Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just doing the expected

Spent the last two days with the elders, mostly driving them around. Taking them to various doctors' appointments (which appear to be their main occupation at this stage in life).  It wears me out, so imagine what it does to them!  I was making an appointment for Thyrza at a different clinic, while she had a dressing changed, and the woman behind the phone asked me all the pertinent questions, which I knew, then she finally said, "Wait a minute, you aren't 91 years old!"
"Maybe I'm just really well-preserved," I said. "But no, it's for my mother-in-law."
She laughed, telling the person on the phone, "You should see how good this woman looks for her age."
 All in all, it was a good day, and all the errands were accomplished, though it took over six hours.  Grampie always wants to be the one to 'just run in and do x".  He can't quite believe that he's slower than molasses and makes even me look like I'm fast, which is quite a feat.

Anyway, they thank me and thank me, and I tell them, "happy to help."  And most of the time, I really mean it.

All that to say that my brain is a little tired.  So I'm just going to write about something my grandfather--Chief--wrote about 77years ago.  Chief, a rough and tough navy man, spent a lot of his marriage away from home, and, therefore, much of his relationship with my grandmother has been preserved in letters.  In fact, my grandparents really wanted these letters destroyed because they were so private.  However, my mother (their only child) didn't do it.  Instead, she gave Chief's letters to me (I don't know what happened to Grandmom's).  I have two metal boxes of them, and, at some point, when I'm not caring for children or parents, I'm going to organize and edit them, because some of Chief's letters are absolute jewels.  But for now, here's a little gem.  It may seem somewhat personal, but it is so profound, it's worth quoting.

"You are entitled to all my sexual life--and altho that is all important, the fact that I am true to you isn't so much--that fact is yours--I am and that's all there is to it.  Nothing to be swelled up over, nothing to take glory for, anymore than I should be proud of the fact that I am over six feet tall.  I am that and what of it?  I am true to you--but I'm expected to be--so why the heck have I raved about it? Get my idea?" April 8, 1933

This is kind of a big deal when Chief writes it because he spent months, even years, away from his wife.  And among men who were notorious for having women in every port.  My grandfather drank, smoke and played cards with the best of those sailors, but once he met my grandmother, he never looked at another woman.  But this letter tells me (and this is perhaps a couple years before he became a Christian) that he recognized that his pride over being faithful to her was also out of line.  He was only being what he was supposed to be.

This gets at the core of fidelity in marriage.  But not only in marriage, also our commitment to Christ.  Both mean I belong to another person.  When I am wholly His, and give Him what already belongs to Him, there is no reason to get 'swelled up over' it.  But somehow, I think spiritual pride is a big problem among Christians.  I'm not around many people who brag about being faithful to their spouses.  Fidelity in marriage is either taken for granted or ignored in our world.  But I am sometimes around folks who are proud of who their fidelity to Christ.  Sometimes, I'm sad to say, I am such myself.  Though my any faithfulness in me is no more to my credit than my height (or maybe I should say my grandfather's height--he was actually 6'4").  Faith comes as a gift.  Lives as a gift.   And--I am expected to be faithful, to do what He asks.  To be His, all His.  And that's only to be expected, given that He's given all for me. 

"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep.  Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink?  Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?  So you also, when you have done every thing you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'"  Luke 17: 26-27

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