This weekend, the Task had two parts. I shall now report on both, and end with today's Task.
(Task 7, part 1) To wrap up Relationship Week:
The assignment was to spend some time with an elderly person and ask them about their relationship successes and failures, and what they've learned. The neighbor I planned to talk to was out of town, so I ended up calling my grandma (who came over only Friday, but I missed my chance then). It a little awkward, since we don't usually talk about anything too serious on the phone (aside from gardens and brothers and cat stories, which are entierly serious), but I decided I'd rather tell her right off about the challenge, and she was eager to help.
She started dating my grandpa at 15 (!), and married him at 18. And interestingly, her advice to folks nowdays was to not rush impatiently into marriage. We both agreed that people are far less likely nowdays to marry so young. Much more emphasis on college, starting carreers, doing other stuff... Being the dedicated Boundless reader that I am, I found myself wanting to go into a long discussion about how maybe her generation had their priorities straighter than ours... but I thankfully didn't say (very) much. Anyways, the point of the Task was to listening to her, not hear myself talk! :P Ick. Learning more how bad a listener I often am. What have I been missing?
Once I decided to be quiet, I think my eyes started opening. It makes sense now why she has always been so emphatic about us kids going to college - she never did, and I think she feels she missed out on lots of stuff. Hmm. Even as I still hope to be married, and often wish I had been married years ago when I had all my prime childbearing years before me (25 is supposedly the peak, after which fertility in women begins to decline) I should remember that this time as a single need not be wasted. There are many productive things to do for God. And the grass can always look greener, married or not.
Another thing she saw was that sometimes people got married who, though still married years down the road, could not be heard to say one kind word to one another! She said it is definitely good to be friends and to have common interests.
One last thing - my grandma told me about my grandpa bringing her flowers - roses, wildflowers, and just recently some squash blossoms! ;-) How sweet. :-) I told her I was so thankful for their marriage.
(Task 7, part 2) To start off Community Week:
The next assignment was to listen to or read a sermon by John Piper. I've been a fan of his for a while, and his sermons are always so passionate and instructive, so this was no pain. :-)
One of the things that struck me was his words for those who feel they have nothing to offer to the Body. Maybe we're disabled, or clumsy, or inept, or whatever. Some would tell us we need self-esteem. But we actually need God-esteem. Romans 12:6 says we have gifts, and we should use them. So to claim we have none is not a sort of humility - it is actually, whether knowingly or ignorantly, calling God a liar, and being a rebel!
I don't want to rebel against God! So I need to watch what I say about myself. And I need to graciously remind others that they have gifts, given by God, for the good of others. And as Piper said, the best way to "find ourselves" is not alone off in the woods somewhere. It is with our family, life rubbing on life, seeing for my brother, my sister, what they cannot see themselves. And letting them see for me.
Task 8 - Memorize Romans 12:3-8
I've started this one, but it will take me a few days. It's rather a sizeable passage, and today was quite full. Good stuff to have memorized, though! I printed it in a cool font, and am carrying it around with me to work on in spare moments.
I've been thinking lately about my dear local church family. For the past year or two, I feel like I've been on a honeymoon with them. Now, as I've been getting to know people better, it's like any relationship - flaws become evident, weaknesses and inadequacies show up. Basically, what could have become an idol is crumbling. Which is good! The trick at this point is to press on with them, and remember that even imperfect people are absolute treasures, as near and dear to me as my own arms and legs. Which they are, literally in the spiritual sense. I need them. And wonder of wonders, they need me! I no longer need be critical if someone is not the best of ears - maybe he's an eye. I can now appreciate him for his ear-y-ness. ;-) Another person might be an eye, but maybe they need me to be the best toungue I can be for them.
Just thinking about this makes me ecstatic. Maybe the honeymoon doesn't need to end. ;-) I love how God set us up to help and depend on one another. So glad Church is more than a Sunday morning gathering! So glad God gave us weird and hilarious illustrations to help us remember!