Hide and Seek

Boasting is not always a bad observation, it can lead to significant thought. When I think of boasting, one person comes to mind immediately, my grandma. This may seem odd, but I have my reasons and in a few short paragraphs I will attempt to explain.

We never lived in the same town as my grandma, so I was only in her company for ten or twelve days my whole life, during family vacations mostly. It was during one such visit we were left for half a day or so at grandma’s house, while mom and dad went elsewhere. I must have been around eight-years-old and Adam, my brother, was six, also in our company was our cousin Mike, who was close to my age.

We stayed outside the entire day in the summer sun and all the games boys can come up with, we played. Grandma had one rule and it was simple, “Stay in the yard boys.” she would say. Almost like clockwork every thirty minutes or so grandma would come to the screen door to check on us. She wanted to get a visual of where we were and what we were up to. She was wise. I did not mind the routine surveillance; it was kind of nice seeing her at the door. It was this monitoring which caused me to come up with a new game. It is funny how kids can make a game out of just about anything and have great fun with little effort, just playing around.

The game was simple, to my shame, I proposed we hide from grandma. Her house had two doors one in the front and the other on the side. The next time grandma came to the side door we simply stepped around the corner to the front of the house out of sight. We laughed and giggled, we thought we were so smart, but it was fun. Soon, we heard the side door shut and then we stepped around to the side of the house, again out of sight. We would then laugh as grandma opened the front screen door to peer out into the yard to see her troubled grandson’s. This pattern went on and on for five or ten minutes and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We were hiding in front of the house waiting for the side door to close and when it did, we snuck around the corner to the side. Suddenly, the side door began to open again, “What a strategy,” I thought to myself, “she had faked us out.” We hurriedly jumped around the corner of the house to the front and boy were we surprised to see grandma standing there in the door looking straight at us. She had enlisted the help of our aunt who lived with her, to catch us in our devious game. We laughed and she grinned and then said, “Boys, come on in the house.”

We reluctantly agreed, and one by one filed into the warden’s front door. Once inside, there was not much to do but watch TV, my grandma and aunt were already watching “The Walton’s”. They were always watching, “The Walton’s” or “Little House on the Prairie” always. The cable in her house was stuck in a TV marathon from the 1970’s and nothing an eight-year-old boy would be interested in was on the playlist.

We settled down onto the floor of the living room with our Match Box and Hot Wheels cars and we were content. We had only played for a few minutes before the sky grew dark, the street lights came on, and an afternoon thunderstorm began to roar outside, I guess grandma was right to bring us inside. The wind became strong and gusty, the down pour of rain made it difficult to see the street. An occasional bolt of lightning and crack of thunder made the storm exciting, but the cable never went out, we were not that lucky.

It was during the storm, while playing on the rug in front of the couch, that I began to look around the living room. The decorating was normal, kind of like my mom’s style. Grandma’s house was comfortable, warm, and inviting but on this day, I noticed a difference between her house and mine, it was the pictures. Grandma had pictures everywhere, they were on the end-tables, shelves, on the TV above “The Walton’s”, and on every wall in the house. I got up to peruse the gallery’s collection and there were pictures on every living room wall, down the hallway, in the kitchen and bedrooms, even the bathroom had pictures.

The pictures were of family mostly, black & white and color pictures of babies, toddlers, kids my age and older, and teenagers’. There were pictures of weddings, birthdays and Christmas’ gone by and there were old people a lot of old people on the walls. The pictures of the older people though were the most interesting at which to look. Grandma noticed my interest in the pictures, and she came over and began to point out and name the people. Kid’s, grandkid’s, great-grandkid’s, cousin’s, sister’s, brother’s, moms and dads all had their own special place on the wall. Many lives, years and stories were recorded in the numerous pictures in her gallery, and while the storm raged outside, my grandma and aunt led me through the house telling me of people I would never meet. The way grandma told me of the people was one of the most interesting points I remember. She told of her family and friends with kindness, love, respect, and care. She honored every single person whether they were deserving or not. Her voice made the pictures come alive and have real meaning and purpose.

Every couple of years my family would come in to visit grandma while on vacation. The only changes at her house were usually her age, health, and new pictures added to the walls. My grandma never had a lot in terms of money or possession’s. She was not well known or followed in her town and never celebrated by anyone other than friends or family. To look at her in those little old lady dresses with rolled up socks, she was simple and unassuming. Grandma could not boast of much which this world might deem valuable today, but she did not have to, her walls did the boasting for her.

