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I love to learn new things! It means my mind is not stagnant and like Hercule Poiroit, (the equivalent of Perry Mason or Matlock only of Belgium descent), says, “Ah, zee little gray cells, zay are working!” One thing that I have recently learned is that new towels are coated with some kind of sealant that keeps them safe and protects them from insects and bugs during shipment? I didn’t know that!
Also, did you know that you are supposed to wash ALL new towels in vinegar BEFORE you use them to remove that sealant? I didn’t know that either! Apparently, the vinegar restores the natural softness and absorbency to the towels. Well, who’d a thunk? I have thought about the many, many times throughout my life when new towels were bought, and I fussed when they did not absorb as I had thought they would…silly me! Had I only known! When I read that bit of trivia, I thought, Well, I didn’t know that! Wish I had, but I just didn’t have a clue!
I was reading a book lately in which the characters took a walk down memory lane and were discussing just how far they had come in life. Information could now be disseminated in so many ways instead of the days when they had to use mimeograph machines to run off copies. I paused and thought mimeograph machines? Well, that’s what we used when I first started teaching. We either typed or wrote out the information and then tore off the cover sheet where the ink underneath had made a carbon copy, then we put that piece of paper on the mimeograph machine and ran off the number of copies we needed. The print on the paper was purple, of course!
As I continued reading, the story went on to describe the ill effects of using such a machine. It seems the liquid used in the machine was made of methyl alcohol which if used frequently caused giddiness, euphoria, blurred vision…I thought my word…we were getting high on the fumes while we made the copies for our kiddos! As I lay in bed reading all of this, I thought to myself, Well, I didn’t know that! Wish I had, but I just didn’t have a clue!
I don’t really like telling off on myself – it was much more fun to tell all of the funny things Kenneth had done rather than rat on myself, but I fear he might just drop in on me from above and whisper, I TOLD YOU NOT TO WRITE ABOUT ME ANYMORE. YOU’VE TOLD EVERYBODY TOO MUCH ABOUT ME AS IT IS! Well, that’s because he has done more things that I find funny. But there was this one time when he and Tyson were discussing some kind of sports thing.
Now, you must understand that WE have never been a big sports family. Back in the days when there were only three channels on T.V., it caused all of us much distress that there was no good movie to be found when all three stations were broadcasting a sports venue. However, when Tyson went away to college and got out from under his parents’ roof, he became interested in lots of different things, and sports happened to be one of them.
Anyway, the three of us were sitting at our kitchen counter and the two men had been bantering back and forth about the pros and cons of something sports related. Out of the clear blue Kenneth looked at me and said, “Margaret, just what conference DO we play in?” He’s asking me this question when I am the one who only wanted to find a good Charlie Chan or Tarzan movie! I looked first at Kenneth, then at Tyson, hoping to see the name written on their forehead. I said, “Wellll ummm ahhhh, then my brain kicked in gear, and I was like Carnac on Johnny Carson’s show – I knew the answer. I squared my shoulders, held my head up high, cleared my throat and said these propitious words…when I went to MTSU I saw a banner in the gym that said the Ohio Valley Conference!” They just looked at each other and smirked. Turns out THEY had been discussing UT! It wouldn’t have mattered. I would have thought UT played in the Ohio Valley Conference as well, however, I really was glad that I hadn’t gone with my first choice, which was the Tennessee Valley Conference. I obviously thought SVEC (Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative) and SEC (South East Conference) were synonymous! Well, how was I to know? Wish I had, but I just didn’t have a clue!
And for this one, I kind of wish I were a good Catholic so I could do some kind of saying for atonement, like three Hail Marys or something, but I’m not, I’m a Methodist, so I truly hope I don’t get a letter from a Bishop somewhere for this one. You remember the story about the child who wanted to sing the song Gladly the “Cross-eyed” Bear? Well, this one is the adult version.
This past Christmas Lauren, Adam, Cooper and I were sitting around the tree talking about the reason for the season. Adam, like Kenneth, is a history buff but far more important than that, he PAYS ATTENTION! We were talking about Christ’s birth and out of left field Adam said, “You know the Wisemen were not at Jesus’ birth.” I just looked at him like I looked at Kenneth and Tyson over the SEC, and said, “Huh? Have you ever discussed this with Kenneth?” I don’t know why I thought that a discussion with Kenneth would have verified Adam’s claim. The Bible does that, but Kenneth would have loved discussing the Biblical as well as the historical implications. Kenneth could have told you exactly where he thought the Wisemen were, and he would have traced their travel on a map. He would have explained the major developments in the world, as it was then, and the implications of all that is happening in our world today.
