Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Here Comes Jack…"

Since my accident over 20 years ago now, I seem to dream all through the night. This wasn't the case before my accident. I think it may have to do with the fact that I can't move my body so my mind is often times overly active. One important thing I have learned over the years as I pray before going to sleep is that the Lord will bless me with a deep sleep and beautiful and sweet dreams, and even reveal his will to me for my life, if he would desire to do so. Those prayers have been heard and answered more often than I am sure I deserve.

Several nights ago I had a dream I can't get out of my mind. I believe I learned a great lesson from it. In the dream I was walking, which isn't always the case with me anymore in my dreams. For years in my dreams I was always walking and doing quite nicely without life support. The past several years however, when I dream I normally am in my wheelchair and on life support. In this dream I was approaching a group of three or four men who were about to get into a car and drive away. One of the men I recognized as a dear friend who I had not seen for many years. I can remember how happy I was to see him once again. I actually began to run toward him to embrace him, and then with a little bit of a scowl on his face he muttered under his breath to the men who were with him, "Here comes Jack Rushton, I hope he doesn't take too much of my time!" His words were like a dagger going into my heart. I was just devastated by what he said. He knew I had heard him and he tried to feebly make excuses for what he had said. However, nothing he could say was able to erase the pain and embarrassment his words had caused. I woke up at that point, grateful it was just a dream, but pondering on how it had ended.

I suppose however, that justice was served in the dream. I do believe something I have been trying to overcome for years, and thankfully I am making progress the older I get, is to put people before my personal projects, programs, agenda and timetable. I hate to admit it, but sometimes when people unexpectedly drop in to visit, I have to make a conscious effort to give them my full attention and not secretly inside wish they would go so I could continue on with my "important" project.

The confrontation Jesus had with the rich young man has always pricked my conscience and caused me to do some serious pondering and questioning about my own life. "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the Commandments." [Matthew 19:16-17]. The young man asked, "Which?" Jesus then quoted to him the 10 Commandments. "The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions." [Matthew 19:20- 22]

I don't believe the Savior is telling all of us to give away all of our earthly possessions to the poor and then come follow him. I do believe he is telling us, or at least me anyway, to seriously ask myself the same question the rich young man asked Him, "What lack I yet?" As I have asked that question many times during my lifetime I have received a variety of answers, but I must confess that one of the main things I have lacked over the years is an unwillingness to give of my time as freely as I think I should. Giving money has never been a problem with me, I suppose because I never have had a great deal of it. Had I been blessed with the "small fortune" that Tevia sang and prayed for in "Fiddler on the Roof," perhaps I would've been like the rich young man. But my time? That has always been one of my most precious possessions, and the most difficult to freely give to others. Thankfully I am making some progress in that area of my life.

Of course, Jesus is our example in every aspect of our lives. As a teacher and as a counselor for many years of my life, I have always been impressed by John's record of Jesus teaching the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well as he and his apostles traveled to Galilee through Samaria. It was late spring or early summer and Jesus and his apostles were undoubtedly very thirsty, tired, and hungry. It was 12 PM, the time of day when the sun would be extremely hot in the Middle East, especially at that time of the year. The apostles were sent by the Savior to the nearby village to get something for them to eat. You know the story very well as recorded in John 4:1-26. A single Samaritan woman came to the well to draw water at that time of the day which revealed that she was undoubtedly avoiding the company of the other women in the village who would have come early in the cool of the morning to draw their water. Revealing his prophetic powers to her, he bears witness that he is the Messiah. "The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he." [John 4:25-26]

The thing that has always impressed me so much in John's account, beyond Jesus' great object lesson and teaching regarding "living water," is that he would take the time to teach with all his heart and passion, this rather sketchy Samaritan woman of apparently little consequence. Whenever I feel I am "too busy" to give my full time and attention and the best I have to the one or two people I may be visiting with, "especially those viewed as of "little consequence" in our society, I think of the Savior and the Samaritan woman at the well, and I am embarrassed and immediately try to repent.

I suppose it would not be a bad idea on occasion for all of us to, with a sincere heart and real intent, ask Heavenly Father, "What lack I yet?" I am sure the answer will be different for each one of us, and even different at different times in our lives. I believe the challenge, at least for me anyway, is to really listen and then obey.

Yes, I do believe that justice was served in my dream when my good friend said, "Here comes Jack, I hope he doesn't take too much of my time!" Hopefully I will continue to make progress to overcome this weakness, and in my heart of hearts while visiting with another human being, never have the thought come to me, "I hope so and so doesn't take too much of my precious time!"


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