Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grabbing up the Gift

I'm sure you've all taken food samples from Sam's Club before.

Lately, whenever I've gone by those little sample stands, my attention has been caught by the people waiting for the handouts. There are two kinds: adults and children. The adults almost all walk casually up, and wait expectantly just within reach.

The attendant will say robotically, "Would you like to try _____?"
And the adult says (as though he is doing the attendant a favor), "Sure."

The children, on the other hand, run up to the person with their hands out, and blurt out, "Can I have one?"

I've contemplated the two ways of receiving a gift. The one is much more dignified. But the other is what God wants from us. I've often heard Jacob faulted in the Old Testament for his grasping at the blessing that was promised to him by God. Interestingly, of the two, it is Esau who was faulted by God. Willing to sell his birthright for a full stomach, he found no place for repentance. Jacob wanted what God had. Rahab wanted what God had. Tamar wanted what God had. And all of those people considered the gift of God of more value than their family relationships, their pride, their security, their homes.

"Assuredly I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3,4)

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Papa's Stories

In the last year or so, I have been really enjoying emailing my Papa. I started asking him questions about his life (since my acquaintance with him has been much briefer than his life). I've loved hearing about the farm he grew up on, the food his mom cooked, the snakes in the creek he swam in, the house that was taken out by a tornado while they weren't in it. We grandkids don't often think about our grandparents riding their own homemade rafts down muddy creeks into fences. Or sleeping in the kitchen on a cot. Or having fruit fights.

I've enjoyed hearing about his time in the service. And the first time he saw Grandma. My memories of Grandma include her jumping on the trampoline with us kids, and riding my bike when I was seven, so I wasn't too surprised by the stories about her.

I heard my mom's memories of her parents all my life, from the view point of a kid looking at adults. It's a blessing to hear their memories themselves.

If your grandparents are alive, ask them about their lives. I have enjoyed becoming friends with my Papa. Our lives are so much richer when we have something other than our own histories to remember. It seems to me like the 60's generation has been commemorating itself since I was born, and America began a long time before 1960. It puts some things in perspective to hear about them first hand.

Thank you, Papa, for taking the time to tell me your stories. I love them. And I love you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sister's Keeper

Talia is not permitted upstairs without an older sibling.
(This helps us to preserve our home intact.)
"Talia! Come downstairs! You're not allowed to be up there alone," I yelled.
After a pause, her voice drifted down. "God's with me, though."