Friday, April 3, 2015

Chapter 3

I sat upstairs this morning in the room I am using while my parents are here. In front of the big windows framing tree tops with bird neighborhoods, we have a bistro table with a ceramic lamp, a green chipped vase with dusty white flowers and two stacks of books. 

Lennon The Cat sat across the table in a chair, staring at me. His eyes said he was prepared for a tea party so I broke off just a crumb from my muffin and sat it on the table. He politely stood and placed his hands upon the table, then leaned forward to eat the crumb. He sat back down on his chair, stared at me (he finds me fascinating), and asked for more.

Cats are great. 

You can play your Glenn Miller big band music CD over and over and they never yell, "Oh for goodness sake! Can't you play something different for a change?" That virtue makes them wonderful tea party companions. And you can sit silently and read your Victoria Magazine and dream or choose to talk to your cat, steering the conversation wherever you want it to go. Either way is fine with them, as long as you toss an occasional muffin crumb their way.

One sunny autumn morning I shined a pen light along our walls in our sunroom and watched our three cats' heads go left and right and left and right while they watched the light. I remember thinking, "This is one of the best things in life. This is Life, actually, and there's no other place I'd rather be right now."

I try not to forget revelations like that one. I remind myself that Life is millions of small moments with just an occasional big moment thrown in. 

I want to make the most of those millions of daily moments--not complain or wish them away for something bigger. I want to be awake for each one so that I'll miss nothing.


  Yesterday on a cloudy, cool afternoon I rode a 1916 wooden merry-go-round with my parents. I chose a 'safe seat,' a little carriage with two benches, and sat upon the back bench because you had to step over a little part and left the front bench for my parents.

But they each chose a horse to ride. I was surprised! Especially that my dad would pull himself up on a high wooden horse--all week we have been taking the easy route wherever we go because of his arthritis. But he and my mom climbed up on a horse just fine.

So as the old-fashioned caliope music played (was it Meet Me In St. Louis?) we whirled around and around amongst the horses and little lights and then I looked up in front of me at the back of my parents and felt my eyes sting. "They are here today, but they'll not be here forever. Someday they will both be gone. But right now they are here and we are making another memory." 

Yes, those were my thoughts and I had to look away, had to gaze at all the brightly-painted horses around us. The bitter-sweetness was choking me.

My dad is nearly 70 and he is like a different person. Much more relaxed than he was his first sixty years. More laid-back. If only he'd been that way while my sister, brother and I were young. Part of it is because his doctor told him he must avoid stress or the arthritis will creep over him. He must view everything differently.

Many people, especially men, I've noticed, become much nicer, more pleasant people in their old age. I wonder if they see the difference. I wonder if they have regrets which haunt them when they lay down to sleep at night.

I want to relax now while I'm only in my forties. I want to see the world through God's eyes--and I cannot imagine Him all stressed-out, shaky and irritable in Heaven. I cannot see Him scared about the future or fearful of what others will think if He does things differently than everyone else.

I'm aiming to have His heart and His eyes and His courage. And if someday my own daughter sits behind me on a merry-go-round, I want all of her memories of me to be plain sweet, not mixed in with much bitter-sweetness at all.


My parents left this cloudy, colored-leaf morning. I drove them to the airport at 8:00 a.m. and went through all the gamut of emotions you go through when you only see your parents every few years.

How you want them to stay in your home longer, yet you know that would lead to a disaster down the road.

How you love them, but at times they make you crazy with the words they say.

How you feel guilty when you feel anything negative toward them.

How you picture them as they looked when you were a teenager--yet when you actually see their faces now, you're always surprised and saddened at how old they look.

How you wish they could always stay young.

How you wish 'Family' was not such a complicated thing and that you could be the perfect daughter. But how you just are what you are.

How you wish your emotions would always behave themselves when you spend time with family.

And on and on.

Zombie thoughts. That's what I had on my way out of the airport, alone, wondering if the guy in the parking ticket booth noticed the tears in my eyes.

Zombie thoughts because I'm just so darn tired after 17 days of sightseeing with my parents--and yet wishing they were still here--but not still here. Still here, but not still here. Still here, but not still here--

Zombie thoughts which are whining to me right now, "For heaven's sake! Lie down and take a good, long nap. You deserve it."


"She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness."   ...Proverbs 31:27

 It matters how I pack my husband's lunch for work. It matters that I send him out our blue back door with a smile and that I spend time with him while he's home.

