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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Christian Pastor Killed in India

A Christian pastor was killed recently in India.

A friend of his, also a pastor (I’ll call him "Pastor H") in India, posted this message on Facebook on July 7, 2016:

"Dear spiritual brothers and sisters, friends, please pray for Pastor Maraiah, killed by Maoists in Andhra Pradesh. What a WONDERFUL TESTIMONY about [this] pastor and brother from Sarapaka."

Pastor Maraiah worked among the Koya people.

"He had been targeted by Naxales, just because he was bringing [the] Koya people to Christ," says Pastor H. "Several times he [was] warned by them [the Naxales]. His son [was] also was kidnapped earlier. Despite these [things], he never cared [about] their warning and proclaimed the Gospel and became a martyr for Christ."

Pastor H offered this prayer for his deceased friend:

"May the Lord comfort their family and church. May the Lord raise [up] many more kannaiahs. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."

On August 2, 2016, Pastor H posted this Facebook message:      

"Dear spiritual brothers and sisters, friends, as you all know, a few days back a pastor was tortured and killed by Maoists in Andhra Pradesh, but [there is] still no reaction from government. [This] coming week, me and friends [are] going to meet that pastor's family and [are] willing to support [them] financially. If anyone wants to support his family or is willing to come with me, please let me know before coming Sunday. God is going to change many Maoists [into] pastors and make them to do ministry in [the] same place. Soon, if God allows, [I] will raise support and build a church in same place. Hallelujah!!!"

Naxalites allegedly killed Pastor Mariah.

What is a “Naxalite”?

A “Naxal” or “Naxalite” is a member of any of the Communist guerrilla groups in India, mostly associated with the Communist Party of India (Maoist), according to internet sources (especially “Wikipedia”).

The term “Naxal” derives from the name of the village Naxalbari in West Bengal, where the movement had its origin. Naxalites are considered far-left radical communists, supportive of Maoist political sentiment and ideology.

The below information is from “Wikipedia” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naxalite%E2%80%93Maoist_insurgency):

The armed wing of the Naxalite–Maoists is called the PLGA (Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army) and is estimated to have between 6,500 and 9,500 cadres, mostly armed with small arms. The Naxalites control territory throughout Bihar, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh states in India and claim to be supported by the poorest of the rural population, especially the Adivasis.

In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites the “single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country.”

It was estimated in 2007 that Naxalites were active across 40 percent of India’s geographical area in an area known as the "Red Corridor." 

What is the difference between Maoism and Naxalism? 

Maoism originated in China. Naxalism originated in India.

Maoism began in China as a form of Communist theory derived from the teachings of the Chinese leader Mao Zedong. Developed during the 1950s and ’60s, it was applied widely as the political-and-military guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China until 1977-78. Maoism emphasized the advancement of people’s social and economic life by establishing a classless society through armed revolution. … Maoism sees the agrarian peasantry, rather than the working class, as the key revolutionary force that can basically transform capitalist society towards socialism. Maoist philosophy: “Power flows from the barrel of the gun.”

Naxalism originated In India as a rebellion against lack of development and poverty at the local level in the rural parts of eastern India. . . . Their initial ideology came from Marx and Lenin. Later, they were also influenced by Mao Zedong’s communist theory.

The difference between Maoism and Naxalism, apart from their origins, is the scale of ideologies during their uprising. Maoism desires to take control of government and run government, enforcing its ideology on a whole country.

During the uprising of Naxalism, rural-area workers revolted against their masters and landlords, protesting marginalization of the poor or rural areas. Maoism’s aim was to fundamentally transform a country towards socialism, but Naxalism, originating in India, focused on the anger of working-class people. Naxalites reportedly now follow Maoist theory to achieve the same “end results” or goals.

Through the merger of the People's War and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC), the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was formed in 2004 and aims to overthrow the government of India “through people's war.” Now, Naxalites work mostly under the influence of the CPI-Maoist, which is currently described as a terrorist organization by the Indian government because it organizes mass killings to further its ideology.

Though there were some differences in the ideology of Naxalism and the ideology of Maoism during their uprisings, the Naxalites now follow Maoist ideologies to achieve their common goals.

Many people are saddened by Pastor Maraiah's death. 

"The blood of the [Christian] martyrs is the seed of the Church." -- Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullian (Apologeticus, Chapter 50).