“Love does not boast…” 1st Cor. 13:4

Pet Me Too!

Envy is a universal emotion; over the years I have read articles on its unsatisfied apatite. I have seen this emotion in myself, others and even my pets. We have an outside dog, which is an Australian Shepherd named Sully. We also have an inside dog, which is a Maltese named Mowgli. Sully obviously has Mowgli envy and it is almost impossible for me to resolve.

Sully has a comfortable life in our garage and on the back porch. He is kept warm and dry in the winter and cool in the summer, but Sully wants the couch! I often see him come to the French doors and peer in, longingly, at Mowgli lounging on someone’s lap or just laying on a pillow, on the couch.

It was this scenario which led to a planned invasion by man’s best, outside, friend. One morning my wife decided to go onto the back porch to water the ferns. When she opened the door, Sully stuck his snout through the crack, then his head, his shoulders and the rest of his envious body and shot the gap. He pushed his way in despite the screaming objections of my wife, raced across the living room and leapt into the air. Once airborne, he cleared the ottoman in a single bound making several rather athletic and graceful maneuvers, similar to that of an Olympic gymnast. Once he arrived at the coveted spot, he stuck the landing, right on the couch! The screaming, dragging, and flying of fur which ensued was unparalleled before or since.

I have learned something from observing Sully. He has not shot the gap again but occasionally he will stick his snout into the door when it is opened just a tiny bit to test the perimeter. He seems to be satisfied with his chair on the back porch but I bet envy still lurks in his thoughts. He is waiting and biding his time, to once again invade and take by calculated force the object of his envy.

“Love does not envy…” 1st Cor. 13:4

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Humankind(ness)

Sometimes, I struggle to be kind, it happens. I’m not a mean or vengeful person but occasionally, I am distracted and in the moment uninterested in the conversation. For example, people often share with me their health issues and deep dive into great detail. I have genuine concern for the person but I’m not really interested in regards to their routine colonoscopy. I frequently help people who have health issues in anyway possible but the details seem to be more than I can process. I listen without interrupting them and nod at all the appropriate times but after the conversation I often feel I missed the mark in showing them genuine concern and kindness.

In 1937, Walter Winchell said, “It is swell to be important—but more important to be swell!” Writers and speakers came along afterward and exchanged the word swell for nice and the modern adage was coined. “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” I hope that my willingness to listen to the details and frequent offers to help in anyway I can (within reason), is regarded as “nice” and kind. Maybe listening shows a kindness often overlooked in our society today.

“Love is kind…” 1st Cor. 13:4

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Drive-thru Patience…

Patience is brilliance in action. In my own experience, I have found myself to be patient in some areas but not in others. For example, I am patient when dealing with most people, but irritable and anxious at fast food drive-thru’s. Talk about a contradiction in terms, “fast food?” We have been trained to expect an immediate remedy and satisfaction but when the process breaks down and order accuracy fails, my self control is put to the test.

Automated phone systems also try my patience. These company’s, should just inform the caller in a wonderfully, graceful prerecorded voice, “We really do not wish to speak with you concerning your issue. Please continue to respond by pushing random numbers in our multi-tiered navigation menu. If you are patient and wait long enough, a representative will eventually speak with you, unless this call is lost due to no fault of our own. Thank you and have a nice day.”

Philosopher John Dewey said, “Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, seldom found in woman, never found in man.” Patience involves waiting and waiting we do not like. Life requires both waiting and patience, so I must learn to wait gracefully and stay in line at the drive-thru.

“Love is patient…” 1st Cor. 13:4

An Honor…

“The honor is all mine.” “It would be an honor.” “Yes, your Honor.” Each of these idioms represent commonly used phrases in cultures around our world today. Honor, emphasizes high respect and great esteem but also denotes doing what is known to be right.

Honoring others, even when they are disagreeable or uncooperative, is the fullest definition of the word. Listening to and treating friends and opponents with value, respect and common courtesy is the right thing to do.

Genuine honor is a valuable gift to give and all the more priceless when received.

“Love does not dishonor others…” 1 Cor. 13:5