It matters how I keep my little grey house, that I do my best to decorate it nicely and make it comfortable for my family. That I keep up with the laundry way down in our deep, dark basement so that Tom and I have clean clothes to wear (Naomi's done her own laundry since age 11).

And it matters that I care for Lennon and McCartney, our cats, as best I can and that I smile at people at the supermarket, especially the ones who look haunted with loneliness. It matters that I motion for people to go ahead and walk in front of my car because I'll pause and wait for them.

All these things, and hundreds more, matter because love matters:

"... but the greatest of these is love..."

I wonder if sometimes homemakers, especially, are insecure and unfulfilled because they don't realize that what they do is important. All of it. Instead, into our ears is constantly whispered:

"but the greatest of these is money, education, a glamorous career, great clothes, a big house, a small body, and a new car..."

No wonder so many people step through their days feeling they're wasting time, when in reality, everything we do matters a great deal... reality, we are only wasting our time if whatever we do, is not done in love. Little things done in love are huge to God. They are a big deal to Him and He remembers them, stores them up, each one, because:

"... the greatest of these is love..."


  Oh my... You will never hear me say the words, "That's just the way I am."

But I used to say them proudly, even. 

God would come along and say (through the Bible, people, books, songs, Life situations and my heart), "I can free you from that depression, you know."

And I'd reply, "Oh, that's just the way I am."

Other times He'd say, "If you'll listen to Me, I can free you from the way you tend to bite Tom's head off and worry about Naomi."

And yes, I'd say, "But that's the way I've always been. You can't change that--can you?"

He'd try over and over:"I can help you not complain so much or be offended at church people or think things must always go your way or else they're wrong."

Yeah, again... "But Lord, that's just the way I am."

But now, oh my--I'd almost rather die than say, "That's just the way I am."

It took me 30 years (I am so slow sometimes) to discover that "That's just the way I am," is like smacking a helping hand...'s like slamming a door.

...not believing in miracles or truth.

...labeling myself as unchangeable.

...pressing my fingers, hard, against God's mouth, hushing Him.

It's like blacking-out and burning this Bible promise, "He whom the Son has set free is free, indeed."

Free indeed! The inside, outside, upside-down kind of freedom.

Freedom. It exists. It is real.

And for me, it began when I stopped saying and stopped believing, "That's just the way I am."


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" ... II Corinthians 5:17 


I awoke on Thanksgiving morning and looked up at my ceiling which lit up and became like a movie screen. Upon this screen I could see an outline of the East Coast and thousands and thousands of lighted kitchens in thousands and thousands of homes. I could see women in aprons placing turkeys into ovens. And in each kitchen there was light and warmth and baking scents and a daring anticipation (one I wish we had daily).

What a lovely vision to awaken to on Thanksgiving morning.


Yesterday was Tom's and my 27th anniversary, which still feels odd because half the time I feel I am only 27 years old. Well, in body, but in mind I seem older because I feel wiser than I did back then--wiser and happier and a million times more peaceful. 

It's not popular to say this, but I love this getting older.

We didn't exchange cards or gifts yesterday--can you believe that? Instead,Tom took 12 days off from work prior to our anniversary and we spent those days together in our new little room watching movies and tv series on DVDs. And went out to eat and visited yard sales.

 And ok, that probably sounds incredibly dull, but you know? For us, it was marvelous. There was a grace upon us to spend our vacation that way and grace always brings a serene kind of contentment. 

We have a marriage history and I love that we have ironed-out many things which used to make us yell like children. Finally we got wise and learned to let each other be unique and have some space and to stop pressuring ourselves to be like other couples. 

Who says we must travel to Europe or take a cruise on our anniversary? Who says we must buy cards and gifts?  As long as both of us are fine with no gifts and no Europe, then it's perfectly ok for us to skip them.

A marriage history--it's like writing a book each year of what you have learned both to do and not to do, memorizing its pages and gleaning wisdom and peace from them.


For some years, I hated the thought of having balance in life because I believed one should have passion. In all areas. And any talk about balance was an excuse for wimpy, mediocre people who didn't care if they were forgotten after they died.

Oh brother.

Now, years later, I love and seek and crave balance and try to walk with it on that great tightrope called Life.

Putting God first is a holy thing, but when taken to extremes (and not led by God's own wisdom) can lead to destruction of families with far-reaching emotional damages and basically, might crank out yet more 'Christian flakes' of whom it can be said, "They were too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good."

