except it's ME!
|"You may go anywhere on the estate grounds|
but you must never, under any circumstances,
enter the north wing."
orange - totally true
pink - that happened to me
green - that happened to me but I'm pretending it happened to someone else.
blue - that happened but I'm exaggerating for comic effect
gold - never, ever happened
purple - I made that up just now but I wish it would happen
red - sarcasm alert
Hee-heeee! Just kidding. Obviously, that is silly and unnecessary. Let's get back to Midge Brontë.
The second thing that occurred to me was that, strangely enough, Midge reminds me of myself. Her dental woes happen to make a great metaphor for my own stumbly walk with God. There have been times that I have ignored God's commandments on how to live life and have chosen to go my own way. Just like Midge, I ended up suffering the natural consequences of my actions. Of course, as explained in my first blog entry, those stories, the unmentionables, will stay tucked away in the underwear drawer.
However, those unpleasant experiences were valuable because they taught me that God's requirements are not intended to ruin our good times nor are they criteria for racking up brownie points or getting into heaven. Instead, they are meant to make our lives better, happier, safer, etc. For example, God knows that if I covet my neighbor's riding lawnmower, I'm eventually going to go broke trying to keep up or I'm going to turn into the bitter neighborhood jerk who never gets invited to the block party barbecue.
When the dental hygienist told Midge, "No drinking through a straw," she wasn't trying to ruin Midge's vacation by denying her the pleasure of a diet soda. The hygienist was trying to protect Miss B. from causing herself avoidable skull-searing pain. Likewise, when God says, "I'm serious - no gossiping, no adultery, no coveting," He's not trying to limit our enjoyment of life. He's trying to protect us from causing ourselves and certainly others heart-searing pain.
While I was writing this, I asked a friend to read it to make sure I wasn't making up stuff up as far as bible doctrine. She pointed out that in John 14:15, Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments," and so our motivation in following God's commandments should be out of love for Him rather than to avoid negative consequences.
For me, these two motivating factors, love for God and the desire to avoid any additional unnecessary pain, came together years ago in one explosive realization that...well, that might make another decent blog post, now that I think about it.
So for now I'll advise Miss Brontë to trust her dentist and follow his directions in the future. Meanwhile, I'm going to do my best to keep her unnecessary suffering in mind the next time I'm tempted to deliberately ignore one of God's commandments for a well-lived life.