Its been a few weeks since I’ve been able to write. I started writing a piece a couple of weeks ago on the Orlando Pulse Memorial, however, time constraints and home repair troubles interfered with life and my blog is still crying out to be finished.
Today, as I sit in my ‘evacuee’ rental home, I have a few minutes to myself to jot down some thoughts about the last week. It’s been a very long haul but my own home is so badly water damaged from a new roof placement gone awry, that we have been forced to leave our humble abode for some undetermined amount of time. In the meantime, my husband and I have had to do the ‘rental-house hop’ several times over the last week while water and mold remediation is being done. With so much going on, it hasn’t left much time for writing. It wasn’t until I couldn’t blog that I realized how much I missed doing it. I finally decided that I don’t have to write a novel but I should take the time to jot down something, just to stay in touch.
In the last week, we have had to move four times from one rental home to another as it was a holiday in the United States. Living near Walt Disney World in Florida, most rental homes were already booked for the holiday and beyond! By God’s grace, and some very kind people, we were able to have very nice homes for the holiday. Moving that many times was exhausting! However, practice makes perfect my mother used to say…and we got better and better at it by this last move. Hopefully, our next move will be home for good!
While preparing this piece, I began to ponder on my Mom’s saying, (not my mom’s really but she did like to use it) and I also began to think about the craft of writing. The proverb’s origin is this:
According to http://www.theidioms.com, the phrase originates in the mid-1500’s in the American English language which was adopted from a Latin phrase. The saying has changed in the way it was used earlier from “Use makes perfect” to “practice makes perfect”. It means :
to keep repeating something over and over so that one can get good at that activity
to keep practicing to get better at (certain) skills
With that in mind, if I write more often, even flash fiction, a short story or poem, I can hone my skills for a time when I’m not rushing around all day long, ‘putting out fires’, so to speak. Just a thought and, I think, a lesson learned.
It’s been a bit since I’ve written in Love’s Legacy, not out of ‘writer’s block’ or lack of desire, but because my house has been flooding repeatedly! You see, we have needed a new roof for some time and have been awaiting a local roofing company to replace the tired, damaged and missing shingles post Hurricane Irma, September 2017. In the meantime, a lot has transpired in my home but a total roof replacement has been a very slow process indeed. To add to this whole sordid affair, it is now our rainy season here in Florida with only a partial roof replacement completed at this time. Conclusion: When it rains, it pours…IN MY HOUSE!
With that said, I have had some time to think about what I’d like to write. I’ve also had time to think about what’s important to me. My family, church family, friends and, yes, my home are all very important to me. The property itself is a beautiful parcel of land or it was prior to being water-logged. The tree and garden lined landscape sustained a fair amount of hurricane damage. It will take quite a bit of time, money and elbow grease to restore it to its original beauty. My approximate 4000 sq. ft. homestead and surrounding property has a small lake across the street and Shingle Creek borders the serene backyard which resembles more of a state park than someone’s yard. The home itself is not exquisite but it is something that I’d like to bequeath to my children and their descendants. I’m hoping restoration is possible.
In the last eight months, I have seen just how temporal these beautiful things are in life. They are here today, gone tomorrow. Without constant care and maintenance, they begin to crumble and fail. Sometimes, even with the best of care, the storms of life beat them down till there is nothing left. How depressing, you say! Ah, yes but I’m not finished yet! There is still hope of inheritance.
So, what kind of inheritance should we leave to our loved ones and their descendants? There is nothing wrong with estate planning and bequesting money and/or property to those left behind. It can be one of life’s greatest blessings OR a family’s most devastating curse. What if we were to birth something far more valuable?What if we were to impart our knowledge, share our skills and/or reflect Christ’s character traits while we are still on this side of eternity? That way, when we do pass into glory, our friends, loved ones and even strangers will have inherited something that “ the thief”…can’t…” steal and kill and destroy“. (John 10:10 paraphrased)
What kind of things am I talking about? If you are unsure, you can start by doing a little self- examination! I would challenge you to do the following, especially if you are a ‘family historian’ or genealogy buff. We will discuss why in just a bit.
First and foremost, I would encourage you to take a piece of paper and a writing implement (what you use is of no importance). Make three columns and labeled of them as follows:
Next, name at least three things under each category that you would like to share with others. For example, let’s take something from your knowledge base.
