Wednesday, September 22, 2004

lesson in a banana

Odd things drift to the surface of my memory. I’m sitting here eating a banana, cutting out a brown spot, and remembering something from when my children were small.

We lived in a quiet neighborhood, and I guess most people thought my children were extremely sheltered. I make no apology for it, and can’t tell that it hurt them in the long-run. Worldliness and wickedness is something you can get caught up on fairly quickly. My three girls played with neighbor children of every description – older, younger, black, white, rich, poor, boys, girls. And since they usually traveled as a threesome, it seemed safe ... and empowering.

There came a time, however, when I became aware of three little boys who seemed to have an agenda to find (i.e. make) trouble. Without wanting to cause alarm, I told my girls in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact, non-forbidding way, “Those boys don’t seem very nice. Maybe it would be best if you did not play with them.” My girls were very young, perhaps 2, 4 and 5 years old. Certainly too young to explain the exact details of my concern. I prayed that a simple word of caution would alert them to the need to be aware, and to plant the concept that they could choose to avoid playing with whomever, if they so desired.

One of the girls looked up at me with wide, innocent eyes and inquired, “Do you mean they do bad things like eat the bad spots on bananas?” Ah, innocence. I think it was all I could do to stifle my laughter at the thought of how truly innocent those children were. And simultaneously almost wept at the contrast of how wicked humanity can be. How can a mother bear to be the one to teach unpleasant things to the children she has worked so hard to raise, and protect and instruct?

Now, as I eat my banana, I think about the daily choices I make – who I spend time with, the jokes I laugh at, the television and movies I watch, the music I listen to, the web-sites I visit. I cut the brown spot from my banana, but do I seek to cut the bad influences out of my life? Do the choices I make please a tender, loving Father who does not desire to deprive me of good things, who wants me to be blessed in everything I do?

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of the wicked, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
Psalm 1:1

Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and of good report – anything excellent and worthy of praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

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