Thursday, January 12, 2017

" . . . ponder the path of life . . ." Proverbs 5:6

30 Day Writing Challenge:

Write about something you always think "What if . . . ."

"What if that were me?  What if I were in those circumstances?  What would I do?"  When I read of heroic efforts or difficult situations, I often wonder what I would have done in those circumstances, and then quake and tremble a bit and worry I would have been found lacking.

Miep Gies (pronounced Meep Khees) was a secretary to Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father.  She smuggled food, books, paper, and news to the Frank family while they were hiding from the Nazis. It was also Ms. Gies who gathered Anne’s scattered journal pages after the family was discovered, arrested, and carried to concentration camps. Ms. Gies locked the papers in her desk and gave them to Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, after the liberation.  Ms. Gies never read those pages while they were in her possession. She said a teenager’s privacy was sacred.

Many applauded Ms. Gies for the help she rendered to the Frank family, but she didn't want it.  She said, "This is very unfair. So many others have done the same or even far more dangerous work.” 

Once she told a group of school children, "I don’t want to be considered a hero. Imagine young people (growing) up with the feeling that you have to be a hero to do your human duty. I am afraid nobody would ever help other people, because who is a hero? I was not. I was just an ordinary housewife and secretary.”

“Do your human duty.”  Miep Gies may have felt like an ordinary woman, but her kindness to the Franks at such a terrible risk to herself was courageously beautiful and extraordinary.  What if I had had her choices to make?

I once observed a woman caring for her severely handicapped daughter.  The daughter was strapped to a wheelchair because her arms, neck, and head flailed about with no control.  The girl, who looked to be in her late teens or early twenties, often cried out for no apparent reason.  It was her only form of communication.  

I first noticed the mother and daughter on the back bench during a church sacrament meeting.  The daughter cried and groaned very loudly.  I was a visitor to that meeting and everyone else seemed well acquainted with her outbursts.  I carefully watched as the mother quietly pressed her daughter’s head against her own and then rubbed her cheek until the girl was calm.  Throughout the rest of the meetings, there were more outbursts.  It was as if the daughter would sleep and then awake from a terrible nightmare, each time flailing and crying loudly.  Time after time the mother gently covered the daughter’s mouth with a handkerchief to muffle the sound as she comforted her scared girl. I was purely amazed at the mother’s care and patience.  Not only was her daughter in need of intense physical care, she was also in severe emotional pain as well.  The mother had been caring for this daughter for many, many long years with little relief.   

What if I was a mother to a child with such intense and taxing needs.  Would I have taken them to church week after week after week?  Would I have remained her primary caretaker? 

While "why me" is a question which destroy's faith, the question "what if that were me" helps me strengthen my faith as I ponder what my response to a difficult situation might be.  "What if that were me" helps me identify weak spots in my character.  

One way I can fortify those weak spots is to do as Helen Keller said she did, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task (not shrink from a difficult challenge), but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." 

What if that were me?  What small tasks could I do as if they were great and noble? Scripture study? Prayer?  Acts of service?  Showing gratitude?  Following promptings promptly?  Developing patience? Wouldn't all of these tasks prepare me to not shrink from a difficult challenge?

"What if that were me . . . "

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