I've Been Thinking by Kathleen L Thach
Seasons and Reasons
Someone once said that I think too much. I’ve been thinking about that. Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t. I once saw a sign that said, “Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.” Not me. I can’t just sit.
So you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been thinking about the Season we’re in--the holiday season. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas approaching us, my thoughts have been on giving thanks and celebrating the birth of our Savior.
Of course, it’s hard to think just one thought, when you’re a thinker, so these thoughts have joined forces with other thoughts, thoughts of all the seasons of my life since my birth in 1943.
I am so thankful for people who provided help along life’s way.
People like Emma Shirk, my pre-school Sunday school teacher at Bellegrove’s Evangelical United Brethren church and John and Mattie Farling, my pre-school Sunday school teachers at Steelstown’s St. John’s Evangelical Congregational church. (I had two church homes then, one when I spent Sundays with Pappy and Grandma and one when I spent Sundays with my parents.)
I don’t remember any specific lessons taught by Mrs. Shirk or the Farlings, but I do remember them. In my memory, Mrs. Shirk was gentle and kind. I also remember the Farlings as gentle and kind, yet the word faithful comes to mind when I remember them. And I remember all three of them were old, very old.
I remember my grandparents. I have often said that I owe whatever stability I’ve had throughout my life to them, the first “influencers” in my life. World War II kept my father away from home and family until I was two and a half and then both parents went to work in factories, so I spent most of my pre-school years with Pappy and Grandma, on their farm.
I remember the routine of getting up at the rooster’s crow and hurrying out to the barn to join my grandparents, already doing the morning round of milking. I remember the sound of the Christian radio station in the barn and in the kitchen. I remember Pappy’s voice in prayer before meals, his voice in laughter, his voice in breaking the news to me that God could indeed see through walls, his voice in disciplining me, his voice in calling the cows in from the pasture. “Here, hummy, hummy.” That’s what I remember having heard. I don’t know the exact words.
I remember Grandma’s voice in prayer as she did her housework. I see her in memory’s eye, ironing clothes and linens. I hear the thump of the heavy iron that was heated on the old cook stove. And I hear her saying, “Jesus, Jesus.” I know she was summoning His help in the burdens of life. She certainly wasn’t swearing. I remember her voice saying “Ay, ay, ay” when in dismay. I remember her voice as she read countless fairy tales to me. I remember her quietness. I remember her squeezing fresh orange juice for me and making me a glass of vanilla milk. I remember her patience and self-control with a precocious little girl.
Pappy and Grandma spoke love with words and actions and presence. I remember their joy in me. At least, they seemed to delight in me—most of the time, that is. And maybe that’s how I came to experience love in the language of “quality time and undivided attention”.
I remember other people who came into my life for a season, leaving a profound imprint on my life. There was Mrs. Hostetter, my God-honoring neighbor who, along with her husband, owned the tenant house we lived in when David was a baby. When my first-born was seriously ill, she summoned her husband in from the fields and stayed with me until he came to give us a ride to the hospital. She held David in her arms and prayed for him. I told her I thought God was punishing me for something, and she quietly, sincerely said, “Oh, Kitty, God doesn’t work that way.” I believed her then. I believe her now. She oozed kindness and gentleness and goodness.
I remember so many others during the formative seasons of my life: A pen pal who wrote of her faith in God, sharing favorite scripture verses as she encouraged me to commit them to memory and to grow in my faith. The DVBS teachers at Dohner’s Mennonite Church who sang without instrumental accompaniment but with conviction and joy. I remember how the adults energetically joined with students in playground games. Black suits, long dresses and head coverings didn’t interfere with their enthusiastic participation.
I need to stop now. An article could easily turn into a book. I would be forever impoverished had it not been for so many, many people who took time for me throughout the various seasons of my life and left a legacy of love and hope.
As I remember these people and others, I remember their character traits and recognize those traits as the fruit of the Spirit. And I wonder how that fruit came to grow in their lives, touching me and so many others so deeply. Did they just try really hard to be good and kind and gentle and faithful and all those other things? Or did they come to rely on the Holy Spirit to produce that fruit as they grew in their relationship with him? Which carried the most weight—the trying or the relying? Which came first?
I’ve been thinking about that. I am a thinker. Maybe I think too much. Maybe not.
|“. . . the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23|
Come and join us on Sunday mornings at 9:30 for our ongoing study of the Fruit of the Spirit.