You may know stories about your family that need to be passed on because, if not shared, they will go on to glory with you! If you know the Lord, share your faith! That’s a legacy with an eternal inheritance for all who choose to accept the offer. The inheritance never runs out, never expires and can never be destroyed!
What about skill? Do you sing, draw, play a sport, cook or fish? What is your line of work? Are you an Executive, a factory worker, a tradesman? Everybody has a gifting or a skill they can share. This is where it is okay to say something GOOD about yourself! Flaunt away! Share at least THREE things with others. If you have to start with one gifting then so be it but list something, even if it’s something you once did but no longer can do on your own. There’s a saying that goes, “Those who can’t do, teach.” You can always consider teaching the skill with help. The actual quote is this: He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.” George Bernard Shaw
This is a home made Christmas ornament that my daughter, Elayna, made in preschool. She has since gone to be with the Lord but someone cared enough to teach her this craft and I’ve had it for about 25 yrs. I still hang it on the tree every Christmas.
Our last ‘legacy-leaver’ is character trait. How does one leave a character trait, you might ask? Why, you live it out. Plain and simple. You live it out in your everyday life as a witness, a model, or as a testimony to a changed life in the Lord. Even if you are not a person of faith, you can model love, kindness, goodness, selflessness, and generosity for family, friends and strangers alike. What better legacy than to leave than one of love; a genuine, abiding, unconditional love for all.
So as you can see, leaving an inheritance, or even more so, a legacy of love, which transcends time and place, is of utmost importance as part of our purpose here in this lifetime. That’s why we want to take a personal inventory. We want to know our strengths and/or gifts so we can leave the best of ourselves with our loved ones when our Spirits are with God. Whether it’s family stories, the family business or the faith of our fathers, let’s take the time to share all that we are and all that we have with a world waiting for hope, acceptance and love. And the greatest of these…is love.
Main Street USA. Cinderella’s Castle. Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland. What do all these places have in common? Well, Walt Disney World, of course! And that’s just the beginning of the wonderful world of Disney delights!
This conglomeration of theme parks serves as the world’s playground. It never ceases to amaze me how many people come to visit the Floridian compound when there are now Disney dynasties that are quite similar all around the world. Yet, there is something different about the Florida model.
When Walter Elias Disney, better known as Walt to his friends and employees, was designing the Floridian parks in the 1960’s, he wanted something to simulate the success of Disneyland here on the East Coast. Additionally, he wanted something totally different; he wanted a city, a prototype city, a futuristic city really. His earliest design was to be a fully functional town with hard working people, no retirees, with full educational and recreational systems. Walt’s idea was to continually offer state-of-the-art ingenuity and industry as they were made available. Disney’s name for this new offering was to be called the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow or E.P.C.O.T.(EPCOT) for short. For most, this name is very familiar! However, the EPCOT city of Walt’s dreams never came to be.
While the parks were still under construction, Walt Disney was diagnosed with lung cancer which ultimately caused complications to his circulatory system. It was this complication that brought on his untimely demise on December 15, 1966.
After his death, Walt’s brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, continued ‘walking in Walt’s shoes’ to complete the Walt Disney World Theme Park as a tribute to his brother’s memory.
At the time of the Grand Opening, which was on October 25, 1971, the Magic Kingdom was the only Disney park open. There was a soft opening of the park on October 1, 1971, but not all the exhibits and rides were completed. The cost of park admission on opening day: $3.50! It was Walt’s dream to have an amusement park that was clean, family-friendly, and had something of interest for the whole family, including the grown-ups! Additionally, he wanted to offer all this at an affordable price so that as many families as possible could enjoy the fun in the sun. A lofty goal but brother Roy saw to it that Walt’s dream came to fruition.
Why all this Disney history? Because to understand today’s Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks you must first understand the man and his story that created all that history. Walt Disney was a true family man, creative, talented, driven, yet a dreamer that took those lofty dreams and turned them into realities. He invited the people of the world to join him as his dreams and aspirations began to unfold. Through cutting-edge animation, dynamic characters and pioneering those magical, Walt Disney theme parks, Disney, even long after his passing, has taken us through 89+ years of magic (Mickey Mouse turns 90 yrs old on November 18, 2018).
