And The Winner Is…?

Debbie, I liked your previous post because it paints an interesting picture of a common struggle. Last night being the Academy Awards, I began thinking about the leading role in my own musical soundtrack to life.  I don’t happen to be a fan of the character Guilt, but if you take these sentences and insert the crowning performance of Fear, then I can identify!

Even sadder and more isolating than the loneliest number is the mental music we play when we lose ourselves in FEAR. FEAR is the indulgence of the unquiet mind. FEAR is the musical we can’t dance to.

I have only recently learned to avoid the opening nights of that little number. Life is so much better if I can stop the intro to the music of Fear and just pray about the topic that prompted the first few strains. Sometimes I’m powerless to take a negative thought captive. That’s when I ask for help, if I’m smart. Sometimes it’s prayer, sometimes it’s a call to someone else. Either way, it’s identification of the musical and choosing to listen to something else.

Yesterday I was scouting out a new oil site and was afraid I was going to get lost. That was a legitimate fear. I was 8 miles away from Nixon, Texas (no, not Richard, but John T, as in rancher and founder) and aside from mesquite and dusty roads, it was all desert-like wasteland. The more turns I made into the wasteland, the harder my heart pounded. It wasn’t hard to recognize the leading role in my imagination. It was Fear without costume or makeup!

The leading role of Fear is not always so rational and obvious. In fact, it’s the no-so-obvious cameo appearances that really ramp up the fear musical that plays in my head.

Like one this morning. I have Zune on my laptop so that I can transfer music and pictures from there to my new Sourround windows phone. Ever since I installed Zune, my picture program, Picasa, stopped working. I uninstalled and reinstalled Picasa, just now but to no avail.

I have a love-hate thing going with technology. I love it when it works, but it can tank my day when I don’t know how to fix problems. It’s fear that really causes my day to start going south. Okay and maybe a little frustrated anger. I wanted to post a picture of the area around Nixon for this piece, but no. Just for the illustration of how stark life becomes when Fear takes the lead, I’ll leave this blog without a picture.

I am sure that some of our readers would suggest other emotions that mark a downward descent in their day.  I would like to ask them.

So, all you Lurkers out there…who takes the leading role of your negative musical?

Advertisements

1963

1963 by Debbie

“Our thoughts are unseen hands shaping the people we meet. Whatever we truly think them to be, that’s what they’ll become for us.” ~R. Cowper

I’m currently reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I started reading it in Oregon and was pleasantly surprised to find that the little library in Three Rivers carried it. The book was recommended by another woman who worked for the same boss in Utah that I worked for in OR. The conversation about the book came up during a particularly difficult time at the Resort. Her quip was: “You’ll love it, the underdog wins.”

Our mutual ‘boss’ is undeniably a social and religious elitist. I can say that without reservations, not only because I know it to be true, but because I believe he would consider it a compliment. Because of the recommendation and from the title alone, I began reading with a mindset of being one of the mistreated/under-appreciated ‘help’ and was looking forward to the promise of winning in the end.

The setting is Mississippi, 1962-63. The story revolves around a group of young upper-class women, most graduates from ‘Ole Miss.’ and their “help”. The focus is primarily on the experiences of the black women who had no options but to work as maids, from their early teens on.

Stockett, the author, was raised in Jackson Mississippi. Her family had a black maid. She writes much of the book from the fictional perspective of a young white woman attempting to represent the life of the black women around her.

Stockett says: “I don’t presume to think that I know what it really felt like to be a black woman in Mississippi, especially in the 1960’s. I don’t think it is something any white woman on the other end of a black woman’s paycheck could ever truly understand. But trying to understand is vital to our humanity.”

The time period was chosen, certainly, for it’s volatility. It was the time of the shooting of Medgar Evans, of Martin Luther King marches, a time period when the Jim Crowe laws were unquestioned in most of the south, certainly in Mississippi.

1963 was the year I began first grade in the tiny town of Middlebury, Indiana. On November 22nd of that year, C.S Lewis died before I ever got to write him a thank you letter for the innumerable ways his writings would eventually change my thinking and my heart. I remember that because he died on the day we were all sent home from because the President had been shot.

I recently read this quote by J.B. Phillips:
“Most people, naturally, have a somewhat restricted view of life, and they rely to a far larger extent than they realize on the vicarious experience of life to be found in books, films, and plays. Few of us, for example, have known at all intimately a detective, a dress-designer, a circus-proprietor, a pugilist, or a Harley Street specialist. Yet a skillful writer can make us feel that we have entered the very hearts and lives of these, and many other, people. Almost without question we add what we have read or seen to the sum total of what we call our “experience.” The process is also most entirely automatic, and probably most of us would be greatly shocked if it could suddenly be revealed to us how small a proportion of our accumulated “knowledge of the world” is due to first-hand observation and experience.”

In 1963, I had never heard of C.S. Lewis, I had virtually no knowledge of our 35th president and I’d never seen a black person. Since then I’ve read books and watched films and plays. But certainly, I’ll never begin to understand what it meant to be “the help” in the 60’s in the south. And how incredibly audacious of me to, for even an instant, put myself, if only in fleeting thoughts, in the same category. This book, these issues may lead to several other applications. For today, I’m narrowing it down to my need for an equal portion of humility and gratitude.

“If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other source of prejudice before noon.” ~George Aiken

Butter Knife Security Works

January 3, 2011 by Debbie

I got up around 5 to find we’d made it through the night intruder free, butter knife latch in place. As the title indicates, we’ve been here for a week now. It  seems longer than I week ago when I think of getting the call while sitting in the out of commission Jeep, but the days never drag (calamities may contribute to the perceived speed of the passage of time).

This morning I began reading The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller in preparation for doing a book study with my daughter and was immediately challenged and encouraged. After a time of study and cinnamon rolls, Henry and I headed out on our morning jaunt.

Often when I’m especially discouraged or hurting, God reveals Himself in the most obvious ways to tenderly remind me that my heart matters to Him and that He is always present. Today wasn’t one of those days.

I headed out with Henry feeling happy and grateful. I chose the road less traveled (actually the side of the road less traveled by me since there’s less gravel on that side and I’m often rock-hounding while I walk). Sue, from Gold Beach, called last night and I was thinking about her and agates and the ocean as a giant white crane swooped overhead.

By the time I could unsheathe my camera, the crane was gone but at my feet, there were little white sea shells – in the middle of a dirt road on a ranch in southern Texas!

OK, I think they were actually snail shells that fell off the gravel truck. But I smiled at the Lord and thanked Him for such a sweet surprise on a day when I didn’t think I needed Him to do anything extra ordinary.

Funny part is that I felt apologetic at first and found myself saying, ‘I’m OK today, You really didn’t have to go to all that trouble’.That thought stopped me and made me question my theology and my philosophy. What is grace but a continual out pouring special treatment, unmerited and often unnoticed but never unavailable.