Mar

Well, yesterday I wrote about distractions and today was designed to be the biggest yet.  Since Ash Wednesday we have been on break, and today was our first day back to classes.  So the real test to my commitment was going to be if I found the time, in a normal and insane day, to have this special “devotion” time with God, and whether this was a real commitment.  I don’t know about you, but I frequently commit myself to new habits and new routines … all sorts of things that make me a better or healthier person .. that never seem to make it past week two.  Honestly, there is really probably only one thing that has remained consistent for a couple of year – besides brushing my teeth.  So, I was in my own mind wondering whether I would be able to follow through on a rough day.  Well here I am!  I am optimistic about the future of my devotion and actually rejoiced at my commitment.  (FYI, it’s OK to say “Yeah you.” to yourself sometimes.)  The added bonus is how much it cheers me up to think about having the OPPORTUNITY to do my reading and writing.  I suppose this is how it tends to go when you are walking in the path you are called to.  I just wanted to share a little “behind the scenes” on the project itself.

Today I was reading from Leviticus 19 and I was tottering along and realized that this was all the laws … ten commandment kind of stuff.  I know.  You don’t have to be a genius to realize that when you are reading from Leviticus (the legal book of the Bible) that you are going to be reading laws, but as I went along I would be matching each bit to the commandment it corresponded with.  Doing a pretty swell job to boot, and then suddenly I stumbled on Leviticus 19:14:  You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind.  I am the Lord.    First, I was really kind of stumped as to which commandment this might correspond to, and then my next thought was, “What kind of jerk does this?”  Now, I am smart enough 1)to know if it’s in the Bible there’s probably a message for me in it and 2)the Bible is one of the best sources for metaphor, simile and literary language.  This caused me to pause and look deeper.  What might God be wanting to communicate to me?  What might be the figurative “deaf person” in my life?  Then it occurred to me, that maybe, sometimes, I am that kind of jerk.  Perhaps I see people with weaknesses and either don’t take the time to recognize what there weaknesses are or worse yet, act in an insensitive way while knowing .

Throughout the Bible we are called to be patient and to minister to one another, but …  Have you ever “cursed” at the deaf?  I think I have … here’s an example of my cursing.  I frequently go to the grocery by work, which is in a more affluent neighborhood where many elderly live.  Typically when I’m there I have moments to run in and get out before I have to be somewhere else.  I suppose youmight be able to see where this is going … I drum my fingers on the steering wheel cursing at inability of the older folks to get across the street; I am perturbed at how long it takes them to manuever their car into a parking spot and, yes, I even get annoyed at their scooters and walkers that block the aisles of the store.  Seriously … what jerky stuff … your lucky that it’s late and I’m tired – this level of confession is normally reserved for bouts of tear-filled self-loathing in my bedroom.  But, there it is, complete honesty.  I have been cursing at the deaf.  The elderly folks have no idea … I work to look friendly and understanding, but I’m not.  They don’t hear me being unkind or impatient, but I am.  The thing about it though is that God doesn’t just want us to make sure people don’t know we’re impatient or annoyed … He isn’t just asking that we whisper our insults and put-downs.  It doesn’t matter that the deaf won’t hear us cursing … we aren’t to be cursing in the first place.  It is the negative action of ours that is the problem, not the fact that someone is there to hear or receive them.  We are to approach others with patience and kindness … not something we can do when we are filling our hearts and spirit with impatience and ugliness.  And, honestly, if you think about it, the kinder you act and the more you are determined to love, the better you feel.  “…the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever; the ordinaces of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honecomb.” (Psalm 19:8-10)  … Yet another case of “Father” knows best 🙂

It is so easy to get frustrated with those who seem to impede your progress:  children who move slowly (or ask “why?” nine-bazillion times), lonely folks who want to chat and won’t let you move along, family members who want to catch up at inopportune times, students who need something explained again … and maybe they aren’t doing anything to enrich your life (although I expect at some point you will look back and realize they did.), and maybe you aren’t ever a nuisance (although I expect you will look back on this point also and realize you were.), but we’ve been called to love one another:  “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your soul. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the other is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all of the Law and the prophets,” (Matthew 22: 37-40).  We’ve been taught that we are to look at person we come across as Jesus and an opportunity to serve this person, is an opportunity to serve Jesus.  That if we want to worship and glorify Jesus, then we are to reach out to His children.  “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) and on those days when we growl under our breath at a pokey grandma we need to remember that we are growling at Jesus … “Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me” (Matthew 25:45)

I think it can be particularly difficult when we are faced with stressful times to find the patience that we are called to have … to find the love for folks who don’t show us patience or kindness … I think though that it is in difficult times that if we can find the strength to live by our faith that we can be a light to others who may in turn become a light for yet another …  and eventually we won’t be in the dark anymore.

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