Friday, March 03, 2006

PERSPECTIVES: The Shadows of Old Images

AN ENCOURAGING WORD for March 16, 2006 - written by Dr. Thomas Lane Butts, Pastor Emeritus, Monroeville First United Methodist Church tolabu2@frontiernet.net

It is interesting, and sometimes frightening, to see how old images of the past keep on casting shadows over our lives. There are patterns and responses that we learned as an adaptation to circumstance that are no longer with us. The virtues we learned as a means of coping with and relating to life many years ago may become detrimental to us as the environment and circumstances change. Some of these old images we culturally hold in common, but some of them are highly personal, and can be understood only in the light of our personal history.

Perhaps a reminder of some of the images of the past we hold in common will cause each of us to reflect on those old images that are so highly personal that no one else can understand them.
Those of us who grew up during the Great Depression of the 30s have a peculiar attitude about money. This attitude is sometimes conspicuously inappropriate for these present times. Those who grew up feeling that they were very poor, or might become poor, sometimes have a hard time shaking that feeling no matter how wealthy they may become and no matter how good the times are.

Those of us who grew up on the phrase "idle hands are the devil’s workshop" may have long since forgotten the adage, but the image is still there. We cannot just sit. We have to be doing something during all waking hours. We cannot simply watch television, we must sew, knit, polish shoes, or do something with our hands as we sit and watch.

I had a strange experience in the mid 70s when I came home from the hospital after a major surgical experience. I suddenly began to crave cornflakes. I ate boxes of cornflakes. I told my mother about it and, with a startling insight, she explained it. She said that during the Depression, while she was raising 5 children, she would save money to buy cornflakes for us children when we were sick. Only the sick child got cornflakes. The unconscious mind is a storehouse for forgotten memories. The reason for my sudden craving for cornflakes was quite clear. I was sick and a sick child needed cornflakes. Hmmmm.

Having grown up on a "two-mule farm" in South Alabama, where every available bit of energy had to be applied to do menial labor, I have some difficulty reconciling the need to do physical exercise with my old image of reserving all energy for productive labor. If we had seen someone out "running" in Conecuh County in the 30s we would have assumed they were chasing something or that something was chasing them. It violates my old image of conserving energy for productive labor when I contemplate contemporary exercise programs.

There are more, but this is enough to get us all to thinking of more personal "old images."

Marialena's note: It is astonishing that I received this article of Rev. Butts on Thursday, the day after I communicated to my ex- boyfriend about my choice of not pursuing a reconciliation with him, a year after we broke up and the day before that I have my 24 year anniversary of living with juvenile diabetes. The "old images" scheme says it all and I am on track to change that! Enjoy your weekend, Marialena

3 comments:

Citronella said...

Καλό τριήμερο Μαριαλένα μου, πάντα με χαμόγελο - τα σημάδια που λέγαμε, μερικές φορές φτάνουν ακριβώς τη στιγμή που χρειάζεται!:))

Marialena said...

Επίσης, καλή μου, επίσης! Σήμερα είμαι λίγο συννεφιασμένη (όχι λόγω "επετείων" και τέτοια, καμμία σχέση), αλλά πιστεύω ότι εν τέλει θα πάνε όλα καλά. Τα σημάδια που λέγαμε... τι καταπληκτικό πράγμα είναι βρε παιδί μου! Να περάσεις καλά και να επιδιώξεις να διασκεδάσεις (κατά Enzo de Cuba σε κόβω...) Τα λέμε από Δευτέρα, Μ.

Xνούδι said...

καλημέρες Μαριαλένα.
Με πολλά πολλά χαμόγελα. Καλή καθαρή Δευτέρα. Με χαμόγελα. :-)