You get what I mean, right?

God's ways are the only ones leading to our best life. We're never going to come up with better ideas or plans. Not if we even had 7 or 8 lifetimes in which to try.


"Be well-balanced for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion seeking someone to seize upon and devour." ... I Peter 5:7


Sometimes I read through the journals I kept while Naomi was small, but there are some pages I dread. Why? Because on those pages I wrote of wanting, no, of aching for more than I already had.

I was not content, even though I had so much.

I set these journals down and remember farther back to the church service where I prayed with my whole heart for a child. I was having that enormous, Rachel-like "Oh God, give me children, or I shall die!" ache, yet I'd been unable to conceive. Amazingly, within one month after that heart cry, I did conceive.

And for awhile, Naomi was more than enough. But then later, I wanted another child and that did not happen, no matter how many heart cries and pleadings I flung toward God.

So then my heart started aching for other things. Money was one. God moved us to Nevada and gave us more money than our little family needed. I experienced what many people never get to--how having a purse full of money when I went shopping did not take away an inherent loneliness. My 'wealthy' Nevada Years were the most depressing years of my entire life.

So then my heart began aching for friends. The Nevada desert felt more like a friendship desert, so I wrote in to Women's Household Magazine for pen pals and for awhile this flood of friends inside my mailbox was enough.

But that was during the 1980's when a career was everything and if you were a woman without one, you were Nothing (with a capital N). Moms returned to school or the workforce and magazines told me I had better go, too, or I'd always be Nothing.  

For awhile I tried to convince myself I, too, would be happy and fulfilled if, like everyone else, I got a career. But I never did. Instead, I just sat at home and felt sorry for my unappreciated, Nothing self.

I had so much--a terrific husband, a daughter, a home and cats, a garden, a church and a few good friends. But always, they were enough for just a little while. Always, I'd end up wanting something else after that little while had passed.

And only years later did I discover what God was doing.

He was letting me discover for myself that all the stuff on this Earth, all the things and people and relationships and houses and careers and friendships and appreciation and fame and pets--each of them are only temporarily satisfying.

I had to realize for myself that only God is enormous enough for my enormous needs. Only my friendship with Him is Enough and comes with timeless contentment.


"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" ... Hebrews 13:5

"But godliness with contentment is great gain." I Timothy 6:6

You probably thought Debra's life was just ducky, right? 

Well, no. For starters, Tom came home from work on Tuesday night with the stomach flu. Poor guy--I asked him if he wanted anything for dinner and when I showed him a can of peaches, he raced into the bathroom and, well, let's draw the curtain closed as to what happened then.

Later I asked him if he wanted me to buy him some ginger ale. He did, so I got in the car and drove to the convenience store in the dark. Well, A.) I avoid driving in the dark for the sake of all mankind, for I can't see like I used to, and B.) This convenience store was robbed in November, and at the same time of the evening. But hey--for better or for worse and all that good stuff which makes you do crazy things. Speaking of which, for two days I tried not to inhale around Tom. I so do not want that horrible stomach flu!

Well, the store's ATM was out of order, and of course I had only three dollars with me so I couldn't pick up anything else I needed. Then when I stood  in line, I used all my newly acquired C.S.I. skills (being a C.S.I. tv show addict) and memorized who stood next to me in case I'd later have to identify the robber from the mug shots they'd show me in my hospital bed.

Heh. But hooray, I made it home safely with two bottles of ginger ale (so I wouldn't have to risk my life again. heh.).

Tom called in sick to work the next morning. In the afternoon, he had to keep his pre-arranged doctor appointment where they told him that, yes, he would for sure have to have surgery on his arm a week from Friday.

 Oh right. I didn't tell you that back in December Tom slipped down our front stairs and hurt his shoulder. A.) He should never have been anywhere even near those front stairs because they had snow on them and B.) At first he tried to blame this on me because I had locked our back storm door and the paper boy (don't you get a weird picture in your head when people say "paper boy"?) hadn't been able to leave the newspaper plastered to our back door. And well, it was the newspaper Tom was trying to retrieve from our front mailbox (where the paper boy puts it when Debra forgets to unlock the storm door). And there's a C.) too--- I hadn't put the white chain across our front steps yet (to keep people off them and so I won't have to shovel them, either, being the lazy slob which I am), even though we'd had snow two whole times. (But did I mention that our driveway was perfectly dry and Tom could have easily just walked that way to the mailbox to get the newspaper?)