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Gas Shortage in North Carolina

I heard last Friday about the recent gas line spill in Alabama. A newscaster said there might be gas shortages in our area of central N.C. 

Alabama state workers discovered the leak Sept. 9 when they noticed a strong gasoline odor and sheen on a man-made retention pond, along with dead vegetation.

Internet sources say that Colonial Pipeline acknowledged that since the spill was spotted, between 252,000 gallons and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from its pipeline near Helena, Alabama.

Since 2006, the company has reported 178 spills and other incidents that released a combined 193,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and caused $39 million in property damage. Most were caused by problems with materials, welding or some other equipment failure, according to federal accident records reviewed by The Associated Press. The spill reduced fuel supplies in at least five states – Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

Though I heard about the spill on Friday, I didn’t rush to gas up. My wife’s car was full of petro. My vehicle registered around one-half tank of go-juice.

I failed to think about getting gas on Saturday or Sunday. It crossed my mind on Sunday night. I was hearing more about shortages.

On Monday after lunch and before visiting Gold’s Gym, I stopped by Quality Mart, “our” gas station that sits within sight of Gold’s Gym in Southern Pines.  
I saw cars sitting at each of eight pumps – about two cars at each pump. I pulled near the first pump, which is closest to the station office, but had to wait while lady in front of me filled her car’s tank.

I cut my engine and waited as the lady, who appeared to be over 60 and wearing a hearing aid, moseyed toward the pump. She produced a credit card, inserted it in the credit card (CC) slot on the pump, and quickly withdrew the card. (The CC box asks customers to withdraw cards quickly.) She seemed to be taking her time. I saw her punch one of two choices: credit or debit. Then she entered her zip code to get an approval on her credit card. Next, she selected from high test, medium, or regular for gas. She pumped, and when through, hit a button and received a receipt for her gas. She entered her vehicle, fastened up, and drove away.  

“At last,” I thought.

I cranked and moved to the pump. The high-test and medium-grade gas selections had labels taped above them. Those labels told me there was no gas in either of those pumps. The “regular gas” selection was still available. I followed the same procedure the lady in front of me had because I, too, pay for gas with a credit card. I filled up: 10.309 gallons, $2.199 per gallon, total sale $22.67.

I wanted to kick myself for waiting till Monday to get gas.

“Why did I wait?” I asked myself. “That was cutting it close.”

The next day, my wife drove by that gas station and saw a sign saying “Closed.”

Friday, September 2, 2016

A Sous-Chef Helps with Breakfast and Storm Hermine Blows In

Carol and I rose around 9:00 a.m. this morning in Southern Pines, N.C., because we’d stayed up past midnight. We seldom make a big deal of breakfast – usually eat cereal and such – but Carol wanted to prepare an “egg breakfast” for us this morning. I, her “sous-chef,” laid out materials I’ve learned to gather when my wife decides to “make breakfast”:

Four eggs to scramble
Frying pan for scrambling eggs
Cheese (already-grated sharp cheddar)
Milk (one percent)
Hand towel spread on each serving tray
Plates and silverware on two trays
Four pieces of bread for toasting
Butter in small dish for microwaving
Tablespoons of strawberry jam on plates
Teabags (one de-caf, one caf)
Two cups of orange juice
Boiled water for tea
(Whew! I was tired already.)

Carol then stepped to the podium – I mean the stove – to conduct the breakfast-making. She cracked eggs, and mixed eggs, butter, milk, and cheese in the frying pan. I melted butter in a small dish in the microwave.

“Is it time to push down the toaster?” I asked, looking at four pieces of loaf bread sticking up from the toaster.

“Not yet,” she said.

I soon received the OK and pushed down two levers, lowering four slices of bread into the “tanning bed.”  

“You’re toast,” I thought, musing about the popular meaning of that phrase that has come “to indicate that the person being addressed is in deep trouble” (urbandictionary.com).   

I hurried two cups of orange juice into our living room and placed them on a nightstand sitting between our two recliners. We eat in that room and watch TV while we munch.

Carol poured boiling water into teacups. I used the contents of five sugar-substitute (with “stevia”) packets in with my de-caffeinated Lipton teabag. I plopped the contents of three sugar-substitute packets and a caffeinated tea bag into Carol's cup. She likes caffeine, but too much caffeine can mess with my heart’s rhythm. 

