Writing on the First Day of Fall


The old white coffee pot filled with tea sat on the cracked tile next to the computer screen. This tile had been painted years ago in with muted browns, oranges, black and white. Corn flowed out of the earth toned basket and looked like something she would do if she had been in the midst of preparing her own corn bread. She remembered receiving the tile decades ago from a young man who had visited an old part of New Mexico. This piece of clay protected the wood table from the drops of tea that ran down the spout.
The pot clinked against the tea cup as she poured the steaming beverage into her cup. This steam drifted up as she cradled the drink near her face. Her eyes closed as she sought words that fit. The warmth was welcome on the first day of fall. All most nothing was visible beyond the window. She squinted and saw part of the white delivery van down the street. Most of the van was blocked by what looked like two gargantuan elephant legs in the front yard. The distant flashing lights reflected on the paint of the window sill. It looked like a flashing low-battery warning on security panel.
Soon the children would be arriving at school for another day. Wednesday –Hump day- the fourth week of the school year was almost gone. The screen was near blinding against the darkness; she lifted the teapot and refilled her cup, closed her eyes then she typed again, closed her eyes again as her hand drifted to the left and she took another sip. This time when she glance outside the delivery van had departed, the blue sky set off the profiles of the trees and the birds were chirping. Compared to the bright screen the window was still dark but after a few seconds her eyes adjusted and she could see the details of the day coming to live. She rolled her chair back, cautiously pushed up on the table and walked to the window. Tea in hand, her left foot hurt as if a knife was sticking through her cracked heel. She grimaced with each step. Her hand trailed around the smooth wood table and touched the back of each chair. Standing at the window she could see life’s details clearly. She reached down and cranked open the window. The crisp air flooded in. Fall had arrived during the night. The birds’ songs were louder; the neighbor flag was blowing in the wind. Pumpkins decorated the neighbor’s walkway. The car break lights crowing the street as children bounced out of cars grabbing lunch boxes, back packs and little siblings.
Now the writer would need to be more disciplined for distractions of life were coming to life all around.


How Control was Lost Forever

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I grew up in The Netherlands. My parents with their 5 children boarded the Holland America Line to cross the Atlantic Ocean in frigid winter of 1962/1963. My Christian parents went to Europe to work with a small church and save people. We had not come across the high seas on a boat to Americanize the Dutch but we were coming to share Jesus with them. Therefore my father quickly declared English off limits. We were going to learn to speak Dutch fluently and fit in. We’d be Christian examples to others so they could see Jesus in us.

One day it was my turn to say the prayer before dinner and while I had already learned many nouns in my new language I could not remember how to say, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen,” in Dutch so I just kept thanking God for ” forken, lepels, melk, appelen, borden, kaas, brood, zout, peper, tafel, stoel, Mama, Papa, Phil, Terry, Sally, en Linda,” until I exhausted my know Dutch nouns and all my family members and I quietly whispered, “I do not know how to finish this prayer in Dutch so I either have to start repeating things or end in English.” Immediately my Dad smoothly finished the prayer with, “In Jesus naam, Amen” That is the very tricky part of learning a new language, the things that are almost exactly the same are often the very hardest to remember.

My parents lived lives trying to be good examples. They sincerely desired to serve Jesus. They left the USA to serve people who were still bouncing back from World War II. Being courageous enough to leave your country, culture, and kitchen and start over as an adult with five children in tow is no piece of cake. You have to be willing to look simple, even dumb, and sound like a little child before you gain any kind of fluency in your new country. It will take a good amount of gumption, fortitude, tears, and heart break to survive. And my parents did it with all their heart. It became my ever present personal goal to also be a good example to others. My needs, my problems, my desires could be put on the back burner so I could tend to other people’s needs and show them Jesus. No temper tantrums, no screaming fits allowed, no pitty parties; Be in control of yourself, Be a good example to save others.

Succeeding at being a good example takes a lot of rigid self control. It is easy to desire to control one’s children, one’s spouse, even one’s self. Who does not desire to control how things will turn out in life? But the desire to control will create havoc in one’s life.

Can we lose something something we never truly had?
Soon I will be writing about how control was lost in my life.
Hope your Friday is filled with forever fun, family and friends.
P.S. -SP

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