Argh. Tom will have surgery on his arm next Friday and will miss 3 - 4 weeks of work. And of course, he'll need to keep his left arm immobile and guess who's left-handed? And then guess who will have to put her life on hold for those 3 to 4 weeks?

Yet guess who doesn't really mind? Ok, not too much. I mean, why else am I here? Well, it's part of why I am here on this earth. That, and because yes, it's all about 'from this day forward, in sickness and in health'. And that's okay with me because when you're in love, even after 27 long, crazy years, you do what you have to. 

And if you're smart, you just list your blessings, namely, that you still have your love with you, even though he's a little worse for the wear.


P.S. Oh! How could I forget? Also this week, our bathtub drain was completely clogged for three days. So yesterday Tom spent 2 hours in the basement unclogging the drain. But hooray, the whole pipe is now clog-free and we can shower again-woo-hoo!


In my last post, I addressed feelings and emotions and then Jeanette made a comment which I knew someone would make (thanks, Jeanette!). And yes, I agree-- the answer is not to squash down our negative emotions, only to have them surge forth in a flaming ball of fire some future day when it could no longer be contained (and in the meantime, making us physically sick). Heaven forbid.

There is something better than that. With God, there is always a better way. 

Remember that Bible verse-- ..."it's the little foxes which spoil the vines"? Many folks have a whole pack of those rabid little foxes inside us, attacking any good root which tries to grow. No wonder it seems we never get anywhere--we've been so chewed up by those little red foxes, we are walking around almost more dead than living.

Examples of little foxes? 

"I will never forgive that person."
"I've been hurt, so I'm afraid to try anything new."
"She offended me, so it's my right to tell the world about it/her."
"This isn't gossip--it's just a prayer request."
"I've made too many mistakes--I don't deserve a second chance."
"God is mad at me."
"I can't give any money to that needy family--I need every cent for my own family."
"My husband bought what? Well, I'll just go out and buy something we cannot afford, too!"
"That's the last time I help her. She didn't even say thank-you."

And more.

It's not God's way to make pets of those 'cute' little foxes. No, but it's our way. We attempt to keep those foxes as secret pets because some foxes make us feel good about ourselves. And they serve as excuses, releasing us (we think) from doing the right thing. 

But you cannot train a little fox. A little fox can never be trusted. Little foxes must be killed.

And God is the great hunter, the only one who can go deep enough to find--and then shoot and kill-- those foxes which are eating us alive. The ones who justify our evil emotions and keep us from growing past them.

My bottom line? It's something I said in a comment box a few posts ago:

"God asked me to come to Him with my hurts and listen to what He had to say. But then He dug even deeper--He began telling me I needed to let go of what it was inside me that caused me to often feel hurt and offended in the first place. He said He had something better for me--and it meant giving people lots of slack and room to grow and the benefit of the doubt--and oh my, what a difference that made! No longer was there a need to heal what hadn't been hurt in the first place."

That last sentence won't leave my mind alone. Whatever hasn't been hurt in the first place, needs no doctor. No opportunity to vent. No tears. No squashing down, stuffing down until it becomes a ball of flames.

"Love hardly even notices when others do it wrong." 1 Corinthians 13:5... 

Only God can grow that kind of love inside us, because only He is that kind of love. And I am determined to let Him shoot any little fox inside me which tries to destroy any kind of God-love. 


"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes." ... Song of Solomon 2:15

"But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." ... Matthew 6:15

"You will keep him in perfect peace, 
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You." ... Isaiah 26:3


"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night."   ...Psalm 1:2

Do you remember when you first fell in love with your spouse? I do.

I thought about Tom all the time, even while I was at my job (a very prestigious job, indeed--I washed dishes in a tiny cafe). After work, I'd think about him while I walked home, then after stepping through my front door I'd think about Tom while washing dishes (my own this time), making dinner, talking with him on the phone, watching tv and then slipping into bed, where I'd think about him, about us, some more before falling asleep.

He was always on my mind, yet I was still able to work at my job, run errands and do chores around my cute little house. I was in love and it didn't matter what anyone else thought about that.

I wrote all that to say this: sometimes when you mention this verse:

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." ... Isaiah 26:3

... people get all hyper-active. "I can't think about God all the time!" they declare. "I've got a job. I've got a spouse and kids and responsibilities. I've got a Real Life."