Carol continued scrambling eggs while I ejected the toast and smeared butter on it, spreading melted butter with a spoon. I cut the crusts off Carol’s toast, because she finds bread crusts hard to chew. I cut each of her two pieces of white bread in half. She wants her toast “just so.”   

Carol took the frying pan off the stove and brought it to the plates (sitting on trays). She divided the eggs, giving me a bit more than half of the mass.

I scurried with teas to the living room and set them on coasters lying on a nightstand. A lamp sits on the nightstand, along with some of my pens and pencils and Carol’s medicines and whatever. The stand is getting a bit cluttered.

Carol and I brought our trays to our recliners. She hit the mute button on the remote controlling the large TV sitting across the room. I asked a blessing on our food.

She de-muted the TV and a Raleigh, N.C., news reporter gave us the latest on Tropical Storm Hermine. A lady weather person said something such as this: “The storm will push through Georgia and South Carolina Friday before arriving in North Carolina late Friday."

“It’s a good day to stay inside,” I thought to myself. "I hope the power doesn’t go out.”

I washed the morning’s dishes and gazed out our kitchen window. The sky appeared gray, rain was falling lightly, and the wind was “getting up.” “Lord, please don’t let our electric go off,” I thought.

I moseyed to my computer and typed this account of our tasty Friday morning breakfast. I thought about how much my wife likes to watch TV on rainy days and about how I enjoy playing around on my computer. And I thought-prayed, “Lord, please don’t let our electric power go down. If it does, we’re ‘toast.’”

Thursday, April 7, 2016

UNC 'by 10 points' Ruined by a Buzzer-Beater Shot

“Ten points on North Carolina,” he said, smiling during mid-afternoon, Monday, April 4, 2016.  

He stood beside a strengthen-your-back machine at the Gold’s Gym located seven minutes from my Southern Pines home. His large-wheeled walker (with 6-inch wheels) featuring a seat and a “ruby red finish” stood near the exercise machine. He moved his legs slowly, stiffly. His feet dragged. He appeared to be in his early 60s.

“What’d you say?” I asked, scooting off a nearby machine and moving three feet in order to stand beside the trim, graying African-American man who evidenced a serious physical handicap.  

“Ten points on North Carolina,” he repeated.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship basketball game was slated for that evening in Houston, Texas: the University of North Carolina vs. Villanova University.  

“I’m rooting for UNC, too,” I said. “They may win by more than ten points.”

“Yep,” the man said. “They might.”

“UNC has some really good big men,” I noted.

I’d met this man before but forgotten his name.

“I’m Steve,” I said, reaching for his right hand.

“I’m William,” he said.

I don’t know if he remembered me. I felt bad for not recalling his name. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” someone said. Many times I’ve vowed to remember a person’s name (either a moniker or a surname) and within an hour or two forgotten. I felt glad that William reached out to me with his comment about UNC. In the Gold’s Gym I frequent, people often pass within a few feet of each other and seem to pretend that the humans they’re near are invisible.

“They’re there [in Gold’s Gym] on business,” a friend told me. “They don’t have time to talk to strangers. They’re trying to maintain their spaces. That’s just the way it is.”  

“How about just a nod of a head or a meeting of eyes,” I’d thought, remembering that now-overused summation: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  

“I’ll be watching the game, tonight, while you are,” I told William.

“I think they’ll win,” he said.

“It’s good to see you in here,” I said, glancing at his walker.

“I have a spinal-disconnect injury,” he said. “I need to exercise. I feel better when I do, and then I can go home and sleep.”

“Great to see you,” I said.

“Yep,” he replied, as he moved on to another machine.

That night, as I watched the game via TV, I remembered William’s words: “Ten points on North Carolina.”

The Tar Heels led by five points (39-34) at halftime but shot poorly during the second half.

UNC came back from 10 points down with five-and-a-half minutes left and from six points down with 1:52 to play. UNC’s Marcus Paige bucketed an outstanding 3-point shot from long distance to tie the game at 74-74. With 4.7 seconds left, Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono worked the ball upcourt and passed it off to teammate Kris Jenkins, who swished it from about two steps behind the 3-point line. Game over. The Villanova folk went wild.

I thought of William, probably sitting near his big-wheeled walker, watching the game end. I hoped he wasn’t too disappointed.

