She is almost done grocery shopping and is standing in the queue to payment when she hears a small voice: “mommy…” From the sound of hear voice she knows what her daughter is up to. She has discovered her favorite candy and asks her if they can buy it? It’s Monday which means there are four days to the day she can have her sweets. What is she going to choose? Will she give in to her because it’s 4 pm and they’re both tired and exhausted or will she tell her no?
While discussing with herself what to do, she knows deep down how her daughter feels. Last Thursday the mother went shopping. She passed by the biscuits, the cookies and the cakes. In a hurry, she passed by the chips and the soda before she stood in the queue to payment. Then she saw it. Her favorite bar of chocolate was for sale. She made an exception and bought a thing, which wasn’t on the grocery list. She said to herself she was going to save it until Friday. The same evening she and her husband and were watching TV when they agreed they needed something sweet. She fetched the chocolate. In a few seconds the whole bar was gone.
The mother stops discussing with herself. A word comes out of her mouth, and the girl is laying on the floor screaming, because she heard the word “no.”
Temptations. Every day we face many temptations.
One small piece of chocolate isn’t enough. Five minutes on Facebook isn’t enough. Quickly, five minutes become thirty minutes or sixty minutes. There are good things about Facebook, but for me there are more downsides. I’m not going to list them here, but I’m both the girl and the mother in the supermarket. I have to take the decision and allow the small girl in me to waste time on Facebook or listen to the mother in me who says “No!” I know what the right choice is, but the right choice is often the hardest and the most unpleasant one.
How can we overcome temptations and make the hard, but right choice?
I’m sitting by the keyboard when I meet a precipice. Mission impossible. Not the movie. Impossible? Wrong. Mission I AM possible. From where does the A come? From the alphabet, from the piano, from the chamber music? From the abstract? No. From the absurd? No. From the accusative? From calling on Abba? Yes. It’s God Father, who says I AM possible. I AM. I’m a possibility. To me everything is possible, God says. YAHWEH. He is the one He says He is. Powerful, strong, full of strength. So strong he can choose to be powerless, he can choose to die, to humiliate himself, he can choose to sacrifice himself. His grace is unconditional, his love is unlimited. He can forgive. He can move mountains. He can move borders. He can love the unloved. He is so holy that he loves everyone. He loves his creation infinitely. Unconditionally. Passionately. He died, but overcame death, sin, devil. He is the strongest. He is strength. God almighty.
But I am weak. Small. Powerless. Fragile. Full of sin. Full of shame. Full of thorns. I’m not a good person.
But I look at Jesus. I become silent.
When I moved into the house I live in, it had a garden with no flowers. With the help from my mother and mother-in-law we made a perennial flower bed. Unfortunately, I was more busy taking care of house and children than gardening.
35 years ago, another garden was planted. It was built on a foundation of good vegetables and solid bushes, but there is a lot of weed. I could have removed the stinging nettles and thistles, but I the weed has grown bigger than my shoulders, and I let them sting my ears and forehead. Dandelion flowers are pretty, and my skin has almost got used to the stinging nettles. The weed tells me many stories. You can’t, you must not, you’re not good enough.
I hear the stories so often I begin to believe them. Lie becomes truth, and truth becomes lie. The stories hurt me, but I know them well, and I find it comfortable to get stung by thistles and nettles, and hide myself at feed of the weed, imaging I’m a tiny beetle crawling on the ground. The little beetle wants to dream and explore the world, but it is afraid. It’s afraid of getting outside the weed, because it fears to eaten by a bird of prey. Sometimes I want to kill the weed, but the roots have become giants, and my fingers are not strong enough to remove them.
But I know other stories.
November is plodding
The trees expose their fragile branches
A drop rolls down
the cheek of a leaf
The last flowers wither
the storm rages
Raindrops are pouring down
We miss the summer
and our loved ones, who have left us
The TV shouts
the breaking news
I was about to take a bite of my sandwich in a diner in Washington, when the young guy stood right by our table. I did notice him earlier outside the diner on the street, He talked to my husband and me.
“Excuse me?” I said, asking him to repeat his question.
“Wanna buy some Marihuana?” He said.
“No thanks”, I said, half smiling.
The guy walked up to the man standing behind the disk.
Did we look like someone who wanted to buy Marihuana?
I saw myself wandering up to the guy and telling him that I didn’t need Marihuana. I had enough in Jesus. He is my life and daily bread. Then I would declare the gospel to him. This is how it sounded in my imagination. I remained at my seat as if was glued to my chair, and my mouth did nothing but eat.
At least I prayed for the Marihuana ‘salesman’.