Well, yes, you can. I've a feeling I'm not the only person in this huge world who ever went through months of her life thinking about the man she loved and yet carrying-on, productively, with all the duties of her life. And I was pretty darn happy living that way, too.

It can be done. We can live with contented hearts and smiling eyes because of having kept our minds on the goodness, the sweetness of God all the time.

The trust grows.
The peace grows.

And people watch.


"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." ... Isaiah 26:3


  For Christmas, Tom asked for one of Kimberley Locke's CD's so I bought it for him and for nearly one month, in our car, I've played Eighth World Wonder over and over (maybe to infinity). 

Kimberley's voice and that song, together, do something amazing to my eyes because suddenly, outside my windshield, the grey, bare-tree winter melts into something warm, nearly-green, even a little golden. That voice, that song, somehow, remind me of all that is right with my life.

Remember when I told you that while I lived depressed and pathetic in Nevada, I used to drive through the barren desert and play sad, bleeding-heart songs? Well, while driving home today with movies and lunch in the car and Kimberly Locke's voice, I shook my head and laughed at my Nevada years' foolishness. 

Listening to despairing songs in the middle of my depression was like this: being stabbed once by a stranger, and then afterward, stabbing myself again and again each new time I played a lonely, sad song. And then to expect these songs would somehow help me? Cheer me? 

Wow. What a dweeb. 

One step at a time I had to walk myself out of depression by making different choices in what I believed and thought. Every right step led to a bit more light--and when your world has been dark a couple years, even the tiniest ray of light is remarkable. And you discover there are more steps and more light until one day, you find yourself riding around in your car listening to happy-sounding songs, singing, and even the dreary winter day outside the windows looks amazing. 

Nothing looks the same anymore. It's all changed!


"Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things..." Psalm 98:1

"Even if you can’t sing well, sing. Sing to yourself. Sing in the privacy of your own home. But sing." ... Rebbe Nachman


Last week I nearly wrote a post about my pet peeves--maybe another day I will.

But, in the meanwhile, here's one of them: I hate it when people use sweeping generalizations, usually containing words like "all," "always," or "never." Ones which come to my mind? "All tv evangelists are only in it for the money," "All men nowadays are scum," "Kids today are always spoiled/thugs/shallow," or "Nothing good ever happens to me." (And the list goes on...)

Well, here's another one, one I come across every few months it seems--this month it appeared on the last page of the latest issue of the magazine, Home Companion (one of the few magazines out there which I still enjoy):

"We don't write letters anymore. We dash off email and text messages. We send our love into the world as ephemeral electrons. It won't clutter out closets, and our children won't have to sort through it when we die. It's efficient, it's convenient, and it's fast. But in one click, it's gone." ... Joseph M. Schuster

Every time I see this re-hashed, negative sentiment I ask, "Does no one own a printer? Does no one print out the extra-special email they receive from friends and lovers? What makes an email so extremely different from an old-fashioned letter? Aren't we still able, in an email, to write and express our deepest, most intimate thoughts with those we love?"

"We don't write letters anymore." Really? Who says? Personally, I write more 'letters' now than I ever did in the past--only now they're called emails. I save the most meaningful, touching emails I receive--I print them out (sometimes on special computer stationery), trim the edges with my Victorian-edged scissors, then place them, folded, inside my current diary.

 My diaries are my scrapbooks, the collections of the paper-thin memories and highlights of my days, both ordinary and extra-special. In fact, I dare you to look through my diary-scrapbooks fifty years from now and not feel as though you are holding a fun piece of old-fashioned history, the same way you would feel now, today, if you were to look through such a diary from the 1930's, with my printed-out email and all.

Why must some people (notice I did not say 'all') see today as being not nearly as good as yesterday? Why is a new package so often perceived as a bad one?


 Naomi and Carl came over for lunch to celebrate Naomi's birthday. In between caring for Tom and keeping house, I'd shopped for Naomi and given a lot of thought to this lunch and her gifts. The anticipation was sweet.

The lunch went well. The opening of the gifts went well. But afterward, Naomi gave us the bad news about her worse-than-we-dreamed financial situation and that she may need to move back home in March for a 'couple weeks'. We asked questions--made not a single accusation...did not raise our voices one mini-bit-- yet she shut down. Told Carl she was ready to leave. We offered to change the subject, but no, Naomi dragged a poor, in-the-middle-of-it-all Carl out of our house.

