Sunday, September 16, 2007

Kind Deeds

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I
noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean,
hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my
potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a
pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I
couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller
(the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas.
They sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"
"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."
"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."
"Would you like to take some home?" asked Mr. Miller.
"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I got's my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it" said Miller.
"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I
sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
the store owner asked.
"Not zackley but almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next
trip this way let me look at that red marble". Mr. Miller told the boy.
"Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our
community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to
bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they
come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he
doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce
for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip
to the store."
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A
short time later I moved toColorado, but I never forgot the story of this
man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one.
Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho
community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.
They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends
wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the
mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and
to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army
uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white
shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller,
standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.
Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek,
spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each
young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over
the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly,
wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and
reminded her of the story from those many years ago and
what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles.
With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you
about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded"
them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or
size....they came to pay their debt."
"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she
confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in
Idaho ."
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her
deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely
shined red marbles.

The Moral : We will not be remembered by our words, but by our
kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the
moments that take our breath.
Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself.
An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
Green stoplights on your way to work.
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing-along song on the radio.
Your keys found right where you left them.
Send this to the people you'll never forget. I just Did...
If you don't send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much
of a hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Prayer

Lord, I have struggled.
I had a huge fight with my little sister. I said some mean things, things I wish I could take back. I ask for forgiveness.
I thought I'd come so far, especially with my temper. Satan, you did not win the war, only a battle.

See Satan, I realize that you've tried to destroy me, all along. But I am a daughter of God and you will not win. Don't go away mad, just go away. You'd done everything in your power to pull me under but with God's help, I learned to swim in this cesspool of my life. With God's help and a hedge of protection around me, you are held at bay.

Heavenly Father, I ask you to stay by me. Let me walk in your light, let me seek and find the truth. Yes, as painful as it might be, I want to see the truth. I ask for your strength and wisdom, to do the right thing. I do not like to live lies nor do I ever want to be called a liar. It is not easy to live life on these terms, with this pain. It threatens to consume me and I lash out. I ask for your calm assurance. I ask that you guide me, lest I fall.

I have been ungrateful and stomped my boots. I've felt sorry for myself, something I perceive as a weakness. I ask to be strong again. I have so much to be grateful for and sometimes that eludes me. I am asking your forgiveness for that and I will try harder, to do the right thing. I think you know my heart. It is not black anymore and it is beginning to heal and turn pink. I ask for this continual healing. I ask for your guidance and wisdom, to do and say the right things.

If you are to use me, as a vessel of your truth, allow me to see it clearly and repeat it verbatim. It is my wish to walk in your light and not lead anyone astray. I am a blunder, a contradiction. Help me with this, my Lord.

I have a foothold, in both worlds. You know this but I want to fight the good fight, never shaming you or your Name. Help me to do this, sweet Jesus. Have mercy on me now. Have mercy on my sons, as they do not know what they do. Place it upon my heart, to realize the wrong I have done. Forgive me for it, allow me time to learn from it and help to make it right. They are lost souls. I did a lot of damage. Give me the time, to fix it, try to make it right again and bring them back to you.

It weighs on my heart, all this sin, guilt, shame. Allow me to rise above it, do not allow it to consume me. Let me know, that you have forgiven me. Give me the time, to do your will, your work. Direct my cause, direct my words, my writing, my answers. Do not allow me to lead them astray. Show me Your words.

Take my life and let it be righteous. You allowed me to go through so much, for what reason? You allowed my pain, to be seen by many. Let them see me overcome this pain.

Let me always hear the voice of the Spirit. That small still voice, let it be heard, to guide my way. I ask all this in Jesus Name. Amen