Thursday, April 15, 2010

Higher ground

Having spent many of her waking hours on the floor mat in her room during the last 6 days, Talitha decided that today she would change things up a bit. She played in her hospital crib for large chunks of the time and also sat for long stretches on the recliner that pulls out into a bed.

The eating is still happening in spurts while her drinking is more consistent. She threw up again this morning after downing a whole cup of milk so the nurse suggested the obvious that we may want to consider giving her less to drink first thing until she is past the morning nausea that most all bone marrow transplant patients experience.

The stricter, non-microbial diet can be annoying as it limits the selection of foods available--especially when it’s items we know she’ll eat. Just have to take it as it comes some days and avoid getting bent out of shape which is always an easier but totally unproductive choice.

Speaking of unproductive choices, I recently noticed there was too much sarcasm and put-downs happening in our home which almost always leads to tears and/or hurt feelings.

We try to have a family night once a week where, among other things, we take turns teaching a short lesson about something we’ve learned that can help us be better and do better in life. So during one of these family nights, I used my turn to teach as an opportunity to address my concerns about how we sometimes weren't treating each other very nicely.

I rounded up a big box of wooden blocks from the play room and had everyone sit down on the floor in a circle. Then I had each family member take a turn building something with blocks. But before they could ever get very far, I bluntly knocked what they were building down with exaggerated rudeness.

This shocked everyone the first couple times, then they began to expect it and even guard against it. But, as it is so easy to knock down wooden blocks, I had no trouble finding a way to do it myself or enlist the help of one of the other onlookers.

With that visual in mind, I shared my concerns that rudeness, put-downs, or anything derogatory that we say or do to each other are all really easy to do and take no imagination or creativity. Tearing down, whether it’s wooden blocks or another individual, is so easy. Anyone can do it. That’s why the villains in most any movie seem to be able to wreak such havoc to make life miserable for others or to slow down the hero.

It takes effort, creativity, and a pack of godly virtues to lift others and be builders.

Now, we don’t have to go around being a superhero, but with a little effort, patience, and love, we can do a lot better than your run-of-the mill villain. And the better results we'll get from those efforts will, over time, bring us peace, happiness, and joy—true success!

Christ is our great example of all that is good and right. He is all about lifting and raising us up. We feel good when Christ is in our life because He inspires courage, confidence, and hope. He showed us a better way than what the world offers. Christ’s way is about life and light, creativity and intelligence. We really can rise above the negative and all its miserable-ness.

But it starts with taking the higher ground which usually involves some climbing.

I’m really, really grateful for Christ who always took the higher ground. These words from one of the hymns we sing in my church are all about the power of Christ to lift, rescue, and save us as He leads us to His higher ground:

The Lord is my Shepherd; no want shall I know.
I feed in green pastures; safe-folded I rest.
He leadeth my soul where the still waters flow,
Restores me when wand’ring, redeems when oppressed.

Thru the valley and shadow of death though I stray,
Since thou art my Guardian, no evil I fear.
Thy rod shall defend me, thy staff be my stay.
No harm can befall with my Comforter near.

In the midst of affliction my table is spread.
With blessings unmeasured my cup runneth o’er.
With perfume and oil thou anointest my head.
Oh, what shall I ask of thy providence more?


  1. I have noticed that rudeness and a general bad attitude are very easy things to let slip in. Recently a co-worker was riding with me in the car as was shocked to find me listening to one of those run of the mill "70's 80's 90's & today" "Best Of" radio stations. I like music in the car when I am driving as background with a beat to my thoughts. My coworker was shocked because she knew I was a Christian and was wondering why I didn't listen to K-love. Answer: I didn't know about it. Now I do. It is up-beat music that is pretty much all about praising God. I have been listening to it for a while now and have been pleased with my overall attitude improvements. The biggest shock was clicking back to one of the other stations and realizing just how depressing the music on standard 'best of' stations can be. It is amazing how sneaky the adversary is about gradually dulling senses so you don't realize you are listening to depressing music. I think it can be the same in our homes... a gradual slide to not remembering to be nice to each other. Thankfully the Lord provides so many ways to help us remember, if we just work some of them in to our schedule.

  2. Well said, Stanley.

    Thank you.