We learn through repetition, if I see a phrase used repeatedly in scriptures it peeks my interest as an issue of great importance to God. Scattered through the Bible are words of command to fear not and do not be afraid. Fear began following the transgressions of Adam and Eve and plagues humanity to this very day. A less frequently command comforts me.
“Weep not (Luke 7:13b KJV).” There are different stages of crying, at times we are able to stifle our tears or wipe them away and conceal our pain. There are silent tears, other times of sobbing and we express extreme sorrow by wailing. It matters not how dramatic we weep; Jesus can silence tears with his presence and command. A widow lost her only son and grieved his passing. “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not (Luke 7:13 KJV).”
I viewed many great detective movies of the 1940’s; writers webbed suspenseful plots, raising my interest and holding my attention captive. Just as bad guys shadowed the western heroes, illusive foes followed private eyes. An investigator walked down city sidewalks late at night and heard the eerie sounds of footsteps trailing behind. I nearly jumped out of my seat when they met face to face.
Am I always aware that I am not alone? Do I need to fear as I feel the presence of another approaching from behind? “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever (Psalms 23:6 RSV).” The Shepherd leads me and his blessings of goodness and mercy protect my back; I run into his house of refuge, secure and safe under the shadow of his wings. (Psalm 17:8b)
I waste my time in any imaginations of being a beauty to behold; I guess I am not in danger of breaking any mirrors or cameras as I pose but am not a portrait painter’s dream for glory either. Photographers will not be placing candid snapshots of me in their portfolio in hopes of advancement and passersby likely give me a second glance. Poor pitiful Pam.
What is beauty? Is it face-paint or skin deep? “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2 NRS).” How could I be so blind? I do not gaze upon beauty in a mirror reflection or see it revealed on a model’s runway; beauty is soul deep.
I change my desktop pictures on a regular basis choosing from free pictures, scriptures references and quotes available on the Internet. I enjoy the encouragement and spiritual lift from viewing the computer screen throughout the day. Flowers are a frequent choice and I most often choose those with bright pink blossoms.
After placing a beautiful picture of pink flowers on my desktop today, something aside from the pink petals caught my eye. Many of the leaves are unsightly; they are ragged and even have gaping holes. They are in sharp contrast to the delicate beauty of the blossoms. It makes me wonder if the photographer hesitated in printing the picture.
My portrait resembles the desktop picture. God has blessed me so and I am blooming where He has planted; yet many storms have battered my life and there are telltale signs of days beaten by the elements. I would rather not put those disfigurements on public display but they complete the picture. I hope the fragrance of the blossoms will overshadow the scars of aging. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved (2 Corinthians 2:15a NAS).”
Join me as I meander back through memories to a stairway in the house where I grew up. We lived in a two story prefabricated house with two bedrooms upstairs and two below. Mom and Dad had the master bedroom on the ground floor and the other down stairs served as both a bedroom and a TV room. My sisters, brother and I rotated use of the upstairs large bedrooms and gained access by use of a beautiful wood stained staircase. I gave little thought to our stairs back then but now would love to ascend again.
The stairway served us well as a storage area, telephone nook, and entranceway. It may surprise you to learn my family used stairs for storage but that was a major function. Mom washed our clothes with her ringer washer, hung them on outside or basement clotheslines, folded them and then placed them in neatly folded piles on the stairs for us to carry upstairs and place in dresser drawers or to hang in closets. We procrastinated and nearly tripped over them on jaunts to and from our room. Mom nagged; we made promises we rarely kept.
I cannot forget long telephone conversations with girl and boy friends sitting on the steps with the phone and six foot chord giving me privacy in a partly secluded area. Party line frustration and puppy love chats later gave way to a private line and an extension phone in my room and true love marathon conversations with my future husband. Yet, the memory of staircase drama is as fresh as today’s headline news.
Run your hand along the varnished railing to the bottom, notice Grandpa Ford’s old shaving cup turned upside down, secured and stained to serve as a handle and ornament. Ascend again, sit down, bounce from step to step on your hinny, and feel the joy of a child. Scurry back up and slide down the handrail as a tomboy displaying bravery. Day ends as I wrap up my stairway sentiment; I climb the stairs into my room, turn off the bedroom light, leave the bedroom door open a crack and slip into my bed. Dad has a nightlight ceiling light burning at the stop of the stairs; I can rest safe and secure…