|Farmer John and me, dancing at our son's wedding. My smile proves that happiness is possible even after doing something not very bright, such as locking oneself into a closet at a wedding reception.|
Years ago I watched a television interview with a famous movie actor. At one point in the segment, the host asked whether there was anything in day-to-day life that got under the actor's skin. "What really bothers you?" the interviewer asked.
The actor answered tersely and succinctly, "Stupid. I can't stand 'stupid.' He leveled his piercing gaze upon the hapless reporter and paused a moment in order to heighten the dramatic impact of his words, "Stupid really bothers me."
And that was that. The interview came to a close and I had the feeling that the actor's impression of the interviewer was probably very close to the sentiment he expressed in that one word, "Stupid."
I've thought of this exchange often over the years, particularly whenever I do anything that is, well, stupid.
Like the time I drove really close to the railroad tracks in order to cautiously look both ways just as the bells began to ring and the arms descended. I panicked, couldn't find the gear shift, and ended up with a three foot long scratch along the side of our brand new Ford Escape from one of the guard arms.
Or the time, in an art class, that I thought "Versailles" was pronounced the way they do it in the Ozark Hills of Missouri, where there is a town of that name. In Missouri they don't call it "Vair-sigh," but it is "Ver-sales", just like it looks. I betrayed my hillbilly upbringing right there in front of a lot of very cultured art students.
And then there was the moment just a couple of weeks ago when I managed to lock myself into a room sized closet during my son's wedding reception. The noise of the crowd kept anyone from hearing as I tapped on the door. I began to shout and finally kicked at the door repeatedly, until suddenly all 250 people in the reception hall fell silent, and with a sort of unified crowd perception, heard my cries for help. My son-in-law unlocked the door and I emerged, red-faced, to the sound of laughter and applause.
I could go on for quite some time with memories of times my lack of intellect or inability to think quickly landed me in an embarrassing situation. I am certain that famous man I quoted at the beginning of this post would not be able to bear my presence for long. Lots of times I'm just not very bright.
But that's OK, because I have a hookup with the Creator of the Universe. I almost feel sorry for people who, through their own grit, determination, intellect, and hard work, are able to gain success; only to see some not-quite-up-to-par sap like me experiencing peace and comfort I don't deserve, just because I prayed.
Most recently one of my near misses with disaster occurred when, after following the Lord's lead to give up my teaching job earlier this spring, I could not find a way to provide health insurance for my husband and myself . We are in our late fifties, and in a situation that would not have surprised someone who is better informed about the health care crisis in this country, I found that private carriers would not accept us, and business carriers would not recognize us as a legitimate small business since we are "just" farmers. Furthermore, the premium quotes we had received were so astoundingly expensive that we could not afford them, even if they would accept us. At three in the morning this past Wednesday, I fell to my knees and cried out to the Lord for help. I received the clear impression that we already possessed both the funds and the solution to an insurance carrier that we needed. I racked my brain and, being not bright as I've clearly established above, couldn't think where in our assets we possibly could find additional monthly income that would cover horrendously expensive insurance premiums.
It is time to make this long story short, but here is the solution we found through a series of serendipitous discoveries that came, not by my savvy, but by God's grace. I found that because I am over 55 and have more than ten years of service as a public employee, that I can retire and begin to draw my pension. I then found that as a retiree with more than ten years of service, by Kansas law both Farmer John and I can continue with the group insurance plan we've had for 22 years through the school where I worked.
Godly wisdom is one thing, human intellect entirely another. By God's grace I can participate in His wisdom and provision, even though I could fairly be categorized as "not quite bright" in the eyes of the world!
Scripture: "It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them" (Psalm 44:3).