Monday, October 26, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes?

OK, so maybe this post has nothing to do with the recent movie... but it has EVERYTHING to do with those oddly shaped tubers that taste so good mashed, baked, or cut into strips and fried.

This post is part of a series on my childhood experiences. As I reminisce (is 34 considered old enough to reminisce???) about growing up, I start to see so many Biblical lessons, that we could all stand to learn.

Take my friend Wes, who learned not only that it's a stupid idea to impulsively throw a rock at a classic car, but also that God's forgiveness (and sometimes that of grumpy neighbors) knows no bounds. Well, his story reminded me of the time I threw potatoes at a little old lady....

Betcha' didn't think me capable of such mischief. Intrigued? Well, read on, then! Don't just sit there gawking!

I spent my first decade (if you count from conception) in a 4th-floor apartment, in Bucharest, Romania. Yes, we occasionally got out, but that's where we lived. The rear of the apartment had a balcony with a tall, cement guard-rail. You can see a little bit of it in the picture above, which features my dad and me, several years before the incident in question. The balcony did not overlook a street, but rather a park-like area, bordered by other nondescript block-apartment buildings like ours.

When I was about 8, an older friend came over and proceeded to get bored. We went out to the balcony, and he noticed a sack of potatoes in the corner. I don't know if my friend did this often, but he showed me how much fun it was to throw a potato at a passerby and promptly duck behind the guard-rail. Now, I really knew better, but it seemed fun AND safe (at least for ME!), so I did it, too. For some reason, it did not occur to me what might've happened if a potato, hurtling through the air from 4 stories up, were to clonk a person in the head, face, or other sensitive areas. It also did not occur to me what would happen to MY sensitive areas, if my strict mom were to interrogate me on why some potatoes were missing! We had our laughs and giggles, he eventually went home, and no one was any the wiser, except, of course, for the handful of poor passersby, who got pelted by our starch bombs.

Some time later, when I was at home, with nothing better to do, it got into my head to play "potato". Betcha' didn't know I was the original Mr. Potato Head! Well, along came this little old lady, carrying some grocery bags from the store. I took aim and let one fly. It hit her bag and took her entirely by surprise. I was ducking behind my wall, but I could hear her yelling, up toward the building. She said something to the effect of, "Shame on you! Your parents should have raised you better!"

Growing up, I was a very obedient kid, who could not stand being scolded. But this was worse. This lady, whom I didn't even know, was passing judgment on my own parents, whom I loved and respected very much. They DID raise me (mostly) right; it was my own decision, and mine alone, that brought them dishonor.

That same connection binds our own words and actions to our Savior's perceived image. As children of God, we are commissioned not only to live according to the faith that we have in Him, but also to make the Way attractive, so that those we come in contact with may desire the same salvation that He bought for everyone. But if through our words and actions, we misrepresent Jesus Christ, we push people away from Him. How can we claim to love our neighbor, if we push him away from the One who loves him the most?

Needless to say, her words cut me to the core, and I put down the potato forever (at least, as a WMD). And my bottom was very thankful that my mom never found out about this incident (and even if she did read blogs, I think the statute of limitation expired long ago). But remember that Jesus is watching your every move, as are those around you, who are inwardly yearning to be reconciled unto God.

11 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Greg,

Potatos? I would not want to be hit by a raw potato from any distance let alone 4 stories up. Ouch! Did it knock the bag right out of the lady's hand?

Very good example of how our behavior can reflect on others. And we need to be aware if we make ourselves known as Christians we will be reflecting Christ in our actions.

Is the picture you and your father?

Larry E.

westcoastwitness said...

Now that's a good story :)

Dusty Chris said...

Well, if it makes you feel any better, I put a packet of lit firecrackers in my grandmother's back pocket....man could that woman dance!!!! Then, after the music died, I was dancing to the tune of a flyswatter. So, in the the grand scheme of things, what you did was small potatoes.

I enjoy reading what you have to write.

Greg said...

Thanks for stopping by, guys!

Larry, I can't remember, but it might've knocked the bag out of her hand. I'm just thankful she wasn't physically hurt. And yes, that's my dad and me. I was probably close to my 1st b-day, and he was about the age I am now. Scary how time flies!

Dusty, you beat me in the prank department!

satire and theology said...

'Take my friend Wes, who learned not only that it's a stupid idea to impulsively throw a rock at a classic car, but also that God's forgiveness (and sometimes that of grumpy neighbors) knows no bounds. Well, his story reminded me of the time I threw potatoes at a little old lady....'

Well, sadly I have done dumb things too.

'I was ducking behind my wall, but I could hear her yelling, up toward the building. She said something to the effect of, "Shame on you! Your parents should have raised you better!"'

;)

In our teens my friend and I casually threw rotten apples from a nearby tree at our old elementary school and at the time it did not bother me at all.

Dan Rodger said...

Crikey...potato hitting someone from that far up gotta hurt..ouch!

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Greg,

Simple but so profound and true. My husband used to tell the kids that their bad behavior would cause others to look at us as bad parents. I have realized tho that you can be the worst parents and your kids can turn out great or you can be some awesome parents and your kids turn out to be bad. It really does cause one to think about what kind of ambasssador he or she is being for the Lord tho. Even tho He is the greatest Father ever we sure can act like spoiled brats sometimes which causes others to look at Jesus in a bad light. This is why we must keep our eyes on Jesus and realize that we as mere humans will fall short sometimes, but of course this doesn't give one license to misbehave themselves. We should strive to be Christ like and be that awesome example and witness of a child of God!

Great post:)

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Nice post, Greg. As you suggest, even now we are either bringing glory to our Father or bringing shame to Him. Would that we all would consider this as we live each day as His Children!

Thanks for stopping by! And yes, the "Temple" theme and typology is an amazing testament to the Person and Work of Christ.

GGM

satire and theology said...

Hi, Greg, your blog just came up with Blogger next random blog within a large series of religious blogs...interesting and somewhat different for Blogger. I shall continue.:)

Wifey said...

One, of my, favorite stories, Honey, though it's hard, to imagine you, doing something, like that! (Hope that's, enough commas for ya!)

Gigi said...

Just making the rounds - trying to catch up with everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...!