What was Walt’s secret to the magic he created? Commitment, high standards, dedication to his work and family, love of people, and love of the job. Walt loved being ‘one of the guys’ in his company. He was ‘Walt’ to everyone. His company was his life during the day. The other half of his busy life was his family. He did make time for his wife and children. His standards were as high at home as they were on the job. His other secret to success was his brother Roy O Disney. Roy was the down-to-earth brother in the family as much as Walt was the dreamer. He was also the ‘money man”. He helped Walt make financing happen for the studio. They were an awesome team, those Disney brothers. They didn’t always ‘see eye to eye’ on everything but they did work those differences out. They remained partners throughout Walt’s life. With several committed employees, financial investors and a few fiduciary institutions behind them over the years, the Disney brothers were the heart and soul of the Disney magic that we have come to know and love.
Walter Elias Disney has left a legacy of love that is unparalleled. His legacy transcends time and place, it surpasses people and cultures. His legacy of love for families everywhere impassions every heart of parent and child that it touches. Though Walt certainly had his faults, he is one of my biggest heroes. He brought smiles and happiness to generations of families, children and adults alike. And anyone who can leave a legacy of love like that gets my undying admiration and respect for a job well done. Kudos to you Walt!
Till we meet again! Have a magical day and may all your dreams come true!
Footnote:Information on Walt Disney, Roy Disney, Disney family, Disney Studios or any and all Disney production/theme park-related information was based on:
“Walt Disney: the triumph of the American imagination”by Neal Gabler and “Walt Disney: An American Original” by Bob Thomas
Life is complicated. We make it complicated. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. With Today’s cultural norms and fast paced society, we get lost in a world of bigger, better, faster. We need more of everything and we need it now! I’ve written about this before, yet, sometimes it weighs heavy on me and I just need to vent. Today is one of those days.
This past week, I have been struggling with terrible migraines. The responsibilities that I carry for our home life right now are stressing me to the limit. I suffer from a chronic illness and I am fighting a flare of such illness as we speak, brought on by lack of good sleep and the stress and strain of my current responsibilities.
You see, we sustained damage last September from Hurricane Irma, and we are still in negotiations with a public adjuster and our insurance company. We are nearing the end of the process but there were complications along the way and none of the damage to my home has been fixed as yet, including a new roof! As we speak, it rains in my daughter’s office almost daily, because, in the state of Florida, come late May, the rainy season begins and doesn’t end until mid to late October. It’s just the way it is.
So, today is one of those “Calgon, take me away!”days(for those of you old enough to remember that commercial). Since I have no Calgon, which is a bath product you would put in your bath to relax and rejuvenate one’s body, mind and spirit, I choose to write, which is the next best thing.
There are so many other things complicating my life but I won’t bore you, dear readers, with all of them. Instead, I will tell you how I am going to cope with them today. It’s Saturday, I can only do so much, so I’m going to ‘let my hair down a little’, so to speak.
Today, I got up around 5 AM ish because I wanted to, not because I had to. I was going to spend some time with the Lord before my shower and email. I had some coffee, etc. Then I did the unthinkable! I woke my husband up to go fishing! It was very relaxing at 7 AM! We live on a creek so it just involves going out on the dock in our back yard. It is one of my ‘happy places’ Do you have one? Where is your ‘happy place’?
Next,I turned on my audiobook, “Walt Disney: An American Original” By Bob Thomas, which is about one of my favorite people in the whole world: Walt Disney! Who else could take us to a happy place, perhaps as Walt says, “To the happiest place on earth”?
So I’ve listened to the early plans for Disneyland in 1948 which really didn’t solidify until the coming of regular television broadcasting in the fifties. What a dream Walt had though! Similar to what Disneyland and Disney World are today, Disneyland was designed to have an educational element, an exhibition area, a functional town setting, an entertainment component which included a fair and a carnival, as well as a park and holiday/seasonal venue all rolled into one theme park. Originally named “Mickey Mouse Land”, Walt eventually settled on the name Disneyland. One difference at the time of Disneyland opening: Walt wanted to make the park affordable for all. So, He obtained backers for the park through his fledgling TV show . It’s a very interesting read if you are interested in the Disney company and their formative years. I highly recommend it.
