Friday, February 25, 2011

Connections of Faith in Culture

Since I was a little girl, I have been a huge fan of The Waltons.  I saw the originals in the 70’s and watched the reruns as much as possible.  For the last couple of years, I have been asking for the DVD’s at Christmas and for birthdays.  I am sporting the original movie and seasons one through three.  I love the stories of family love and overcoming struggles in day to day life.  The truths they portray in the episodes still resonate with the core values of Christian living.  When I was a kid, I loved Elizabeth and Erin.  Watching the show in my twenties, I related to Mary Ellen and her stubborn determination to concur the world.  Now in my, hum, more mature years, I relate with Olivia.  However, I must admit John Boy has always been my favorite and his story inspires me.  It may be that we are both the oldest in our family or it may be that we are kindred spirits in the written word.
                Today after my eye appointment, I couldn’t see up close because of my dilated pupils.  So, I took the opportunity to relax a little and watch an episode or two of season three.  JimBob, the second youngest of the Walton crew, is in charge of taking care of the school guinea pig.  During the night, the critter falls off the dresser and dies.  JimBob tries to tell his middle brothers, but they are too busy teasing him to listen.  John Boy is on his way to the university, takes a few moments to listen, but alas has to leave.  His mother is busy taking care of sick Elizabeth and grumbles at him to go play.  (How many times have I done that as a mom?)  The sisters growl at him about the stupid animal.  The last straw is when his grandfather and father tell him to run along because they are trying to get wood cut for a customer.  He decides to run away.  As is the formula for most television shows, all end wells by the end of the story.  The father apologizes for not listening to JimBob.  The young boy says, “It’s okay, next time I will make you listen.”  This struck a chord.
                Most of us have a beautiful life.  We have our ups and downs, but still we are blessed.  How many times do we not talk to God because our needs seem so insignificant?  Why should He listen to me about my aches and pains when people with cancer are dying?  And does He even listen anyway?  Let’s face it.  We all go through dry spells when we feel He is so far away helping others while we plod along.  There is also the “martyr” mentality where we sacrifice our problems by keeping them to ourselves so God doesn’t have to bother with us.
                While my husband was in Iraq, I struggled with negative people in my life.  Many of them I let make me feel like I was a bad mother and wife.  I also struggled with panic attacks because my husband was in harm’s way.  His job was infantry.  I had a couple of prayers on my desk at work that I prayed many times throughout the day.  I prayed at home and I prayed myself to sleep.  I tried to be stoic and pray for others while I was struggling.  Finally, I needed to make Jesus listen.  I remember the day.  I had left work for the day and was crying myself home.  I turned up Head Lane and finally I cried out to Jesus, “You put me in this mess.  I need you here right now!”  Imagine a three year old throwing a fit for ice cream and you have an accurate picture of my attitude.  All of a sudden, the cab of the pickup filled with a tremendous peace.  I held my hand out to the passenger seat and Jesus was there.  I made God listen that day.  Granted, I know He listens all the time, but there are moments we need to be 100% more persistent.
                Don’t be afraid or think your needs are trivial.  Go to your father in heaven as JimBob would go to his father in times of need and make Him listen.
                Blessing to you all.

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