Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Caution: Under Construction

Years ago in a Vacation Bible School I heard small children sing a song, “Kids Under Construction”, a song in which they asked folks not to judge them for they were still in the process of becoming. They were kids under construction.
All of us are in the process of becoming. The amazing fact about this theory is that a young man and young woman choose each other as life partners, perhaps in their twenties, and are far from being that which they will become.
We are all under construction because a variety of outside influences affect us: death, unexpected money, children with problems, difficult jobs, etc. If both parties don’t recognize the outside influences and work to deal with them, death to the marriage occurs.
In one marriage between two folks deeply in love the wife studied to better herself. He refused to improve himself thinking he was fine as he was. Kaput went that marriage.
There was another marriage in which the wife became a high-earning realtor while the husband stayed behind and did not keep up with her either in ambition or in earning power. The marriage failed.
And yet, some of these young folks who commit do, in fact, grow into different beings and manage to stay together.
There is the young woman who began studying art and became a good artist thereby surprising her husband and friends. The husband appreciated her efforts, supported her emotionally and kept up with her intellectual growth.
In some marriages one of the parties develops a love of politics. It appears that suddenly one is catapulted on to the political scene. Quite a test, and yet some master the problems associated with a spouse holding public office, and they stay together in spite of the challenges. An accomplishment.
Yes, we are all still under construction.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The “C” word, compromise, is sometimes used to connote a lowering of one’s values. The meaning of the word in this context means that you might have abandoned your beliefs or values by agreeing to do something you would not ordinarily do.
The word, compromise, need not be an undesirable word. A situation in which two parties compromise or agree on an issue may well be a win-win: a result in which both parties can end up happy.
Compromise can be a successful strategy you may utilize in a variety of relationships: Mother-child; wife-husband; teacher-student; friend-friend; etc. A domineering member of a relationship coupled with a compliant party is doomed. Sooner or later the passive partner is going to abandon the relationship or be filled with bitterness from having been trampled over.
Even children realize when they have no input in a situation. Naturally some issues are non-negotiable. A small child cannot under any circumstances be allowed to cross the street alone. But a small child can be given a choice of this cereal or that cereal, this cookie or that cookie. Would a parent have an undesirable cereal or cookie in the home anyway? He has input into the decision and he gains self worth. The “do it because I said so” can’t be enforced all the time without some negative result.
In dealing with one another and attempting to make sure both parties agree to an issue, respect is the premise from which one works. Respecting a person is considering another person's feelings. And respect, as we all know, is something we appreciate from one another.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


A hobby is a wonderful thing to have. You give yourself time to study in depth a particular area perhaps totally unknown to you. You read about it and look up pictures for additional information. You study it and finally you take the first step.

That is how I learned to knit. I was in a new city and knew very few people. I had always heard of knitting but it looked complicated. Well now I had time to tackle something that required time and study. I bought a book, knitting needles and yarn. And I stumbled and fell and tried again and failed again. But I never gave up. I discussed it with friends who knew more than I did. And I practiced some more, and I mastered it.

What this hobby gave me was information I did not possess. It also enabled me to meet people whom I might never have met, for we spoke a common language: knitting. I made gifts of some of my knitting. I did it for pleasure and also with purpose. I knitted while watching television, and on an airplane and in a hospital. My knitting started conversations, and I answered questions.

It opened another road in my life and it has fulfilled me in so many ways. Pursuing a new hobby is much like the famous line from Robert Frost’s Poem, The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Our family lived on Main Street in a small town in Central Texas. Highway 6 took Baylor fans east to A&M to see the two teams as they played football. The next year the Aggie fans drove west to see the Aggies and the Bears engage in a football game.
Sometimes we sat on the front porch and just watched the traffic, large trucks taking farm workers from S. Texas to West Texas. Other times we saw Greyhound or Continental buses drive by loaded with folks, and we wondered what their stories were.
One day there was a knock on the front door. One of my brothers and I ran to see who it was. We left the screen door latched as the man spoke to us. "Tell your momma I am hungry. See if she can give me something to eat." We closed the door and went to give Mama the message.
She spoke to the man and told him to wait. Then she returned with some food and handed it to him. "God bless you," he told her. The man walked off. My brother said, "Did you notice his shoes were held together with baling wire?" I said, "And his hat had a piece taken out of it, like a bite? And his face was dirty. His belt had lots of holes in it like he had to move it over and over to get it to fit." "Maybe he lost weight." My brother added.
Mother spoke to us both, "When you see a person who is hungry, feed him, for it might be Jesus Christ you are feeding." We looked at her. We knew what Jesus looked like for she had pictures on her altar and the Catholic Church had Jesus on a cross. It didn't make sense.
She read our minds. "And Jesus may not look like you think he does. Just remember to feed a person when he asks you for food. You will make Jesus happy."

"Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto Me." Matthew 25:40

(originally published in Lenten Booklet at Parkway Presbyterian Church 3-3-10)