Why am I so interested in the Disney phenomena? Because I live very close to Disney World. I have had Annual Passes in the past and have been to the parks many times. Each time holds new magic for me. And, no, it never gets old. When I’m sad or overwhelmed, it is my breath of fresh air. It takes me back to my children’s younger days when Disney was magic in their eyes. Now, my oldest three are all grown up and on their own and my younger two went home to be with the Lord several years ago. When I spend the day in a park, I don’t feel so alone. I feel like some part of them is still there with me. I smile, I laugh, I enjoy my time. The music takes me back to yesteryear, to days gone by and I am content. And that’s better than happy.
It’s sad for me to say but I don’t have passes anymore. Money constraints, life complications. Hmmmmmm…
Did I mention I like to draw? I think I’ll go draw Mickey!
I love researching our family’s history. As a matter of fact, I consider myself to be the family historian, though my brother-in-law is right up there with me on my husband’s Carter side. I’ve learned a lot of things while researching my relatives.
For example, I thought that my ethnicity was limited to Canadian French and Sicilian Italian. However, the further back I go in time, the more I am able to see that some lines have come from other countries such as France, Scotland, etc. It is also quite possible that my Sicilian relatives hailed from Middle Eastern or other Mediterranean countries such as Israel or Greece since Sicily was a land of mixed heritage.
According to http://www.spectator.com, the island was quadralingual in the 12th century. There is a stone that was found in a chapel located in Palermo that verifies this finding with its inscription. The stone states that there are remains of a woman named Anna, who is the mother of a priest named Grisandus. The information can be found in four languages, as inscribed on the stone in Latin, Greek, Arabic and Judaeo-Arabic (a dialect of Arabic with Hebrew letters for Arabic-speaking Jews). I found this bit of information to be incredibly interesting. And to think, I was under the impression that I was just plain old Sicilian!
And then there were the family secrets that were uncovered. I’m sure that some of those were never meant to come out as they brought heartache and shame on the family as a whole. In this day and age, certain secrets would have been tolerated fairly well, if not embraced as a blessing in disguise, but certainly not in its original era. Some families were torn apart and never recovered, as was the case in my mother’s family. It was all so sad, so very sad. The ones who suffered the most were the children. They missed out on the full love of family. Where were the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins on Thanksgiving and Christmas, baptisms and birthdays? What an empty life. Yes, the immediate family had each other and they saw some of their relatives while their mother, my grandmother, was alive, but after she died, the children never saw my mother’s family again.
How about you? How are your family relationships? Not just your immediate family but extended family relationships; are they loving or strained at best? When it comes down to it, loving your family is the legacy that we should be leaving our next of kin each and every day of life. And when we cross to the other side of eternity, we want to be sure that we have left a legacy of love behind. Ten years after we are gone, no one is going to remember if we have been a great accountant or an avid golfer, but they will remember if we loved them and impacted their lives in some way. They will remember the words of wisdom that we imparted, the things that we taught them and the experiences that we shared together. If we do it all for the glory of God, loved unconditionally, regardless of how they act, what they say, or how they feel about us, that is a true legacy of love because it is God’s love working through us. That, my friends, is what life, this life of 50, 70, or 90 yrs, is all about.
So the next time you hear the words, ‘genealogy’ or ‘family history’, please don’t think that it’s just about a boring list of names dating back hundreds of years. No, it’s so much more than that. It’s about families and their life stories, and hopefully, their love for each other, that got them through the best and worst of times. And by their example, they left a legacy of love as an inheritance for future generations.
I love life. All life. It comes in various forms and in all shapes and sizes. I enjoy celebrating life, something passed on from my dear mother. She celebrated everything and I do mean EVERYTHING! There is a standing joke in my family that my mom and I celebrate everything from Christmas to National Potato Day! Believe it or not, National Potato Day appears to exist but the celebratory event changes from year to year, or so it seems from my limited research. I’m not sure that this was the case when my mom was living on this side of eternity or else we would have eaten potato everything that day!
It is good to ruminate on my childhood days when life was simple and my mom and I could make an adventure or celebration out of just about anything. For example, there was the impromptu picnic in the front yard with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. There were the walks to buy candy at the local pharmacy on a sunny spring afternoon. Have you ever heard of May Day? I don’t mean the cry for help, I am referring to the holiday. When I was a child, little girls got a May Basket on May 1st with, flowers and candy and other little spring trinkets in it. When my mother was small, she said that they also danced around a May Pole in the Boston, Ma, area, in addition to receiving the traditional May Basket. I’m afraid that this tradition has been lost in the shuffle of a life focused on trials, tribulations, and challenges versus that of the celebrations of life, love and all things beautiful.
