Thursday, July 29, 2010

Crabby Christian?

I used to be the kind of person who was a stickler for rules.  I could yell at the school kids with the best of them. I complained to store clerks and I was impatient if I waited too long in lines and I let people know about it.  I never really thought of it this way, but looking back, I believe that I tried to be a nice person at church and myself the rest of the time.  And myself wasn't a bad person, but she wasn't pretty sometimes.

The Holy Spirit worked at changing my heart over the years.  I had some things happen that made me kinder in certain circumstances.  I tried to be a good person.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit gave me a nudge and I got better about certain things.

I can identify one instance that happened several years ago when I was a remedial reading teacher when I toppled over like a ton of bricks.  I was wearing the retreat cross I had received to school everyday. A young lady who happened to be a foster child with a rather bad temper let loose on me over something.  As I recall I didn't have a pencil to loan her that day.  I wasn't in the wrong in this instance, but I made her mad.  She started in on me about wearing the cross and being a Christian and not giving her a pencil.

It hit me.  If this young lady noticed the cross I wore and put it together with being a Christian then others noticed too.  And I had to ask myself--When I put on that cross each day was I putting on Christ?  Sort of in the same way as the bracelets that ask--What would Jesus do?  Was I with, in, and of Christ in every action of my day?  What would that look like? Was that even do-able?

I tried to live that.  I try to encourage, to uplift, to be friendly and patient and kind.  I don't achieve it perfectly.  On really bad days I pray and pray and pray to try to maintain that attitude.  And to ask for forgiveness for all the times I fail.  But I try and it has gotten easier. I will freely admit that being a librarian instead of a remedial reading teacher makes it easier too. I can still ask them to follow rules, but it is easier to be kind with children for 15 or 20 minutes than for an hour or more teaching a subject that they hate.

It is debatable, I suppose, whether we are all called to try to be positive and to spread love in the world as best we can.  But, I know what I am called to do and how I am called to live. People tell me that I am patient, but it is God who is patient and kind and loves unconditionally. I just try to reflect that love i have received the best I am able.   I consider the idea of a crabby Christian to be an oxymoron, an opposite.


Dawn by Design said...

I really like this post, Mary. Thank you for sharing.

Tami said...

I agree Mary. Good for you for being brave and wearing your cross. The kiddos asked for a fish for the back of our van, and I said no. Not until we can act like Christians when we go out can we get the fish. They've grown so much in the past couple of years. They really deserve the fish. Maybe I should wrap one up for a surprise.

Mary said...

Get them that fish!

When I do a witness talk about the cross I wear I always laughingly show how I tuck it into my top on those days when I am just not living it the way I should. (And I do that when I go to my Jewish dentist lest the cross cause him to inflict more pain, just kidding, really, just kidding.)

abroadermark said...

I sure am glad I didn't know you back in your crabby days. ;)

Mary said...

Oh, I still have my crabby moments. Sorry to disappoint you.

abroadermark said...