Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Days...All in the Family

My kids have been watching boxed sets of old TV shows that we used to watch as kids...since our only choices on TV now are garbage, garbage or more garbage. They have been through The Beverley Hillbillies, The Three Stooges and even some Petticoat Junction. I don't really care for those ones, but the laughter I heard from them while being entertained by Granny and Moe was worth every penny of the $5-10 I paid for many episodes!  I recently got Different Strokes for them and a flood of memories followed. Just hearing the theme song took me back to casual carefree days in the Hanson household. 

After being greeted at the door by my sweet warm mom, we cozied up to the wood stove with a fresh cornmeal roll or cookie and we 4 ladies talked of the days happenings. Sometimes laughing, sometimes frustrated, but always comforted and guided my mom's discerning heart. Her listening ears were always available and sincere. After my dad arrived home from that stinky old pulp mill with dangerous hugs and whiskery kisses, we ate supper together to the tune of  Lavern and Shirley or Happy Days on the kitchen TV. Don't listen to people when they say that laughing while eating isn't good for you. It was regular at our house and no one died in the 17 years I lived there. If I had to be excused in the middle of the meal, I'd typically return to my seat with my plate mysteriously missing. My dad's poker face trying hard not to give away his was on top of the was always on top of the fridge...never a new hiding place...never a bad joke :)

Dad usually spent his evenings in the garage under a Ford, Mom knitting, reading or giggling with us while we did homework, then made popcorn or pizza and watched more TV...mostly innocent, good, clean shows, without much agenda pushing behind it. We didn't rush and run to sporting events or musical practices, we were just home, laughing and loving, soaking up the comfort and safety of a really good family. Of course my sisters and I NEVER fought. We just always thought of the other one before ourselves, always said kind things to one another and cleaned each others rooms. Ok, it's true, the good memories always seem to outweigh or erase the bad.  That's alright, I wouldn't feel comfortable telling you all the terrible injustices that were done to me by those two blonde instigators ;)

I admit, I mooched my older sister's cool clothing while hoarding my own money and bullied my younger one out of the bathroom a FEW times to make one last check in the mirror to ensure each curl on my head was staying in it's place. They had their fun with me. I could get so engrossed into a TV show that they would play with me by casually asking me to get things for them during the show and I would hypnotically comply until after 3 or 4 times. Eventually I'd wake up and endure their victory dance. They really never danced, that would be Mom and Dad, occasionally moving the kitchen table out of the way and cutting a rug...or a pine floor as we had. I can't tell you how much that kind of parental relationship builds a child's character. You can be sure their is a regular dose of dancing in my house. My husband complies with a smile and my kids wait their turn with me on the dance floor. I have a great set of speakers in the kitchen :)

The sounds of these old shows bring back wonderful memories and now my kids are singing their tunes around our house. They are only TV shows, not perfect, but better than anything I've seen lately. It's their attachment to the past that gives them their value. Good, clean laughter is good for the soul. I guess Allan Thicke is a becoming a regular guest in our house :) Remember these?? I think I might check some out and see if they can't find their way under our Christmas tree this year.

The Cosby Show
Who's The Boss
Night Court
Growing Pains
Too Close For Comfort
The Jeffersons
All in the Family
WKRP in Cincinnati
Mork and Mindy
Chico and the Man

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Present Brightness

A young princess sat thoughtfully in her castle one early morning, pondering the happenings of the concluding week...months...seasons. Being Thanksgiving, her heart was reminded of all the good things and ignored the bad...not giving those memories a moment's worth of honor. Only the laughter, the accomplishments and the friends were given play in her mind. Then the verse, "Be thankful in all things", 1 Thessalonians 5:18 came to mind. She was very glad that the verse did not say "Be thankful FOR all things" but "IN all things". "I can do that", she reasoned...with practice. Her memory slowed down a bit, backed the truck up and stayed for a cautious moment on a bad memory. With furrowed brow and tightened lips, she felt the pain of an occasion and forced herself to glance up at the grace that hovered over that darkness. At the time, she didn't look up, just straight forward at the ugly, visible reality. Now, after the fact, she had the strength to be thankful IN everything. IN that situation, there was a hidden reality. The beautiful truth that she was being held up by strong arms, comforted by divine words and moved forward by an omnipotent Guardian. Saved form the fire breathing dragons.

It is so clear to see now and the spiritual truth is far more valuable than the fleeting, physical circumstances. If only she could overcome the addiction to the physical. Her dependence a bubble baths, extra coffees, chick flicks and the dozens of servants constantly waiting on her. If only she could put on a pair of enchanted, four dimensional glasses that had the power to fade the physical and reveal the spiritual reality always present. That would be cool. They could be small, round and Harry Potterish glasses. Your choice of colors and come with a handy carrying case and spray wash. Eventually, when you become convinced of their worth, you could graduate to contact lenses, allowing you to be in constant awareness of "This Present Brightness". Her creativity continued on to manufacturing, marketing and success. Sometimes creative minds need a good set of brakes. Again, how did she get back to something physical? It's that addiction thing again. 
Seems a little contradictory to need something physical to enhance the spiritual...but isn't that the human way. Chuck the Potter glasses, surrender the hunger to say you must know, have the courage to say I believe, for the power of paradox opens your eyes and blinds those who say they can see (favorite Michael Card lyric).
That's what it takes.
Just practice.

Make yourself look up and say it. Thank you God for...

...this rainy day, it sounds beautiful.
...this peanut butter sandwich on dry bread, it smells nutty.
...this wayward child, who is teaching me to love you first.
...this load of laundry I get to go outside and hang in the fresh air.
...this hospital bed, clean and adjustable. "fun" money which causes me to use my imagination.
...this throbbing pain that modern medicine can take away.
...these wrinkles, gray hair and extra weight that...ok...I have nothing for that one, but I'm working on it.

It gets easier and easier to do once you get the hang of it, but you must make up your mind to do it or it will never happen on it's own. Sometimes I have to walk away from situations, grab my Bible and sit in my hammock to do it. Eventually, you start to run to that non-physical place where the sky is always blue...just don't stay there too long. Many people decide to stay there, forget the physical world altogether and no one gets supper or clean clothes ever again. Learn to take it with you.

Ever meet those people who are always smiling, never in a rush and always listen to how YOU are doing? I think they have it. They are usually older because of the practicing requirement. I am almost 42 and still grumble too much, walk too fast and end up talking about me somehow. But, I am thankful. Thankful that I know this much, have a desire to change and personally understand the secret to contentment...I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Happy Thanksgiving