I am especially fond of holidays. There are a few days, in particular, that stand out for certain. The fall holidays, Christmas season and the Fourth of July are some of my favorites. Then, there are the simpler ones in life like birthdays and anniversaries. For us, a few are simple to celebrate but not always easy. Those would be the birthdays of those who have moved on to eternity and the anniversary of that glorious day. It’s bittersweet. I’m so happy that my friends and family are no longer chained to the cares of this life and the trouble it brings but I miss them, I especially miss my two youngest children who are predeceased. I no longer have those sunny smiles that would light up the darkest of days or the butterfly kisses that tickled both my cheek and my heart alike. On those bittersweet days, I usually love to go to Disney World, my children’s favorite place in the whole world. From opening until closing, I make my way through the happiest place on earth and remember all the special times we had together as a family. It does this mother’s heart good to feel as though I’m spending time with my children.
In the end, I know I can’t bring them back nor would I want to. However, I have found ways to celebrate their lives and be content with mine. At the same time, I’m looking forward to the day that God has planned, when we shall be together, walking hand in hand. For now, I’ll carry on until my life is through. And then, I’ll meet with my Lord, and he will lead me home. It is there that my children will be waiting for me with open arms. Now, that is a day that I’m looking forward too!
So, the last few days, I have been bed-bound. I hurt my back somehow, probably from lifting a box, dancing at my granddaughter’s prom, fishing, or a combination of all of the above. When you’re in your sixties, you really don’t have to do much. And that is a collective “you”. I’m not necessarily pointing any fingers here. I’m just saying, the older one gets, the easier it becomes to injure oneself. At least, that’s the way I look at it. I feel somewhat better about being so accident prone, It really is much nicer than saying that I’m just a “lummox” or a”clutz”.
Needless to say, I’ve been taking it easy, even going back to bed for the day yesterday, which is very unlike me.
With no TV in my bedroom, I decided to download a movie onto my phone. After much deliberation, I decided on “Jesus Christ, Superstar”, an updated, contemporary version from the year 2000 instead of the archaic 1973 version of the film.
Overall, I felt the movie to be a bit campy, but other than that, true to its original intent.
In my opinion, the original was quite sacrilegious, almost blasphemous, but I loved the music and still know every word to most of the older songs. You see, we played the original soundtrack repeatedly in my eighth-grade parochial school class. The nuns and the students were none the wiser. I’m not sure anyone cared about the questionable words at the time.
However, as an adult, I know there are some definite “red flags” about watching this movie. I also know that there is a version including the resurrection. I didn’t know prior to watching if this was THE ONE with that ending but I wanted to find out. I felt that I HAD to know. I wasn’t sure why I was so compelled to watch this fictional interpretation of Jesus passion and death. I just was. I thought maybe it was because I knew all of the songs, however, it turned out to be something quite different.
There are two character interactions in this movie that profoundly affected me.
The first encounter we see is that of the turbulent relationship that developed between Jesus and Judas Iscariot. From the opening scene, Judas is at odds with Jesus’ teaching. He feels as though Jesus has gotten to be too “heavenly minded” to be of any “earthly good” (implied in the opening song “Heaven on Their Minds”). Additionally, Judas is feeling like they have gotten away from their original purpose: defeating the Roman occupation in Israel. In Judas’ anger and frustration, he looks to Jesus’ real opposition of the day, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees and agrees to identify a location for his arrest, all for the handsome sum of 30 silver pieces.
Interestingly enough, when the time comes for Judas to identify a sad and sorrow-filled Jesus, Judas kisses him on the cheek, which, at the time, was known as a greeting of endearment. Jesus, emotionally drained, broken-hearted, crushed, yet understanding of the mission ahead, takes Judas’ sad and glistening face which was co-mingled with sweat and tears, cupped his head in his hands and said, “Judas, must you….betray me..with….a kiss??” Then, Judas fell to his knees sobbing while Jesus held on tightly and stroked his head lovingly, much as a mother coddling her young, till the Roman guards intervened and they were separated.
