Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Different Kind of Bible Story

God has a sense of humor and I can prove it.

Between my twin sister, Kathie, and I - I was the most mechanically inclined.  If it could be taken apart, examined, and reassembled I would do it.  I was curious how things worked.  Left over parts never worried me.

Kathie was more domestically minded.  She’d be in the kitchen with Mom learning how to make fudge while I was in the garage handing Dad screwdrivers and 3/16” open-ended wrenches.  Not a typical 10-year-old girl.  Life was an adventure meant to be lived on the front of your favorite tee shirt.

I had my heart set on a series of miniature soldiers at Woolworth Department Store on the Square in downtown Bedford.  My parents couldn’t afford to buy us toys whenever we wanted so many of my toys were homemade out of paper milk cartons and sticks.

 So I came up with my own plan.  I rigged a toy laundry basket between the handlebars of my stingray bicycle and each week I would peddle up and down the highway in front of our house and collect all the discarded soda bottles.  When my basket was full I would redeem the bottles for five cents apiece at Wray’s Grocery, a small mom and pop grocery across the street from where we lived.  I saved up my money so each week I could purchase another set in the series.

Kathie wasn’t much for long term investing at the time.  When she cashed in her bottles she spent it on penny candy and gumball surprises.  One day she put a nickel in the gumball machine and something besides a rubbery alien or gold plastic ring fell out.  Inside the clear plastic egg was a tiny plastic Bible that when you held it to the light and peered through the end you could read the Lord’s Prayer.  Kathie loved it.  It was the best thing she could have imagined and after that she carried it with her wherever she went - including school.

Like I said, my parents didn’t have a lot of extra money.  It was rare for them to take an evening out for dinner and a movie.  Usually when they did go on a “date” a relative would sit for us, but this particular night they left us with a baby sitter.

 May parents never allowed us in their bedroom, which made me all the more curious.  That’s why, once they left, I took the opportunity to go and stand just inside the door and look around.  I didn’t want to touch anything.  I was just trying to figure out the mystery.

Kathie had decided to take a bath that evening.  Of course she took her tiny plastic Bible into the tub with her.  Somehow she accidentally dropped it into the soapy water.  By the time she found it water had gotten inside so you could no longer read the Lord’s Prayer.  Upset and barely dry from her bath she found me standing in our parent’s room and begged me to fix it.

I examined the small toy and, after careful consideration, determined that if water had gotten in - water should to come out.  I carefully positioned the tiny Bible between my fingers and began to suck the water out.  As fast as you could say, “Amen to that!” the Bible slipped from my fingers and I swallowed it.

Kathie immediately noticed the absence of her beloved “Bible” and demanded that I return it.  I, at that point, had started some serious choking.  The Bible had lodged itself somewhere in the vicinity of my larynx.  After much effort I managed to get it down.

When I could finally speak I explained to my sister that I had swallowed it.  She couldn’t believe it.  Neither could the babysitter.

When Mom and Dad got home later that evening we explained the situation to them.  Mom was hardly surprised.  I was the know choker in the family.  I could choke on mashed potatoes (although stewed tomatoes were my specialty).

Mom, who took me down to the small town emergency room of the local hospital for lack of a better alternative, had the joy of engaging in the conversation below:

ER Nurse: "May I help you?"  [Very professional, even for a small town hospital.]

My Mother: "Yes!"  [She yanks me by the arm towards the desk.]

 ER Nurse:  "What seems to be the problem?"  [This is triage.  Looking me over she can't help but notice I appear perfectly healthy.]

 My Mother: “My daughter swallowed a Bible."  [She says this without cracking a smile.]

ER Nurse: "A what?!"

 My Mother: "A Bible."  [Once again without a smile.  She is not in the mood to go into detail.]

[Here there is a long moment of silence and a lot of staring.]

 ER Nurse: “Please fill out this form.  A doctor will be with you shortly."  [She looks at me in disbelief.  I stick my tongue out at her.]

 After the doctor examined me he explained to my Mother that nature would take its course and to wait for the expected results.

Until then I was the focus of remarks such as, “Kristie loves the Word so much she carries it around inside of her”, “Kristie eats the Word”, and my favorite . . . “This too shall pass”.

© 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Man Who Had No Name

There was a man who had no name, so he went searching for someone who might look into his face and recognize him and call to him and tell him who he was.

He roamed through all the cities and towns, but there was no one who could satisfy his search.

He walked a ways out into the countryside where there was no hustle of commerce or society of man; where the songs of birds and rustle of wind in the leaves gave him rest from his searching - for his quest had made him so tired.

He sat under the shade of a tree to rest his weary feet and he listened.  He listened to the wind.  He listened to the songs of the birds.  He listened to the tumble of the brook and the chatter of the squirrels.  And he rested.  His mind roamed the hillsides in thought.

"The Wind," he said, "Is simply the wind."

"The Water," he said, "Is simply the water."

"The Earth," he said, "Is simply the earth."

“And God,” he said, “who created all things upon the earth - knows exactly who I am."

© 2009