Playing with purpose

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.


I once spent four years traveling with a small group of “field workers.” So aptly named by my church. Field workers were what you would consider missionary workers.

Today I thought of how quickly disunity could be detected in our small group, and, how instant were the repercussions. On one occasion I enjoyed the role of the pious righteous one. Of course, no one listened. They knew me well enough to know, I could be just as contentious. So much for Sainthood when no one considers you a Saint!

I can’t remember what the conflict was about but four out of the five were arguing back and forth. Nag, nag, nagging! Bicker, bicker, bickering. And we were on our way to Church!

Once more I warned. “You guys had better stop that fussing! Something bad is going to happen!” I was not being pious now; I was weary of the back and forth.

We had turned up the gravel road approaching the church from the rear. Just as we reached the railroad crossing, the train signals begin clamoring and blinking.

Looking to my left I could see a single engine approaching, about a half block away.

It is true! My life flashed before my eyes and I knew I could not afford to die. So, as signal lights blinked and clanged, and the Engineer madly touted his horn; I threw open the car door and took off running.

What I did not realize was that our driver upon seeing the train froze. In shock, she did not speed across the tracks, or back-up hurriedly to a safe distance. She just froze. The Engineer began the herculean task of bringing the train to a full stop.

I ran nearly two blocks before the small voice in my head was able to halt my sprint. “You left them to die! It said.” So, I stopped and slowly turned trying to prepare for what I might see.

Thank GOD no carnage! But, there was only one door open, the door I had exited. Three, apparently, hysterical women hoped up and down in the street. Still yelling! Inside I could see the little two-year-old child in the front seat, and the driver sitting, staring ahead. Adding to the melee was the Engineer leaning out of the train yelling to know if everyone was okay.

The relief and humor of the moment begin to assail me. With each step back I was feeling weaker, and I needed to pee. Suddenly one of the women ran to the driver’s door. She slung the door open and began to screech; “get out, get out, get out of the car right now, I’m driving!”

About the time I reached the car, emotions were calm enough to assure the Engineer and thank him profusely. The train had stopped approximately an arm’s length away. It seemed to stand three stories tall, hissing and swaying. I knew our lives had been spared by GOD’s grace and the Engineer’s quick actions.

I can’t remember, but I think it was driving those last blocks to our destination that I inquired about the single open door. It was after all a four-door vehicle. Someone replied, “we all exited through your door.”

That’s when I lost it!

My grin became a horse’s snort! My body lost all bone structure. And like jello, I begin sliding from my seat in laughter. My mind played a scenario of the three women converging on the opened door. One climbing over the front passenger’s seat. Only to be blocked by the congestion of their attempts to exit the same door at the same time!
Just as I begin to regain some composure, the current driver solemnly intoned; “that’s not funny Sis. Connie!” And, I was lost again.

Our congregation was scheduled to sing at a different church, and our Pastor was the speaker. So, once everyone had arrived, we loaded into our cars and head off to service. I refused to ride with the women I had come with, but I did not say why.

At the church we visited, we sang with power and magnificence. I was fine until all four of those young women begin to rejoice. It was a Pentecostal congregation, so let your imagination go wild and you will have some idea what I was seeing.

I lost it all over again.

Gratefully the exuberant music hid my horse snorts, but I can’t tell you, even today, what the message was about.

There is a caustic reaction to the need to have the last word. Put someone in their place. Make the fat lady sing and cry. We should remember, disunity is never worth the resulting danger, and confusion it brings.

Save a child. Save my kidneys. Save your car and protect an Engineer! We must be one in His Spirit, we must be one in His Love! Anything else is a horse snort!


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