“Ten points on North Carolina,” he’d said, earlier that day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Whiskey Money, Glassy Mountain, and a Preacher

My Uncle Fred recently told me about a preacher who “went back” on what he said from a pulpit.

When he quit working on his parents’ farm, located in the Mountain View Community of Greenville County, S.C., and began working “in the mill,” Fred rode to work with Jim Few. But Fred married Frances Hawkins and began riding to work with Frances, Mary Mason (Frances’ sister), Paul McKinney, and Kirby Lindsey (Frances’ brother-in-law). They all worked for the now-closed Southern Bleachery (SB), a cloth-processing mill, in Taylors, S.C. That group rode in a car driven by Haskell Harrison. Fred and Frances rode in a carpool for about 21 years, Fred says.

“Haskell picked us all up,” Fred says. “We paid him on each Friday for our rides to work and back.”

(Before Fred hired on at SB, Paul Belue worked there and drove a bus to collect riders to go to work at SB – sort of a “bus pool” from up around the Mountain View area.)

Haskell Harrison attended Glassy Mountain Church of God and is deceased. His son, Zeno Harrison, “leads singing at the Church of God in Greer [S.C.],” Fred says.

Fred doesn’t remember the name of the church Harrison attended when Harrison witnessed a particularly troubling conversation at that church. Fred had been working at SB for four or five years and was 24-25 years old when he heard about the preacher in the story that Haskell told to his carpool.

Glassy Mountain was the home of homemade whiskey back in the 1930s and ’40s, someone said. The Glassy Mountain area and “west of it,” included areas with names such as Callahan, Merridell, North Fork, Terry Creek, and Terrydell.   

Harrison said that selling homemade whiskey was prevalent where he lived. He told his carpool about a preacher who spoke at the church he attended and announced before the offering was received, “If you have money that you made from selling whiskey, don’t put that in the offering plate, because I don’t want it. If you’ve been making whiskey or dealing in it, don’t put money from it in the plate.”

After the service, a man told the minister, “Preacher, I had a hundred dollars in my pocket that I was going to give you, but I made it from selling whiskey.”

Harrison said he heard the preacher say, “That’s all right, brother. Just give it to me. It’ll spend OK.”

The members of the carpool group heard that story that portrayed a sad image of a preacher.

Hypocrites, especially “religious” ones, hurt people, but I believe most ministers who really preach the Gospel are not hypocrites.

People often get damaged by – or become disillusioned with – individual hypocrites or a local church. Someone said, “If being hurt by a church causes you to lose faith in God, then your faith was in people, not in God.”

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

But we have to trust other Christians to get much done in this world. We are supposed to act as “the Body of Christ” in a corporate sense and minister to each other and to the world.

Someone said, “If you have been let down by a Christian, pastor or church member, perhaps it is time to find another church, but your faith should not rest in man. When considering the eternal destination of your soul, don’t let the actions of sinful man determine your commitment or distract you from the Gospel message. Jesus Christ was not a hypocrite, in Him there is no deception, no dishonesty; in Him there is only truth.”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mother's Plants

Shown is my late Mother’s donkey plant holder. 

Shown is my late Mother’s Scotty Dog plant holder.

My mother liked plants. She was raised as a South Carolina farm girl. She had two sisters and six brothers. 

When I was a small child, my family lived in a white-shingled house on Groce Meadow Road, Taylors, S.C. Taylors was a town located miles from our house. The Taylors post office serviced our “rural route” in upper Greenville County, so our mailing address was “Taylors,” though we lived near the rural Sandy Flat and Mountain View communities. That was a bit confusing to me, as a child.

I remember the side steps of our family’s house. During spring and summer, Mother kept an elephant ear plant (“Colocasia”) beside those steps. It grew from the ground and not from a pot. I liked that plant with its three thick, long stems and huge green “ears” that transported me in imagination to African jungles. 

Those plants are tubers and can’t survive outdoors in winter, I’ve read. I don’t recall Mother buying a bulb or digging up and storing a used bulb as summers ended. I think the bulb lay dormant in the ground and “came back” every year. Shirley, my younger sister and only sibling, says those bulbs can last for a few years in the ground if the weather isn’t too cold. Perhaps being planted near our house kept that bulb alive for several years.

A sage plant grew where the planted-in-fescue field met up with the mowed backyard of our house. Mother planted that sage; I recall its potent smell. Ornamental as well as useful, that plant’s gray-green leaves flavored dressing Mother sometimes served with chicken and gravy.