(Featured in the picture above is Glenn Carter as Jesus Christ and Jerome Pradon as Judas Iscariot in the 2000 remake of the film, “Jesus Christ, Superstar”.)
The second interaction was much like the first but with a character, no one would expect.
At first glance, I thought this person, as well as his cronies, might be the comic relief, but no, my mistake! You see, the Roman guards were all dressed like Darth Vader from Star Wars and Pontius Pilate was dressed more like a 1940’s German commandant or maybe even a Star Wars Imperial officer. At that point, I almost turned the movie off…almost.
Then something amazing happened. Pilate began to talk with Jesus, from his heart. After talking for a bit, Pilate comes to believe that Jesus is innocent of any crime. He may be confused or misguided but Jesus has done nothing deserving of punishment-no punishment of any kind. Then, Pilate does something totally unexpected. He tenderly looks into Jesus’ eyes and puts a gentle hand on his cheek and begs Jesus to say something on his own behalf, something that will spare this innocent man’s life. And then, Jesus cups Pilate’s face in his hands and speaks words something like this, “My life… is out of your hands”.
In the background, the chief priests work the crowds to their own advantage. They are all chanting, at first softly, but gain volume with boldness,”Crucify Him!” Repeating it over and over till Pilate has Jesus flogged, beaten 39 times. At 40 lashes, one can lose their life. Pilate counts each and every whipping. When he reaches the 35, 36, 37, he begins to weep. At 39 lashes, Jesus falls to the ground in a bloody heap and begins to roll away
. Pilate runs over to him, scoops him up, and holds him tenderly in his arms. He cradles Jesus’ head and speaks gently to him. Pilate wants to know why he stays quiet and begs Christ to give him something, anything, that will give him a way out of this death sentence. The crowds are getting louder and bolder while chanting their angry refrain; “Remember Caesar. You have a duty..to keep the peace, so Crucify Him! Remember Caesar! You’ll be demoted. You’ll be deported. Crucify Him!”
(Pontius Pilate, played by Fred Johanson, is seen here weeping while holding Jesus, played by Glenn Carter, in the 2000 version of the movie, “Jesus Christ, Superstar.”)
Seeing no other options, Pilate stands resolutely and walks away from Jesus to pass the death sentence that was decided on before the beginning of time. He is broken-hearted, angry and frustrated by this decision, however. He is upset that Jesus can’t or won’t change his fate, embittered by the two-faced mob of Jesus’ fellow Jews who won’t stand up to their own leaders and infuriated by the heretical, self-serving Jewish leaders who started this whole nasty business.
When looking back at both Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate, they were both portrayed as having the same type of response and reaction to their respective relationships with Jesus. I believe that Jesus forgave both Judas and Pilate at their point of contact with him. Both the Bible and Jewish historians tell us that they each felt regret and remorse for their respective actions. They both seemed to have an affection of some sort for Jesus. However, they were genuinely open with their feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and in the end, sorrow. We do see that, through it all, Jesus’ love was authentic. In all things, Jesus always loves because he IS love. And that love showed through perfectly.
I’m not sure if I would recommend this particular movie to friends and family. The “Darth Vader”/”Imperial Guard”, Roman Soldiers were a bit much, in my opinion. But, if you’re looking for an authentic movie about Godly love, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is a down-to-earth movie about just that. And, if you’re looking for unconditional love that transcends anything that we could possibly say or do…you won’t want to miss this for the world.
“I bet, just from the title, that your mind has gone to a variety of places. You are probably asking yourself, ” What could have provoked such a demonstrative response in that woman??” Well, this blog is actually a true story about an incident that occurred during my childhood.
Ever since I’ve been a small child, as far back as I can remember, I have been a “fretter”, one who frets, a world-class “Nervous Nellie”. I was afraid of my own shadow, so to speak: afraid of the dark, afraid of the water, afraid of storms and crowds and things that “go bump in the night”. Now, you may be saying that these are all common fears in children, and if you did, you would be correct in saying that. However, I had uncommonly odd and unusual fears (and I can’t believe that I’m sharing these publicly. I hope this is somehow therapeutic). I was afraid that a hand would come out from under my bed and grab me (the bogeyman, maybe). I thought this same hand might make its way to the bathroom fixtures and grab my backside when sitting on the commode. I definitely lived in a most frightening world. I’m not sure that child counselors even existed in the late Fifties/early Sixties. I think back and wonder if an exorcism wouldn’t have been more beneficial in my case.
