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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Authentic Perspective

There are three things I am deeply devoted to, God, my family and this country. I posted a picture on fb of me standing next to,( in my opinion, remember this is my blog) the best ever former President George Walker Bush. As I stand there on someones else's dime, the dream of my lifetime, I have to think how deceptive  a picture or image can be. You see this reception was 500.00 per ticket and the "Forum" we had attended that week was an additional 1000.00. So, you could say we "looked" the part. But their was also a measure of hypocrisy. May I also say that ole' Texas boy didn't disappoint!!  He was funny, witty, warm, charming and bigger than life, as I had imagined he would be, cowboy boots and all! And, no, he wasn't drunk; actually a joke he used about himself.  This is one of the things I love about him, his ability to laugh at himself! As I look at that picture I have to  laugh; as I mingled with those folk from the upper class, the  aristocracy, it dawned on me I had fooled them. I am very good at looking the part. You see if one woman asked me every woman there asked me, "Oh my, where did you get that coat? Prada, Ralph :Lauren spring collection?" I had purchased that coat at a Goodwill on the way to the Forum. So as I stood there smiling, my secrets went deeper than that London fog jacket. Then I thought backward some months, as I layed awake, dreading the next morning, knowing I had to put my children on as assisted lunch, I cried out, "God, why and how am I going to have any legitimacy? I cannot change who I am, where I came from, or throw away my things. Yet I am no better than the others who find themselves in these situations."  But this is not what this is about. This was about me finding my skin, my place in all this. God meeting with me. "God you have got to give me peace or I cannot face this. And I can tell you it was not a matter of pride. I could not stress and scrape daily for their lunch needs anymore. And I would willingly be humiliated and degraded for them. "God if I show up looking like I look they will assume I am a fraud, If I go "staged", looking different than  who I am, I am a fraud. Please help me! I am so conflicted and torn." As I tossed and turned and morning came, it came to me that the unadulterated truth would be the absolute best. So I got dressed, as if I were meeting Friends for lunch, and sat down and told that state worker our story, the truth. She stood up, came round the other side of her desk, and sat  knee to knee with me, and held my hand, and said it was done. If their was anything I needed just call her. She was the HEAD of the entire county. The lady I was to see had called in sick. God had smiled on me that day. So from that day forth I realized I would be who I am, which is why I dress, everyday, the way I do, not for show, or appointments, or Kenny, but because I love to. I will maintain my dignity and my uniqueness even though my circumstances may not support it. I had developed these traits and characteristics long before I came here and I will take them with me when I leave. I have made connections with  social service workers that, to this day, have become very dear friends of mine, despite the fact that I didnt convert or become something I am not. That seems to be the thing they love the most about me. They have been one more foundational stone layed in holding up our family by this great nation that I proudly call my own. Wyatt and I were riding alone one day and he was staring out the window and he said,  "Mom  this is a great country", I said,  "Yes son it is", then he said, "Mom a kid's dad can lose his business and this country will buy that kid's lunch". I had to focus and keep looking out the window and hold my composure because I was so moved. Instead of shame and embarrassed it was pride and thankfulness. We get so tangled up in our own pride and  what we think we are owed sometimes we lose sight of how fortunate and blessed we are. He came home one day speaking of an instrument he needed and instantly my stomach went into knots and before I spoke I thought Angie think before you speak, so I said "Wyatt do they rent instruments?" He said' "Oh don't worry Mom I told Mr. Teague that we had fallen on hard times and we would have to borrow one."  I said, "Wyatt. Did you ask him this in private?" He said, "Well, no, no big deal mom every family has problems!" Well there you go, once again outta the mouth of a babe! So as I took that word of wisdom from my 13 year old son I realized who I am is not based on the amount on my debit card, my value lies in my children, how I serve my family, the class with which I carry myself, the compassion I extend to others, the way I open my home and  make it loving and warm, that is who I am, not that London Fog jacket or even that $1000.00 ticket, but who I am on the inside and how that displays itself through the people I love and the ones who come in contact with me. So I remembered that strange moment when the highly educated scribe (a highly educated linguist) asked Jesus the most earnest and prevalent question of all the Jewish Academies, and, according to my husband, there were
over 400 in Jerusalem alone (the 2 greatest Hillel's and Gamaliel's) "What is The Greatest commandment?"  If Jesus was the highest authority on such issues, His response was very, very important.  He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength." Then he expanded and said, "The second is like the first, Love your neighbor as you love yourself."  That is very interesting, however I am convinced that in the Church in our generation, as it has been in most, we obey neither of these two.  We have good thoughts about people, we wish them well, we even take time to breathe a prayer for them, sometimes consistently,
but loving our neighbor as ourself is one we cannot, truly, fathom.  It means things we don't really want to consider.  Do we pray for the promotion so we advance or do we pray equally, and with sincerity, for our co-worker?  I will relate to you, it happens, almost, never.  What is even just as fascinating is considering that God loved us in a way that brought Him extraordinary pain, in essence, He loved others at His own expense!  A lifetime well spent would be one seeking these two grand moral themes, whether we ever gained or lost anything else. Finally, there is country.  It is a terrible time we live in when bitterness toward our nation is common and approved.  However, what democracy is about, at least American democracy, is a government built on the premise of equality.  The preamble says, since we all were created equal, and there is the underpinning.  If we were created, there is, by nature of creation, an inherent equality amongst mankind.  Our government went beyond and tried to establish just enough government to keep the peace and protect the citizens and then stay well away from the individual.  That means the remainder of our lives is at our freedom and disposal.  We can travel where we wish, follow the vocation we wish, marry the man or woman we wish, and experience a freedom untouched by the powers at be.  Any other form of government has been, at best, a far second, and at worst a tyrannical and despotic nightmare.  Abraham Lincoln once said, "I like to see a man proud of the place (the land) in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place (the land) will be proud of him."  Well, there it is, (1)God, (2)We begin and end with family, (3)Love for country.