Mama liked “thrift,” but what she called “thrift” may have been “phlox subulata.”

The “Missouri Botanical Garden” site describes the “thrift” I remember helping Dad and Mom plant in our yard on Groce Meadow Road. That plant “crept” and spread carpet-like and could prick-tickle one’s fingers. Mother obtained most of her thrift from friends who gave her patches of it to plant on a small bank in front of our house. She also used “thrift” as a border for plants nestled near our abode’s foundation. I especially liked white thrift, which, during springtime, stood out visually in yards I observed while riding the Mountain View Elementary School bus.   

(From “missouribotanicalgarden.org: “Moss phlox [also moss pink, mountain phlox or creeping phlox] is a vigorous, spreading, mat-forming, sun-loving phlox that grows to only six inches tall but spreads to 24 inches wide. It is noted for it creeping habit.” That phlox blooms in April-May. Its flowers are red-purple to violet-purple, pink or infrequently white, sources say.) 

I don’t see thrift much these days. Maybe it diminished in popularity like the Chinaberry tree and “nandina” plants, also called “heavenly bamboo” or “sacred bamboo.”

Some jonquils grew in our yard. Their yellow blooms let us know when spring was arriving.

Mother groomed azaleas in our yard, of course. What proper Southern home didn’t?

My parents grew a grapevine that twined around a wooden latticework Dad built. Many farms cultivated grapevines. I suppose our property qualified as a “farm.” We owned 13 acres. Dad, an 84th Infantry veteran, returned from Germany in 1945, after the U.S. helped the Allies win World War II, and within a few years, he bought 13 acres of land. I suppose he intended to farm a little, “on the side.” Before the war, he had worked at Southern Bleachery, a cloth-processing plant in Taylors, S.C. He returned there after his “tour of duty.”

Our grapevine grew well and was located not far from the nice barn that Dad and his father built. It wasn’t weathered and old like most of the barns I saw in our section of the South.  

I guess Mother asked Dad to dig a hole for a kidney-shaped goldfish pond. (I don’t think Dad came up with that idea, because of the work involved.) He made an indention in the earth that measured about three feet across, about six or seven feet long, and probably two feet deep. He laid a thick layer of cement into the bottom and sloping sides of that pond. He had no modern plastic liner to use for our fishpond.

With my younger sister, Dad, Mom, and Mrs. Miriam Collins (our neighbor), I walked down into the woods behind the Collins’ house. Among tall pines and undergrowth was cradled a fair-sized pond with lily pads. Dad waded into that shaded pond and pulled up some lily pads, along with their roots.

We thanked Mrs. Collins and trekked up through the forest to her house. At home, Dad put soil and those lily pads into a wooden box he’d made. The box sat in the goldfish pond so that when Dad filled the pond, water came up over the box. The lily pads provided extra oxygen to help fish stay alive. I think Mother must have found her plan for a fishpond in a magazine or borrowed a plan from a friend. As far as I know, that pond never leaked and seldom needed water added. Mother bought a few goldfish in nearby Greenville, and those fish ate grasshoppers and other insects that ventured into the pond. That pond, a few goldfish, and those lily pads all thrived.

Mother wanted a weeping willow tree, and Dad planted it near the fishpond.

There are reportedly more than 400 species of weeping willows, which can grow up to ten feet per year. Weeping willow trees originally came from China, and are symbolic of death, thanks to their weeping forms.

Our willow’s limbs grew upward but its long, trailing shoots drooped toward the ground. From each branch grew flat, narrow leaves that pointed toward the sod. Our tree, as expected, helped our pond exude an Oriental appearance.

That tree gave an appearance of weeping, but its willowy appendages could cause one to shed real tears. When willow limbs became “switches,” tears followed. At times, after my sister and I misbehaved, we had to walk to the willow tree and each select a switch that would “stripe” our legs. I thought that being forced to select one’s own switch seemed a bit cruel, but that’s the way Dad often “spared not the rod.”    

Dad would hold the end of a switch in one hand and pull his other hand down that limb to tear off the leaves. He was left holding an almost unbreakable “whip” supplied by nature. A willow switch stings fiercely.

I like the form of a weeping willow and the slither of sound one can hear as wind stirs a willow’s limbs and leaves, but I never see a weeping willow that I don’t think about the sting of a willow switch on a child’s bare leg.

