My dad always told me that confession is good for the soul. Maybe … but it can also be very bad for the reputation. Even so, I’m risking my reputation with you by letting you in on a little secret.
Ready? Here goes.
I have an obsession … with the burners on my stove. I’m driven to keep them spotless and gleaming.
Now that I own a gas stove, this dysfunctional issue may not require therapy, but it wasn’t always this way. I once hovered over the burners on my electric range—the pans, rims, and surface beneath were all targets of my compulsion.
Now, before you put me on your prayer list, let me explain.
When I went to China, I got to meet some of Phil’s students. Oh, I guess I should tell you that was the reason we got to go on such an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip; Phil was invited to teach at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China. While we were there, I got to visit his Venue Management class and meet his students.
Phil had told them I was blind and they were curious and asked lots of the usual questions like, “How do you ___?”(fill in the blank). There are a million “How do you do___? ” kinds of questions when you’re blind, but one young woman’s question totally blew me away — it was very revealing.
In broken, but very good English, she asked: “When you became blind, were you afraid people would be ashamed of you or your family would not love you?”
I overheard the ladies at the table near me in my favorite tea room. They were deep in conversation. The shop was small and they were loud, so I could hear every negative and complaining word — even without trying! One was obsessed with how her husband didn’t measure up to her standards; the other was consumed with bitterness over a boss who she didn’t think valued her as she thought she deserved.
It struck me that they were both miserable — not because of what they lacked, but because of what they had. One was married; she had a husband, security and companionship. The other was employed; she had a job which provided her security and income. Yet, both were miserable and discontent with the portion they had.
I’ve been there too. That’s probably why their conversation struck such a familiar tone with in me! I often complain about what I have, overlooking the blessing it really is.
Sometimes we girls just feel spent, right? And, when we are flat out overwhelmed and running on empty, I don’t know about you, but that is when my feelings start to get really wobbly! We may be physically spent, emotionally raw, mentally zapped or spiritually dry. Can I get a witness?!
That’s what my sweet southern grandma used to tell me every time I visited her. “Mama” taught me a lot through her words and her life. I giggle now at that stern admonishment. As a little girl I vowed I would never watch one — even though I had no idea what in the world a “so-popper” was.
Now, be aware that each time my petite Mama preached her anti-so-popper doctrine; she was sipping a Coca-Cola and her eyes were glued to Days of our Lives or All My Children.
It was not until I was a young adult that I finally realized what she was actually warning me against. The words “soap operas” had gotten lost in her thick as sweet-southern-molasses Georgia accent. While that is actually really good advice from my grandmother, even greater wisdom comes from her favorite Psalm. She quoted it to me often. (Just not during the soaps!)