In other words, Kenneth would have been watching, reading, and thinking about how history repeats itself. He would have informed us of the things now occurring which is heralding Christ’s second coming. But, back to me; I have heard THE story of Jesus’ birth all of my life, but like that little child who got the name of the song wrong, I had gotten all of the players in one of the most important stories of life out of sync. My world was rocked! I said, “But…but…but the Wisemen are in ALL of the nativity scenes you ever see!” More enlightened words of wisdom! Adam said, “Yes, they’re there because they eventually made it there. The star was shining so brightly that they just followed it until they found the baby Jesus and gave him their gifts!” I’m like yeah, yeah, yeah…gold, frankincense, and myrrh…I actually did get that part.
But for weeks, I was bothered by my lack of full understanding and this epiphany…not only is an epiphany that cha ching moment when the light bulb clicks on for you, and you really get the whole concept; it’s also the day Christians celebrate the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi, the Wisemen, well, duh! Hopefully, somewhere deep, deep, deep inside I really DID know that these people were not present at the actual birth of Jesus, but for some reason I had a brain hiccup and my synapses weren’t firing on all cylinders the night Adam and I had this discussion!
So, I silently sat there thinking, hmm, then when the nativity scene is enacted at church, there should be a time lapse before the Wisemen enter the scene; everyone should NOT enter at the same time; there might be some child sitting there taking it all in, who grows up to one day realize they too had a hiccup in their understanding. Of course, we couldn’t sit there for twelve days awaiting the arrival of the Wisemen on the scene, but perhaps a two-minute interval might be sufficient!
Pondering on that hiccup in my religious development has made me wonder how many other things in church I have listened to but not heard. I know I got the main gist of it…for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV)…Believe that Jesus died so that I might be saved eternally…repent…Pray…ask for forgiveness…serve the Lord…Pray…live each minute of every day as if it might be our last…Pray…praise Him every step of the way…Pray…Believe in the Holy Trinity, God The Father, The Son, The Holy Ghost…Pray…but until that time, I’m gonna put those three Wisemen at the other end of the house, and rather than hunt for an elf on a shelf, I will search daily for the three Wisemen as they slowly follow the light to the rest of the nativity scene!
You may wonder why on earth I would reveal such an embarrassing story to you. Well, it’s simple…if I can have an epiphany at such a ripe old age; about something I have heard about my whole life, there very likely are others out there who may not have put the whole picture into its proper perspective as well. As Christians have we totally grasped everything we have been told on the concepts of forgiveness, selflessness, perseverance, loyalty, integrity, conviction and commitment, just to name a few? I know I am a work in progress, and God (like Kenneth) must often look at me and shake His head thinking, she’s come a long way, but there is so much to do and so little time.
My oldest grandson is a very reluctant reader. His mind takes him to places and thoughts beyond his years. For instance, in the Williamson County school district, it is a rule that any child who scores an equivalent of a “C” on the TCAP reading MUST attend summer school. Anything lower just will not be accepted. Jacob’s parents have been trying to instill this serious consequence in Jacob’s head, and are always stressing the importance of doing well on the test.
Like I said, Jacob is a reluctant reader. However, when he picks out a book that really interests him, he becomes an avid reader. Case in point…Jacob’s latest book, which he chose, is a chapter book on the life of Jesus! Put questions about that book on the TCAP and no one would have to wonder if Jacob was going to stay focused on the test until its completion! While lying in bed one night Jacob said, “Dad, do you know what I want to be when I grow up?” Tyson inquired what that might be. Jacob told his dad he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. Tyson said, “Well, Jacob, I think that is a very fine calling indeed, but tell me why do you think you want to be a preacher.” Jacob told his dad that he felt like he really needed to tell people about God. “Oh yeah, and I want to be baptized, too,” Jacob told his dad, “because God lives in me, and I want to be baptized so that others can know that He lives in me!”
Now, I know we change our minds myriad times as we grow up, and our choices of our future vocation changes as well. I will tell you this, however, Jacob’s dad was only three when he told me he was going to be a doctor, and in that decision he never waivered. So, who knows, one day we might just have a preacher who can share his grandfather Bapa’s love of history and knowledge of the Bible with poor little souls like me who at times may say, “Well, I didn’t know that!”
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you (Psalms 8:2 NLT). But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:16 KJV)…and that, dear friends, is something I do know!