Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Black Beauty

We watched a movie recently, Black Beauty. Through the story of this horse, you can learn many lessons. I like (is like really the correct word in this situation?) the line about how much pain the horses go through by learning to pull a cab with their heads high - all for the sake of fashion. It seems we humans aren't content to make ourselves miserable for the sake of fashion, we extend it to animals as well. I could go on about dog breeding and various other things about animals - for the sake of fashion - but I won't.

Near the end of the movie, when the emaciated horse is desperately trying to neigh and whinnie to get the attention of his former stable boy, Joe, I felt a lump in my throat. The final moments of the movie are with the horse in recuperation, with a promise that he'll never be sold again. I can be emotional at times, but what I didn't expect was 6 year old Matthew to come climbing into my lap after the movie was over, sniffling. Eventually, as he tried to get comfortable, he broke into full sobbing. His question to me was why would people be so mean to a horse?

I talked to Matthew about selfishness and greed. I explained that it wasn't uncommon at the time represented in that movie for owners to try to get the most they could out of their animal for the least effort and expense. I think Matthew was most struck by the skin and bones Ginger, barely able to function, shortly followed by her body being taken out. Seeing Black Beauty in the same condition was probably too much for little Matthew.

A beautiful part of the whole incident was explaining to Matthew that there are people who want to make a difference and care for mistreated and abused animals. I reminded him of the time that we cared for a Great Pyrenees that friends of ours had rescued. They had been working with her for some time and we worked with her as well, to show her love and acceptance and kindness. Matthew and Tilly bonded instantly. He still remembers her fondly. The children knew from the beginning that we were only watching the dog for a few months while our friends were out of the country, but it was still hard to see her go. What made the whole experience so sweet, was knowing that we had made a difference for that dog, helping her to trust people again.

I am just so thankful that my son has a heart tender toward God's creatures. I had no idea the movie would have the impact on him that it did, but I'm glad that he knows now that animals need to be cared for lovingly.

Since people can often treat each other in a rather inhumane way. I wonder if Matthew would cry and ask - why would people be so mean to other people? Would the answers be the same - selfishness and greed?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Graduate

Matthew has his diploma now. It's official, he's no longer in kindergarten. He's already been reading 1st grade level books, so he'll be thrilled to be in 1st grade in the fall. He'll also be totally happy with the fact that he won't be required to take a nap anymore.

Yep, of all the wonderful things about kindergarten, Matthew hated nap time. He tried playing possum a few times and teaching his best friend to do the same. He had teachers at school, but during nap time, he referred to them as guards. Evidently nap time was more of a prison than a rest for him.

Perhaps some day he'll be wishing he could still have nap time. We'll remind him of kindergarten and the guards.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Too Many Rocks

You haven't heard from me for a little while because we've been very busy with a two week series we did here at our church recently. The series was called What Did Jesus Do? So many people say what would Jesus do that we decided it was time to look at what He actually did to give us some guidelines.

I was doing a children's program on the same topics. The kids were great! On the night that we talked about what Jesus did - bearing our sins, I gave the children a rock. Actually, it started with a question - "How many of you have every disobeyed your parents?" Bless those children, they were so honest and all raised their hands. Funny, they weren't ashamed to admit their mistakes like adults often are. So, each child who raised their hand got a rock. Next I asked about hitting a brother or sister or telling a lie.

At first, the kids thought it was fun, until the rocks kept coming. Finally one of the children began to complain that they couldn't hold any more rock. They asked if the rocks could go somewhere else. I explained to the children that our sins have to go somewhere, but they can't just be thrown out. On the floor nearby, we had an area taped off with masking tape in the shape of a cross. I told the children the only other place they could put their rocks was on the cross. Some of the big kids got all their rocks in one trip, some of the littler ones had to take more than one trip, just like many of us find ourselves going back again to the cross asking for forgiveness.

The end of the program was the best, because I asked how many of the kids wanted to tell Jesus they were sorry for their sins and let Him take them away. Nearly every child raised their hand. Wow!

Though it was an incredible blessing to be with the children, it was also very exhausting as I was still going to work everyday as well and trying to come home and feed the family and get to the program. God answered many prayers though, including making sure that I got home on time each night. There have been times when I didn't get home until 7pm, even though I get off at 5pm. Such is the situation with medical work though. So, it was a tremendous blessing that each evening, I had no problems getting home on time and to the programs. God is good!