Mother liked to keep a few houseplants. I suppose I was five years old when my sister and I first visited Miriam Collins’ house, located just up and across the road that lay in front of our house. Mother called Mrs. Collins “Miirm,” pronouncing “Miriam” as a one-syllable word, and called Miriam’s husband “Thern.” Years later, I realized his name was “Theron.” The couple had four children: two boys and two girls. The boys were adults and lived on their own, as I recall. Thetwo daughters, nearly grown, still lived at home with their parents.

Miriam Collins’ white frame house sat back under huge oaks. The house sported a front porch, and a “good many” steps led up to that porch where chairs sat. The living room, clean and old-fashioned, opened into a dining area. Shaded by tall trees, the house seemed dark inside during morning hours when we visited. Two large dining room windows let in light for sun-seeking potted plants placed on tiers along one wall in that dining room. Mrs. Collins sold special containers and pots for plants. I don’t know if she sold pots to everyone or just to Mother, but she seemed to purchase extra ceramic pieces, and Mother bought several “planters” during visits we made on foot to the Collins’ house. (Mother didn’t have a driver’s license, and we had only one 1951 2-door, black Chevrolet. We walked to neighbors’ houses, if we went.) I still have two ceramic planters Mother bought from Mrs. Collins: a donkey that can hold a small cactus and a beige-colored “Scotty Dog” piece (five Scottish Terrier images are reproduced on the front of the planter).

Mrs. Collins had charcoal-colored hair that shaded to gray in places. Her skin was darker than her mate’s. During one of our visits, Mr. Collins walked into their kitchen while we stood in the dining area. I’d never seen Mr. Collins up close. He wore blue overalls and had fair skin that seemed to tint toward orange. I recall that Mrs. Collins didn’t say much as her marriage partner somberly looked at us with light blue eyes that appeared to be a lighter, faded version of the color of his overalls. I don’t recall that Mr. Collins spoke to us, and he soon left the house.

During my first-grade year at Mountain Elementary, Mr. Collins disappeared. A day or two passed, and, while at school, I wondered what happened to him. One day, after I hopped off the bus and entered our house, Mother told me that some men saw buzzards circling behind the Collins’ house. They found Mr. Collins’ body in the woods. I felt sad and wondered if they found him near the pond we had visited to get our lily pads. I wondered how Mrs. Collins felt about her husband’s passing.

Once in a while, I look at the two plant containers that Mother bought from Mrs. Collins, and I think about Mother and her plants and about Groce Meadow Road.  

Friday, November 6, 2015

It Goes If You Push It

Years ago, when I worked for Bigelow-Sanford (carpet manufacturing) in Greenville, S.C., I asked a thin, hard-working lady who headed up projects in Bigelow’s pilot plant, “How’s it going?”

She looked at me through glasses perched on her narrow nose. She raised a lighted cigarette to her thin lips, took a draw, expelled some smoke, and said, “It goes if you push it.”

She was/is right, in lots of ways. How things “go” often involve how we “push.”

Some things happen that we don’t control, but many things depend on our “push” in order to get stuff moving in a right direction.

Take me, for example: I stayed up late last night and woke up, today, around six a.m. but decided I needed more sleep. When I woke up around nine a.m., I felt as though I was in a fog. I seemed addled. I had been sleeping, as they say, like a log. I guess a log is heavy and lies pretty still in the forest.

As I lay on my bed, I thought, “I need to sit up, stand up, and head to the bathroom. I just can’t lie here and ‘think’ myself ready.” I have a body and can’t live just in my mind, or not much will get done.

The Bible indicates that humans are each made up of a body, a soul, and a spirit. Someone said that if any two of those components agree about doing something, each person will do the thing the prevailing two components agree on.

That idea seems to be a takeoff on some words that Jesus said, recorded in this verse:

“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:19 NASB).

OK, so I was lying in the bed, and I said to myself, “I need to get up.”

My spirit and soul agreed that I needed to get up, but my body was sassing back, saying, “No, I want to lie here in this nice bed. Leave me alone. Wa-a-a, wa-a-a.”

My spirit and soul agreed about rising from the bed, though my soul seemed a little weak and wanted to side with my body. My old body started moving but was whining, “No, no, I don’t wanna go!”

So, here I am, sitting at my computer. My body is still whining a good bit, but it’s under control, I reckon, for the time being.