I sat at the table, stunned at this swirling whirlwind too reminiscent of earlier years and cried. But not many tears--by the time you've had a child for 26 years, your mother's heart has toughened a bit. You've been through this before and learned the difference between the end of the world and just another problem which someday will be a memory you can choose to keep inside a dark drawer--and forget.

I told Tom, if he wanted, I would run down to the video store and get the next disc of 24. 24 is great for taking your mind off of what is going wrong in your life. At least, it works for awhile.

He said that would be great, so he walked back to our winter room, using his cane and with his arm in the sling, and I got into the car and immediately switched on Kimberley Locke's song, Eighth World Wonder. Then out in the sunshine with that song, already the world felt better. 

Down at the video store I chatted with Brenda, the woman our age who recommended 24 to us, as though everything was just fine. With people behind me in line, there was no time to complain about the-birthday-lunch-gone-wrong.

But sometimes that's a good thing. Those few words with Brenda reminded me that life still goes on. It is ever moving forward and I need to cooperate with it, move along with it.

Then back home through the sunshine and the song again and then back in the house, Tom told me he had cried a bit while I was gone. But I told him already I felt better and I tried to share the sun and the song and the video store chat with him as reminders that yes, we will move past this day.

In a way, I was giving Tom pills for the pain--the same pills I'd been given after I left the house. But you realize the thing about those, don't you?

Pain pills heal nothing. If you only take pain pills for an ugly, gaping wound, that wound can still become infected and kill you.

Everyone knows the old saying, "Time heals all wounds." Well, Dr. Phil says "Time heals nothing," and at first I disagreed with him. Quickly I recalled how Time carried me to places beyond the wound and left it so far behind me that, even in looking backward, not one hint of pain resurfaced.

No, but now I think Dr. Phil just may be right. Time is more like a pain pill. Time can dull the pain of a gaping wound, but it cannot clean it or stitch it up so that it will heal-over, leaving just a tiny scar.

No, now I believe God heals all wounds. And we help Him by cooperating.

Maybe that's why Tom and I, both, felt a lot better after watching the 24 dvd (stay with me here... I know that sounds odd.) I think many of us never feel healed because we can't sit still long enough for any surgery God wants to perform on us. Instead we run. We run to friends and phones and professionals and liquor and food and who knows what else. We run and God cannot hold us down long enough to stitch us up. We run and God cannot hug us into wholeness again.

Maybe Tom and I felt better after watching 24 simply because we sat still. I know as I sat there, I kept one ear opened to God's whisper. He can whisper an encouraging word in just a second, but you have to wait for it. You have to expect it. You often have to sit still for it.

And when it comes, oh my, there's nothing like the healing it brings. I know, because I heard Him whisper to me that day.

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..." ... James 1:19 


It's funny-sad. You mention certain well-known people, ones who have their own talk shows, tv ministries, radio programs or those who write controversial books or newspaper columns and so often certain people bristle and exclaim, "Oh, I never listen to that person! He/she believes _________ and I totally disagree, so I stopped listening to him/her years ago."

And whenever people say something like that to me, immediately a picture flashes through my mind: I see babies spinning down bathtub drains. You know, because of that old saying, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water."

I guess I'm sensitive to that attitude because I used to be the same way. I'd hold my ten-foot pole up to anyone I disagreed with and avoid their words. 

And actually? Fear was involved. Fear that untruths would tackle me and make me believe in them, even against my will. And forever doom me.

Although yes, some teachings I avoid even to this day, namely, anything I perceive as being contrary to the Bible. I'm not talking about opening myself up to that which is, hands down, evil or anti-God.

No. But what I'm saying? I have lightened up. I've begun listening to people who I don't agree with 100%, people from way different backgrounds and thought. And I have grown. 

I've discovered that every person has something to teach me, even if it's as basic as, "Don't do what I have done. Don't let this happen to you."

I'm no longer turning the tv evangelist off just because a friend told me that she can't stand him. 

No, all people have experiences which I can learn from. Every person has pieces of wisdom just waiting for the taking, bits I would gain no other way. And will I listen long enough to actually come to care about that person or group and then pray for them out of compassion?

Perfect love casts out all fear and I'm finding the less I fear the differences in others and their beliefs, the more I am growing as a person because I received the help that others were sent here to give me. 


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