03) Lesson Learned


Lesson Learned



Certain phrases have always been around - some 'out there' and used by everyone - others closer to home or within a family or community.
For example, the phrase "Have a good day." Everyone says that whether or not it's actually a sincere wish or just a polite way to exit. A phrase I've always heard in our family and growing up in the South (best place this side of Heaven!) is ..."fixin' to" ......When asked a specific question, 9 times out of 10 the reply around here is : "When are you going? I'm fixin' to leave." "Are you gonna' get ready soon? I'm fixin' to get dressed." "Have you brushed your teeth yet? "I'm fixin' to ." My cousins who lived up north never said 'fixin' to" and laughed when we did. "Fixin 'to " has its own flavor - when one fixes to do something, it means the person is thinking about the activity ahead of time...what it takes to get the job done....or sometimes it means, I forgot and will do it now 'cuz I've been reminded and know what will happen if I don't!

Way back when, there was a routine in our house on Saturday evenings to prepare for Sunday morning's activities. Brother and I had to choose our clothes (one from a total of 3/4 outfits), make sure they were clean and pressed and hung ready to put on right after breakfast. Our Sunday shoes had to be polished. Yes....I realize how this dates me. Kids now have never heard of shoe polish ! I had one pair of Sunday shoes - black leather Mary Jane's (all my cousins had patten leather with grosgrain ribbons on the toes - waaah) . They had to be polished and placed under my outfit with my one pair of frilly white socks stuffed inside. My Bible and Sunday School lesson book had to be on the nightstand and memory verse for the week ready to roll off my lips the minute I entered the classroom and again in the worship service when the kids were called 'down front'. One Saturday evening when the ritual of preparation for Sunday dress should have been taking place, I was reading a book I just couldn't put down til I knew the ending. Mom asked if I'd polished my shoes. "I'm fixin' to." The rationale of a 7 year old tomboy who hated frilly socks and leather MaryJane shoes was shortsided at best and on that occasion - dishonest. I for sure wanted to finish that book more than I wanted to polish shoes. After all - I only wore those shoes on Sunday for 2 hours tops unless we had one of those dinners at church after the worship service and then I'd toss 'em in the car and go barefoot til Mom saw me... but by then my feet would be too dirty to put them back shoes let alone in frilly white socks. So how could Mom tell if I'd polished them or not?? How is it that mothers always seem to know everything? Because they're mothers I guess....or the tip off in the tone of my voice when I responded "I'm fixin' to." At our house there was a lights-out time and there were no cute little night lights. Lights out meant lights out. When Daddy flipped off my light,
I had not laid out my clothes or polished my shoes. Nor had I finished the book. Worst of all I had not finished my SS lesson or committed to full memory my Bible verse.

I can remember trying to cry and feel sorry for myself, but knew on a deep level I was "fixin' to be in trouble" and also knew it was most deserved. You think...all that turmoil for missing the steps in a routine?? Oh yes and more. Basically, I lied about doing it and knew my folks knew it. Turning out that light and allowing me to think about the next morning was oh-so much more effective than any verbal scolding or punishment. I'd like to say I woke up before my parents and polished those shoes, finished my SS lesson and learned my verse. Instead I slept hard and late - probably from guilt. :) Yes, I did learn my verse and completed the SS lesson - even the written questions and puzzle. The shoes........aaah the shoes. Why do we save the most difficult for last? I dressed except for the shoes then began to polish them. Of course, I made a mess - on my hands, under my nails, up my arm, on the floor and several spots on my dress. Never- but- never try to wear freshly polished but not-yet- dry shoes, specially with white frilly socks. Being asked way too many times at church why my hands were black...why my dress and socks were spotted was punishment enough. Wisely, my parents said not one word. They didn't have to. Not long into the service I just couldn't keep still. Fidgeting was a huge offense. A whispered question: "Be still young lady! What's wrong?" Response: "I'm fixin' to go up and confess." ...followed by spontaneous tears.

My blessed mother took my hand and led me out of the sanctuary to the bathroom where I sobbed my "I'm sorry's" all over her. To this day when I hear the phrase 'fixin' to" I recall the mixed pain and joy of truly being sorry and knowing her unconditional love and forgiveness. To this day I still go through the dress ritual on Saturday evening for Sunday morning. No, I don't polish shoes, but I do 'polish' the SS lesson and learn a verse through the week. Thank you, Mom and Daddy. Lesson learned. :)
On a more profound level, how great is the joy of our Lord when we don't respond to His offer with " I'm fixin; to " but accept on the spot the most precious gift of all..Salvation that comes only through His Son.
How blessed, blessed am I.


Bless Be the Tie That Binds.

WebMaster Note:
This article first appeared in the composer's blog published by CaringBridge. At my request the composer gave permission to republish on this web sight.



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