The one you feed wins
Growing up, I can’t remember ever hearing anything about a citywide curfew, but I can remember being reminded often the curfew my mother, and many other neighborhood mothers, placed on her children, “When the streetlights come on, I want you in this house!” There was no compromise, it was the law.
Now, there are exceptions and ways of bending laws and, of course, when two or more children from different families with different ideals of living get together, some very rational schemes of individual development can emerge. During the days of summer, the streetlights extended our days of growth and development to nearly nine o’clock at night. But during the winter school-time months, we were cut short of our time by nearly four hours. “Spend that time studying,” we were told, and I wish I had now.
Anyway, that was leverage for a real negotiation and an opportunity to exercise a rational argument with mother to stay outside after the streetlights came on. I was also learning to seal selfish deals by laying a guilt trip on one’s senior, “Trust me. I’m not going to get in trouble.” So, we had a “time” we had to be in the house. That also brought about my first wristwatch and little did I know, the beginning of advanced responsibility training.
Things must have gotten out of control across the country with kids negotiating after-dark privileges, because before long there was a television public awareness commercial asking, “It’s 9 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” I also remember not too many years after that, “Saturday Night Live” ran a spoof skit asking the question, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your parents are?” I guess we grew up and forgot to come home at night. It’s sad to think we no longer teach our youth from our mistakes.
I suppose it will be months if not years before we understand what was going on in the brilliant mind of 24-year-old James Holmes. His planning must have gone on for months as he calculated the fulfillment of his attack. How could, and why did he, bring himself to kill 12 people and injure 59 others?
Entering probably what will be the last quarter of play in my life, I question my reasoning for being in crowds and staying out after the streetlights come on. I now prefer flying under the radar, out of the line of fire.
All this brings to mind the old Native American proverb, “Two Wolves.” One evening an old Native American told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is: anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false, pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a minute, and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The wise old man simply replied, “The one you feed.”
[Psalm 90] Man is either a lover of God, a negotiator with God to justify his selfish living, or a lover of the dark where he feels free. People want to know, “How can this happen?” and “Where is God?” Assure yourself of these two facts: God is not a negotiator, nor does God live in the dark. If you find yourself in either of these relationships with God, you won’t find Him. If, however, you are a lover of God, you will echo the prayer of Moses.
Life is not fair, but God’s love and majesty will make all the trials of life and years of labor worth the glory we will share, if we live in Him.
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.