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life lessons


They are oh so simple, but they are always learned the hard way.

I can remember one lesson that began even before I went to school, with Mom, probably all of 26 or 27, and I, and maybe my oldest younger brother, looking at the colorful pictures in our big family Bible while she related some of the stories she knew from her own childhood.

Adam and Eve.
Noah's Ark ... and how DID he get all those animals on that little boat?
Cain and Abel
And the story of Jesus ... the most memorable and strangest of all, which started so cutely, when he was born in that little manger, but got really scary later on.

I went from Goldilocks, the Three Little Pigs, Red Riding Hood, etc., to this story of this guy Jesus, who happened to be a really good person but some mean people killed him by nailing him to a cross.

Mind you, God to me was an Old Man with a long beard who lived in the clouds and made everything ... except houses and stuff as I later found out when I saw some builders actually building one.

To be honest, I was a little frightened that people were like that in the olden days, that they were real, not like the Big Bad Wolf and the mean old witch (even though she gave me nightmares) and wondered what would make people do things like that to such a nice man.

How could you do good things, help so many people, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and people would want to kill you?

I found out later what the whole deal was all about. I also learned that people haven’t changed very much, and have may gotten worse.

I was quite the little instigator from my early youth … very quiet, everyone who is old enough to remember tells me, but very smart, and always asking questions, and speaking out against things I felt were wrong.

In school - especially religion class
In my neighborhood.
On the playground.
In the homes of relatives and friends.
In college.
In the workplace.
In the newspapers.

I was the one speaking up for the maltreated, the poor slob that was being exploited by his peers, the old black man walking past the school playground the kids at school were taunting, unfairness, selfishness, greed, cheating ... I spoke up for minorities, women, people with unpopular lifestyles and opinions, against racism, bigotry, gossiping, character assassination, cronyism … you name it and I spoke my piece.

With fluency.

And usually alone.

But the one constant I noted in all that time was that, by and large, the people around you who sometimes would cheer you on in the beginning, would almost always disappoint you when the chips were down … when things seemed not to be going your way ... when you met resistance.

Some might even turn on you.

I was thinking back today about all those little battles I had with people, and the people I was trying to help, when I remembered those early Bible stories.

Mom had told us how Jesus’ disciples all abandoned him when things turned bad. In fact, He predicted they would, and told his biggest, baddest disciple of all, Peter, that he would deny even knowing Him.

I was very sad when I thought about all that stuff as a child, how his friends ran away, and how they beat Jesus, and nailed Him to that cross, and how sad his own mom must have been.

But then, guess what? Mom told me, because he was God’s Son, He raised Him up from the dead (how scary is that?) but He came back better than ever. And He went through all that just because of us. Because He wanted us to know there is a God and that He loves us and wants us so badly to want to be with Him in Heaven.

That's what my mom said so it must be true.

So it doesn’t bother me to much knowing people have disappointed little old me, and will disappoint me. Heck, I’ve probably disappointed more people than I know. But knowing that story helps a lot, and puts all my own disappointments into context.

And that you just can't keep a good man down ... or a good idea ... or the plain unvarnished truth.

Now you may not believe any of this, and that’s fine ... but you never met my mom. She's in Heaven now so you won't meet her unless you go there. She's really nice so I do recommend you try. My dad went to be with her a little over 2 months ago. I learned a lot from him too. One day I hope to be able to tell them how much.

It takes a lot of faith to believe something your mind tells you isn’t likely to be true. That is certainty the case, no matter what you think about anything.

But it’s good to remember how there was a time when you weren’t so “wise”. That the lessons taught to us in our innocence may take time to begin their bloom, but they eventually blossom, and can carry you through a lifetime.

Happy Easter.


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