So, by age 6, I was in first grade at St. Cecilia’s Parochial School in Leominster, Massachusetts. My teacher’s name was Sister (Sr.) Eugene and she was a ‘peach’. She needed to be. She had me for a student and a boy I’ll call Eddie D Munster who was kept back several times. We both were a handful. Sr. Eugene took many of the difficult children. She was patient, kind and a great teacher. She understood those children who weren’t quite like the rest. You see, Sr. Eugene herself, had Cerebral Palsy but she never let it interfere with her independence as a person, a nun or in her career as a teacher.
And so, at the tender age of six, just as the other first graders, I was required to get a vaccination in my arm and a polio drink which came as a suspension in a little paper cup. The drink I did not mind. The vaccination, however, I minded very much, as shots were one of my greatest fears.
The time came for our class to stand in line for the vaccination and polio drink. we stood in alphabetical order. Since my maiden surname began with the letter “D”, I was pretty close to the front of the line. The closer I got to the vaccination, the more nervous I became. At first, I started to cry, next, I’m assuming that my stomach started to get upset because I remember retching, then I started screaming. Before I knew it, Sr. Eugene scooped my small, frail body up in her one, good arm and held me close. She told me it would be okay. She pulled me out of line and we watched everyone else get their vaccine while I waited comfortable in Sr. Eugene’s warm embrace. I don’t remember anyone else screaming or crying. It may just be a time long forgotten. I know I got a vaccine and a polio drink eventually that day.
I don’t remember any pain from the vaccination. I remember getting a bandaid. The things I remember most is the fretting and the retching and the screaming and the dread and the terror and for what?
In the end, there was only kindness, instead of helplessness. Love instead of pain. Peace instead of fear. There was calmness instead of fretfulness and dread.
Isn’t that what God wants to do for us? How often do we hold onto those terrible feelings instead of giving them to him? We can go to him in prayer and lay them at the foot of the cross. In exchange, he will give us those very same gifts of love, peace, kindness, calmness, even joy and contentment. Yes, They are there for the asking.
So, the next time you feel nervous or become fret-filled, remember me and my dreadful first grade vaccination. Better still, remember Sr. Eugene and the Godly love she modeled to a group of students and teachers that autumn day so very long ago and seek that. You’ll be glad you did.
I love classic cars! By “classic”, I mean antique cars, preferably from 1950’s and older. I’m into Edsels, Studebakers, Chevys, Buicks, any MG model and most Thunderbirds, to name a few. My favorite model is from the early 20th century, and that would be none other than, the infamous Model T Ford, which had a hand crank engine. You can still see an occasional Model T at car shows today, but many have had their cranks removed and engines replaced with a newer model. In my opinion, there is just something not right about that. I like when everything is restored to its original beauty and function, the way it was meant to be from the beginning. I am especially delighted to see a classic car driven by its original owner, though, in the case of the Model T, most have passed on, and it’s their grandchildren that you may find driving the car.
As much as I know their names and, just maybe, I can tell you around what year the car was made, I cannot tell you much about how they run or what makes them “tick”, so to speak.
My husband can. He’s an expert on all things classic, including cars. He knows an eight cylinder engine from a six cylinder. He knows a water plump from a fuel pump. Me, not so much. I can tell you if it’s pretty, if it has original parts (usually) and if it drives well for its age.
As I was writing this post about cars, I began to think about how God relates to us. When Jesus died and rose from the grave, he did so to restore our relationship with the Father. He didn’t just want to revive a long dead relationship, he wants to restore it to its original intent; to bring about Godly beauty and functionality, according to our Master Designer, just like a classic car. Our personal, one-on-one time with our Creator was meant to be intimate, loving and experiential! So many of us miss out on this type of fulfilling relationship with our Lord. Why? In my humble opinion, I think many people just aren’t aware that it’s available through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can’t wait till the next car show. Not only will I appreciate the beauty of these early model autos, I will also be reminded of Christ’s restorative work on Calvary for you and for me. And, unlike the intrinsic value of the car which is markedly capped at a certain amount, a restored relationship with the Father is priceless. In the end, which would you rather have in your possession? One will travel the world over while the Other travels this world and beyond. Just food for thought.