Friday, April 15, 2011

Lesson 46: 50 Powerful Words

I was explained the concept of "spiritual maturity" this past week.  It was a concept I had never considered before and was best illustrated through my son, Sam.  Hang on through the serious stuff, because you can be sure with the mere mention of Sam's name, something funny is sure to follow.

Pastor explained that we are all growing along a continuum of understanding about spirituality.  The plan is that through living and learning and loving and even suffering, we grow stronger in our faith and are continually learning new things.  There were a few things I had wrong that I thought were right and when I discovered that, I couldn't figure out how I had been so blind.  Pastor, in his kind and gentle way, assured me that making discoveries such as the ones I made that week were natural and part of being human.  He illustrated how that when we are young children we learn the "people" of the Bible.  Then we mature and learn the stories, the Commandments, and the verses that connect us to it all.  When we begin to connect the meaning behind the words and feel them in our hearts, it is then we make the big connections, when we are ready to and have more maturity.  We then just don't "go to church" but we are there and actively listening and applying what we learned to our daily lives.

Louie and I always ask our children what Sunday school was about on the way home from church every week.  Poor Ellen.  The task always falls on her as Natalie isn't a champ in the expressive language category but always manages to smile and say, "Church good.  Jesus."  Good enough for us.  The message got through.  Sam, on the other hand, usually tells us "who was bad" (never him, of course), what snack they had, and who tried to take his chair. 

Last week we told Sam before he trotted down (scratch that--ran down) to the church basement for Sunday school, that he needed to listen and think about the lesson, and tell us about it when he came back up.  He looked up at us with those big, blue eyes and nodded in his fake-angelic way.  After church we were waiting for him in the narthex and we saw the double doors burst open.  Flying through it at top speed was Sam, carrying two cut out figures glued onto Popsicle sticks.  He crashed into me at top speed, almost knocking me over, hugging my legs and poking my butt with the ends of the wooden sticks.  "Mommy, I paid attention!" he cried. 

The figures appeared to be of Peter and the rooster.  We assumed the lesson was one leading up to Easter, about Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crowed.  When we asked Sam to tell us about them he exclaimed with great excitement, "This is a guy and this is a chicken!"  My family and everyone in earshot got a chuckle out of that one.

This showed me that Pastor is right--we do all grow.  I cannot expect Sam to understand all of it at this level of his maturity.  I am happy with where he is now---the guy and chicken stage of development.  He's learning the people, then the stories, then will come the verses with lots and lots of words.  It is when he begins to connect meaning to those words through good teaching and guidance that the realness of it all begins to happen.  From there his heart will change as well as his thoughts, words, and deeds. 

This has led me to thinking a lot about words this week.  I suppose that is because I write lots and lots of them between my job and my blogging hobby.  Words are only just letters put together, sometimes phonetically (remember, I speak English, Slovenians, our language doesn't always make sense), and are essentially worthless unless truth and meaning are behind them.  Otherwise they are just letters on a page. When words connect to meaning, and the understanding brings about living, breathing actions--that is where we can begin to really live by our words and more importantly The Word.

I found this youtube clip and it is one of my favorites.  The 50 Powerful Words that Uplift and Inspire deserve some recognition on my blog.  Since you know that I have a "thing" for numbers, you sense the message must be timely for me to post them as Lesson 46 instead of waiting until Lesson 50.  I felt a sense of urgency to share them; they couldn't wait.  Many of my followers are "wordy" people--obviously because you like to read and are enjoying this blog.  You will surely love this.  But even for you logical-mathematical minds who would rather solve an algorithm, you may enjoy the nature footage.  We surely do live in a world full of beauty.  Take some time to watch this clip.  Watch it twice if you have to--once for the words and once more to soak in the beauty of nature.  There is something for everyone on this clip.

From my reflections this week I have learned that I am nothing but a work in progress, no matter how high of standards I set for myself.  Just another flawed human on the continuum of spiritual maturity.   I am learning and growing and loving and making mistakes.  Through this process I believe that by including these words in my vernacular, more growth will come.  So, I will do what Eloise does best--learn new vocabulary in the way I encourage my students to.  I am going make my own copy of these words and post my list in a very special place so I can refer to them again and again until they become part of me. 

Hmmm...... decisions, decisions.  Where should I put this very special, life changing list?  My special place needs to be somewhere I frequent and I go to every day...... Got it!  They are going on the 'frig.  Perfect.  (Don't judge, Slovenians--it is just what we do--Americans, like our language, are hard to understand, too).

Peace--which means state of tranquility; freedom from disturbance (Sam's in bed, so I can write this in truth),

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