The Dudly Day
Wonderful people who love our wonderful Lord and who are serious about serving Him have met us at our every stop. We’ve been in Kentucky now for a little over a week — and it’s been the best stop yet. Of course, the fact that our son and his family are here in Independence might have something to do with that!
We have enjoyed spending time with the grandchildren. I’ve let just about everything else slip — writing, language study, etc. I have to confess, though, that I’m not sorry! I will catch up on other things later and play with babies while the sun shines.
I’m always a little suspicious of people who always write about cheerful things, because I know that life is not all sunshine and roses. I don’t want this blog to be like those Christmas letters people used to send which told all about the accomplishments and amazing good fortune their families enjoyed. I always felt like a dud in comparison, and had a suspicion that there was at least a little sorrow and disappointment that didn’t make it into the letter.
So, I’m going to share with you a bad day where I blew it. I guarantee you that it will make you feel like a normal, sane person in comparison!
It began cheerfully enough. Paul had gone to Kentucky Mountain Missions Bible conference in South Irvine, Kentucky last Thursday. I stayed home to be with the grandchildren a little longer, but traveled the two hour drive with son Paul to join him for the end of the conference on Saturday.
The first two messages were great and encouraging. Then it was Paul’s turn. Before he started, Bro. Burford introduced him. That’s when the trouble started. He said, “How many of you would be willing to leave your grandchildren behind and travel a world’s distance away from them?”
Paul punched me in the ribs, because he knew what would happen. I’m not an easy cryer — except that there are a few things that turn on the faucet of my tears automatically. One of those things is the thought of leaving my grandchildren behind and only seeing them once a year.
It’s a facet of grief, I think. I had a similar response when Paul’s dad, who was a father to me, passed away. Any mention of him or death, or even of funerals would prime my pump and the waterworks would start to flow. And it lasted for a long time, even though I had come to acceptance and peace about his death.
And I hate crying. I don’t like making a spectacle of myself and I don’t like feeling out of control. But I haven’t found a way, yet, to help it. So I sat there wiping away tears as he went on and on about grandchildren, feeling like an absolute idiot. Afterward, Paul preached and I am sure it was a good message, but I spent the whole time trying to get myself under control. I just about made it, but Bro. Burford, who obviously felt bad about my distress, spoke again, encouraging me that following the Lord when it is difficult is the best thing I can do for my grandchildren. Very true, but it sent me off into another dreaded spate of tears.
“Are you all right?” a sweet lady in the pew behind me said.
“I’m fine,” I bawled.
The church ladies had prepared a meal, but I knew I could not eat it. I felt so miserably conspicuous and just plain miserable. I could foresee that droves of kind people would try to make me feel better, and I would not be able to stop crying.
“I really need to get back,” son Paul said to his dad. “I think I may just pick up something to eat on the way home and not stay for the meal.”
A way of escape! “I’ll go with you,” I said quickly. “I’ll go get in the car now.”
He was surprised. “Don’t you want to go with Dad?” he asked. “You haven’t seen him in a couple of days. Don’t you love him anymore?”
“No,” I replied and bolted out the door to wait in the rain until he came to open the car door.
What did I say? Did I say that I didn’t love my husband? I meant that I didn’t want to go home with him, because I was acting like an idiot and crying like a baby.
Great. Wonderful impression for a missionary’s wife to make. First I act unbalanced and cry, which surely gave the impression I don’t want to go. Then I announce publicly that I don’t love my husband. Then I take off without visiting with any of the church folks. What a dud!
The next day was Sunday, and, after a sleepless night, I dragged my miserable self to church at our next stop, Grace Baptist in Florence, KY. There, instead of his mission message that he has preached several times (it gets better each time he preaches it!) Paul spoke on the parable of the talents. It spoke right to my heart. My focus has to be on serving Him, not on my own stupidity and failings. Life is about Him — loving Him, serving Him, enjoying Him. If I think of myself and my many flaws, I’ll be discouraged and depressed, but what do I matter, anyway? My God matters. Eternity matters.
Anyway, it’s better that folks see that I’m a dodo and get it over with. Then I can forget about making a good impression and look for ways to serve these folks that God brings into my life, for His sake.
But for the record, I do love my husband and I do want to go to Thailand. In fact, I was ready to go long before Paul heard God’s call. The open doors are so exciting, and the need is so great. I know that’s where we need to be.
Leaving loved ones is hard — but, like David, I won’t offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing. It doesn’t bother me at all to leave behind my house and my things. Comforts? Not important. Compared to the early missionaries, our life will be a breeze, anyway. But leaving these precious little ones is difficult. That’s not so bad — to have something costly to offer to my God.
But that doesn’t stop my stupid tears. They are dripping on my keyboard as I write. And I’m afraid that I’m doomed to crying at every church service where the pastor mentions grandchildren. I’ll just have to take a lot of Kleenex, and a lot of humility with me!
On the road to Thailand,