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You know that pain is a prevalent thing in life. It seems that no matter what you do, or where you go, some degree of pain may accompany you on your trip. You think I’m being silly, don’t you, but let’s think about it. If you were raised in a family that always planted a garden in the summer, there certainly was a lot of pain associated with that.
Now, my family didn’t plant a garden, because although we lived in Monteagle, my parents grew up in Pelham, which is the largest garden of all! One couldn’t stop and visit anywhere without leaving with a mess of greens, corn on the cob, tomatoes, okra, green beans, or whatever was being harvested at that time. Of course, if you made enough stops along the way, you wound up with enough to can or freeze! My daddy did like to visit!
Anyway, mama kept me busy helping her put up all the goodies that were brought into our house. And, believe you me, there was definitely pain involved in all of that. By the time you’ve finished breaking three bushels of green beans, even my young back hurt, not to mention my fingers. Then there were the tomatoes, or perhaps they came before the green beans, I can’t remember (Mad Cow Disease, you know). Who would have thought you could do so much with a tomato. We had to just can some tomatoes, but then we had to can some soup mix, too! It didn’t make a whole lotta sense to me to can tomatoes to be used in making soup if you already had the soup mix stuff! Oh well, what did I know? I was a mere child.
Then there was the corn on the cob – shucking it wasn’t bad, and freezing it on the cob wasn’t either, but cutting it off the cob for creamed style, well, let’s just say if it weren’t for MacKenzie’s in the tube at the grocery store, MY family wouldn’t know what creamed style corn tasted like! After all the summer veggies were finished, we’d face a mountain of turnip greens, well, maybe not a mountain, maybe a hill of them, and if truth be told, maybe there was just enough for three or four messes, but to a child who did not like turnip greens, however many there were, it was too many! Every time we had them I had to sit at the table until I could force them down. That was my generation’s equivalent of “Tough Love!” PAINFUL is what it was! However, I did learn to love turnip greens. Why, I’d love to have a mess of them right now (hint, hint!). So, you see, all that gardening stuff was painful in the beginning and in the end because you wound up eating so much of the good stuff that you got indigestion, acid reflux, and a tight waist band…PAINFUL.
Now that we’ve eaten, it’s time for a little sleep. I don’t know about your mama, but my mother believed in rotating and flipping the mattress regularly. She felt it slept better that way. Also, when the sheets were washed every week, the pillowcases had to be ironed! Ironed, I say. I always wondered just exactly why that was a necessity! We had a winter/summer porch enclosed room where the hot water heater, and the washer and dryer were located. In the summer it was a nice comfortable room with the windows up IF you weren’t doing anything like ironing, but in the winter it was nice and cold with the windows shut IF you were doing anything at all!
At least, that’s the way I remember it, because for an entire year I took piano lessons and had to practice out there in that cold room for an hour every day. It was my aunt Henrietta’s idea of making me into a lady, I think, a plan which sorely flopped, and PAINFUL is what it was. It must have been painful for my mama, too, because she let me quit with absolutely no argument after I had done my time. I must have been about 7, 8, or 9 when I was an indentured servant at Henrietta’s behest. OOPS! I got off point again…back to sleeping. Changing bed covers, ironing pillowcases, and swapping the mattresses around all involved some pain. So you see, something as easy as sleeping can be painful. I find that even more now that my knees have arthritis and want to rebel no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Sometimes even just trying to sleep is
PAINFUL! I’ve done a right good job giving you the impression that I spent a lot of time working in my youth…heh, heh, heh! NOT! I was as spoiled and lazy as the best of them, but my mama did make me do some things around the house so that I could learn “responsibility.” Henrietta used to try reverse psychology on me and tell me what all Peggy Sue and Diane were doing for Mary Ellen in Pelham, but I didn’t live in the garden spot of God’s Country, so I did not buy into all of that. I also knew that they played a lot of ball, too, so the reverse psychology did not work for me. It didn’t work on my daughter Anna, either, but that’s another story for another time!
I mentioned playing, and that is something that is dangerous in its own way; just look at all the scars on your body and I’ll almost guarantee that a good many of them were gained from just playing. I have a nice scar on my leg from swinging in a tire swing at Brenda Rose’s house one day. I got myself twisted and wound up swiping the doghouse and bought myself a one-inch chunk of wood in my leg. It looked like a wooden peg a quarter inch in diameter. I’m still proud of that one! However, that’s just one of the times that playing was PAINFUL! Not to mention all the scars from riding a bicycle, or rather falling off of one, or running in the yard and using my knees to plow up the earth. Hmm, sometimes just walking on a sidewalk causes scars if the sidewalk jumps up and meets you in the face. PAINFUL, I’ll say.
You know, come to think about it, sometimes just riding in the car can be painful. When I was about five, my mama and I were leaving my aunt Henrietta’s on a foggy winter day, and as we were about to pull out onto Highway 41, my very intelligent mother asked me if anything was coming, get this, she asked ME, in the FOG, if anything was coming! Of course I told her nothing was coming at all. I didn’t see that Greyhound Bus! Nah, just kidding, it was just a car and I woke up in the hospital with a fractured skull. Now see, I have a legitimate excuse for how I am…what’s your explanation? However, PAINFUL is what that road trip was.
I have spent a good part of today working on the March newsletter for our church. And, I’ll have to tell you it has been a PAINFUL endeavor for me. I usually really enjoy working on our newsletter, but today it has been difficult. I found myself wanting to cry. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? It’s not though, if you just think about it. So much of what I have worked with concerns our plans for the Holy Week and Easter. I’ve looked at so much clipart and images depicting nail-scarred hands, wreaths of thorns, and faces of agony that it made me cry because of all of the PAIN my savior experienced for me, and that realization is extremely PAINFUL to me. That may sound a little selfish to you because you know that Jesus died for ALL of us, not just me, but SALVATION is a personal experience, and if we really stop to consider exactly what Christ did for us, it should be PAINFUL to all of us!
If you let your mind drift a bit as you ponder your own scars, you might recall just a hint of the pain you felt as you got your various boo-boos. Hopefully, most of those memories have faded with time. Some of your pain may have been so severe that you dare not even let your mind backtrack at all. I’m sorry for that, because I realize that many people have suffered far worse than I could ever imagine. However, every person has had some degree of suffering in their life, whether it is physical, emotional, or spiritual.
So, as you remember the myriad times you have felt pain, let’s experience our Savior’s pain together, shall we? Close your eyes for a second and really picture the Crucifixion in your mind. Imagine Jesus being nailed to the cross, hear each strike of the hammer, listen to His moans of agony as each nail pierces His flesh, imagine that you prick your fingertips on those sharp thorns that encircle his head, anticipate the excruciating pain Jesus feels as His skin stretches and rips at the nail sites from the weight of His own body. Envision the blood oozing from the holes in His body. Trace His tears as they course down His sad lonely face. Now, reach out with the hem of your garment and dry them.
Then, understand that He shed those tears and His blood freely for YOU and ME. Yes, PAINFUL is what Christ’s Crucifixion is to me. I am joyous that He arose! I KNOW that He lives! I believe that He is coming back for me, but I also realize that what He suffered for me was beyond my comprehension, and what I have received because of His pain is immeasurable. For that precious gift called SALVATION, all I can say is, “Thank You Jesus,” your most humble servant, Margaret.