Friday, June 03, 2005

Books, Blogs, and Belly Buttons

My second daughter was asking me this morning about her belly button. "Was I naked inside Mommy's belly?" And I explained to her that the umbilical cord fed her and helped her to "breathe." Our belly buttons are marks on our bodies that remind us where we came from, where we began. Reminders like that are important for us. We have such terrible memories.

The Bible is a series of markers. Throughout their history, the Israelites set up markers, that they might remember the extraordinary mercies and works of God. And they were able to say, "Hey, if you don't believe me, go look at the 12 stones in the middle of the Jordan - they're still there." When questioned about the Trinity, it is good and appropriate to simply say, "Go to the Jordan." Not for the 12 stones, but because all three persons of the Godhead are present at Jesus' baptism. Other literature serves the same purpose. And markers are one of the things I love about stories. I can remember stories.

I wear a wedding band. I take pictures. I read books. Yea, verily, I even blog. These are some of the things I have and do in order to remember. Memory instructs us how to live, and it instructs us how to hope when we feel hopeless.

Scheduled to be burned at the stake, Polycarp, who we believe knew the apostle John and was the bishop of Smyrna, was begged to recant and deny his faith in Christ that he might live. Polycarp responded, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?"

Polycarp remembered.

11 comments:

alison said...

Well said.

Sherry C said...

As a society, we are so set on erasing anything unpleasant that could serve to remind us where we've been.

The little ding in the fender gets taken immediately to the body shop. Scars are drowned in vitamin E oil or taken care of with plastic surgery. Wrinkles are smoothed out. Gray hairs are covered.

Sometimes I think we should keep those things, to help us remember, to be a tangible reminder of what God has faithfully brought us through.

alison said...

I am grateful to have the opportunity to be looking middle age in the headlights, that said, I will fight to look my freshest. I will get me to a stylist the MOMENT a grey hair appears. Call me shallow...I prefer the term spiffy.

But I do not begrudge the silvery stretch marks that glimmer a reminder I was given the privilege to carry and bring forth life three times.

Scott said...

Sherry - When I was teaching, one of the stories that I had my students write about was on a scar they had received. It was always one of my favorites.

Alison - You're so funny. I figure as long as you don't look like one of Macbeth's weird sisters, you're okay with gray. There are alternatives to dye, though. For instance, you could shave it all off. I did that this year. I was going for the Vin Diesel/Jamie Foxx look and ended up with the Uncle Fester look. Good times.

alison said...

Well, I am not grey yet, but I warned Paul when I start to go so do my days of being "low maintenance".

I have shaved my head, 7 years ago. That is a whole nother story, perhaps a blog. I have been trying (OK, sort of) for years. Maybe I will get off my duff.

Sherry and Scott would you have ever thought in 6th grade we would be in a coffee klatch, cyber or otherwise?!

Scott said...

One vote for "Never Would Have Thought It." Though I'm afraid I didn't think much about anything that year. The only thing I remember half-way decently is the trip to Toronto and making out with a bus window.

alison said...

I am so hoping you are referring to falling asleep against the aforementioned window. Please Scott, please.

Sherry C said...

Ah, Toronto. Good times, indeed. I must give a little credit to our cool teachers who allowed us to revolt against the traditional sixth grade camp and go somewhere cool instead. I remember selling box after box of spices to fund that trip.

Another vote here for "never would have thunk it." But cool.

BTW, Alison, speaking of coffee, when I looked back through that scrapbook full of 6th grade memories and the letters from many over the next few years, one phrase was repeated again and again.

"You wanna cup of coffee?"

It was also supplemented with good wishes, invariably taking the form of, "May your coffee cup never run dry."

I don't even remember what this was about. Oh, for a better memory.

Sherry C said...

Oh, and Alison, do tell about shaving your head.

alison said...

Nary a spice was sold by me. I think the coffee thing was from that stupid book we found so hilarious, "Sick of Being Sick". Remember?

I will blog about the shaving sometime.

Scott said...

Yeah . . . I was referring to falling asleep against the window.