There was a story online recently about a woman who, upon her death and reading of her will, bequeathed a large sum of money to her hometown library. The entire town was in shock! This woman lived like she was penniless. She wore dresses from the sixties and seventies, bought marked down food at the grocery, walked instead of driving to conserve on gasolene, didn’t turn on her lights in the evenings until it was completely dark and then only one light at a time. At times, she went without taking her medicaitons because her Social Security check hadn’t come in yet and even though the pharmacy told her she could have credit for a few days, she refused to do so. And yet, she managed to leave over a half a million dollars to this library. No one knew she had the money, except for two people. Her banker and her lawyer. Everyone saw her as penniless when in reality, she had more money than most in this small town.
It’s five thirty in the morning and Craig has just left for the second of his two jobs, this one a recent addition for the summer. There is something that is satisfying as a parent, watching your child roll out of bed at this hour to head out to work. (Did that sound mean? I did mention it’s early, right…lol) His goal this summer? Work as hard as he can, save as much money as he can, so that he won’t have to work too many hours this fall when he starts back to school at University of Evansville. His long term goal is to graduate debt free. He’s off to a good start!
So the kitties and I saw him off to work and settled down for a little bit of quiet time. Well, almost quiet, as Bucky is in the kitchen, already fussing at the finches…that are fussing right back.
I was thinking back to some of my earliest summer jobs, aside from work at home. Babysitting was one of the earliest. Working with my uncles in Oklahoma, milking cows and farming, detasseling corn in Southern Illinois, working at Leo’s BBQ on the West Side. Good jobs…good experiences.
Our early work experiences can help to define us. We might be considered hard workers, someone dependable, self motivated, who shows up on time and has good work habits. Or the results can be less than flattering. But even with the positive attributes, sometimes it can have a negative effect on us. Ever known an actor that did a great job with a role for so long that he could never play another? We tend to label people; put them in little boxes. Put limits on what we think they can and can’t do.
Consider the plight of someone you’ve known for a long time. Let’s call him Peter. Now Peter is an okay kinda guy. Not real bright when it came to learning, but he did alright for himself. You see, Peter liked to work outside, so he went into the family business…fishing. Suits him well. Peter’s a big guy…they’ve already got the boat…everything about it just works.
Now, few years later, you notice Peter again, but he’s in a different line of work. Running around with this fellow who’s performing miracles…you know…the carpenter’s son. Now you’ve known both of them a long time. Hard workers…good reputations…but this business they’re in now…that’s another story. I mean, come on. The Messiah…the annointed one. Yeah, Jesus is who you go to for your futon or your sectional…but healing? And Peter? I mean, buying a mess of fish from him is one thing, but who’d even want a spot by him in the temple? Whew, that smell! And now he’s traveling in the company of this band of misfits. Doesn’t he know what that’s going to do to his fishing business?
I talked with a person on facebook a few weeks back that I hadn’t heard from since high school. We were catching up on families and kids and they mentioned they read something on my profile, lyrics to a song, that they didn’t recognize. I told them it was a Christian song and just kinda fit the way that I felt. They laughted…not just LOL (laughing out loud), but ROTF LOL (rolling on the floor, laughing out loud), and then totally blew me off. Yeah right…you, a Christian?? No seriously, what have you really been up to??
It’s taken me a few weeks to process it. The impressions I left behind. The way others viewed me back then (and some…still do). It’s painful to think of the person that I was then. That there were opportunities to speak for God and at the time, it was the furthest thing from my mind. That, after twenty five years, its easier for someone the think I would still be like that person, than someone who followed Christ.
It also makes me think…how many opportunities am I still missing out on? Am I that smelly fisherman, fun to be around if you need something to eat? Are people looking at me strangely, like a fish out of water, wondering what game I’m playing at? Are the signals getting mixed because the way I act or speak, depending on the day or the company I’m with? How consistent am I in my Christianity?
I think I have to think on it some more. I’m sure I have to work on it some more.