Memorable Purposes

Memorable Purposes

This blog, shoved away by my bout with Shingles, completes my original focus on Purposes.  For new readers, Speed Bumps blog bullied its way in line, thus creating the need for the Distractions blog.  A quick overview for new readers:  After seven weeks, Shingles has moved on. However, the on-set of Postherpetic Neuralgia--pain wherever shingles camped-out, another disruption with the amazing suggested medical treatment of distractions--as simple as something bigger or exciting happening switching one’s mind from the existing source of discomfort (“like your left hand hurting until you put your right hand on a hot plate”, as brother John mused). So, in majoring on finding various styles of distractions, several other interesting, helpful, and significant distractions have emerged fitting in with Memorable Purposes in adding luster to our recall.

The annoying distractions and enticing ones—most often make little sense but other styles of distractions seem to keep our actions in tune with our minds. While we’re deeply involved in one activity, a forgotten promise is brought to mind, like the forgotten garden hose needing to be turned off. Our unconscious minds are always working. Each person develops personal methods for telling our minds that we can’t take care of something right now, but don’t let me forget about it. I usually jump up and take care of the little reminders. If I can’t go then, I make a note. Once I write something down, I remember it.

Coincidental distractions--pay attention--this is significant, are not always unimportant. Those impressions that come out of nowhere, some from a spiritual source that require a need for heavenly guidance and help; occasionally these random ideas lead to answers to prayers, or impulses to write or call someone who needed that letter or message right then.  Many life-changing impressions regarding future involvement began with random thoughts while doing something else. God speaks in many ways.  Distraction-ideas that foster an idea of how you could encourage someone is what Memorable Purposes is about. Reflecting on what was done for you a long time ago may please you later in life as my personal examples portray. What may seem like very little to you may make a huge impression on another. Learning to trust our ideas and vibes brings joy to the recipient as well as to the giver.

A reader’s response to the several-weeks-ago Purpose, People, Peace, blog warmed my heart: I am so eager for my parents to move close to us so I can put them on my purpose list. C.

Indeed, some purposes, small and large, generated in many unexpected ways earn the honor of being especially memorable.  Some cost a great deal of money and time while others occur quietly and unrealized until later. Purpose/motivations hinge on timing, words, actions and attitudes.

Was there a time when you were the subject of someone’s ‘urgency in purpose’? Two experiences that happened when I was a young mother come to mind, both involving my quiet mother.  I trust sharing these will encourage you in recalling memorable purposes that you hadn’t classified as such before, or spawn your ideas in something nice you could do for another.

After graduating from high-school, I traveled by train to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago not to get home until Christmas because of cost and distance. I had never been away from home for more than two weeks. I was self-confident and excited about my plans for schooling. Even though I received weekly letters from Mom, when Thanksgiving hit and the majority of students went home; I was stuck at school with a handful of students from far-away-states. I was so homesick to hear Mom’s voice that I violated our family unwritten rule of only emergency phone calls. “Hello”, I heard over the phone; “Hello?” Then, “Ruthie, is this you?”  I was so emotional that I could only cry into the phone on the wall. During phone chats with my brothers this week, they laughingly told me that they remembered well that call. They teased me about it, then, and still do. That was memorable in the sense that it emphasized my deep love and need for mom and family.  She was gracious and never said anything about it not being an emergency. But did that solve my homesickness for good?  Hardly!

After Jim and I graduated from Moody Bible Institute, we were married the next morning, while members of our families were in town. Our honeymoon was driving from Chicago to Waco, Texas where Jim was enrolled in Baylor to complete his undergraduate work.  I was perfectly content with our lives, children and ministry, aware that this was what I was meant to be doing.  Jim had a part time country church but what he was paid merely paid for the gas. He worked in a grocery store part time. To help with finances, I took in washings and ironings as well as typed papers for Baylor students. Even though I was busy with our children, very involved at church and had many friends, and every Tuesday I received a long letter from Mom, I longed to see her and hear her voice. But on our meager budget we could not afford phone calls. Yep! Once again homesickness set in! I yearned to see and be with my mom and for our children to get acquainted with her, longed for her to get acquainted with Jim, and eager for her to hear him preach and meet our country church-family.

Then, I received a letter from mom saying “I’m coming to visit.” Nothing could have made me happier! How could she do that? She worked full time, wrote weekly letters to her six children and was involved in church. As I prepared for her visit, Jim said, “You’d think the Queen of England was coming.”  I assured him that her visit surpassed that. Jim was excited, as well. They had a warm relationship. Without complaint, she made the long, arduous 18-hour trip by train. Her presence meant the world then, but it has always ranked as a ‘number-one’ memory.  Not until later did I wonder how she afforded that trip in time and money. Coming alone had to be less than fun, too.  When I shared this memory this week with Eileen, she said “Your mother was brave and unselfish”.

As I write this, I recall a story mom told me regarding when she and dad were living many miles from family. With four little children, and little money, she took a train from Akron, traveling all day to visit her parents. “The kids and I would be covered with coal dust from the trip”, she mused. “I was very homesick for my family”.  So, she knew from experience what homesickness was like. She followed Jesus’ Golden rule: “Do unto others as you’d have others do unto you.” Turning this commandment around also applies: Allow others to do for you what you’d gladly do for them.  Many people are reluctant to let others help them. When we allow people to help us, it becomes a two-way-street—the person in need and the provider are both blessed.

We will all agree that some purposes are surprises, thrust upon us, disrupting plans, causing rapid moves, quitting jobs, dealing with serious accidents, contending with medical situations, etc.  The list is long. All the above situation-ethics, as far as I can determine, are bound to affect or have already affected the majority of my blog-readers.  Being on someone’s purpose list is a wonderful experience.

In my almost 90 years, I could write a book of people who’ve stepped in to help us hurdle problems. And recently in the illness and death of Jim, many did for us what I would never have thought to do for someone. My early blogs denote some of those stories. How refreshing to read the blogger’s excitement to be close enough to do more physically and emotionally for her aging parents.

Regarding trials that camp on my doorstep, my practice is to look for some type of spiritual growth as a result. For these last few weeks, my goal has been that my spiritual inner core would be refreshed and strengthened. The truism that has encouraged me is just as the heavy rainy season moisturizes the earth so the farmers’ seeds can take root, so the troubles and difficult times that we face provide spiritual moisturizing and promote spiritual growth, just as the scripture from Isaiah says.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…Isa.55:10,11(NIV).

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28 (NIV).

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Prov. 19:21 (NIV)