Sunday, October 04, 2009

GRAIN FOR BREAD--Guest Blogger--Dr. Shirley Hereford

My mother said to me the other day, that in this life we are either coming out of a valley of struggle, or we'll soon be entering one again.

That's why today I'm sharing something that was sent to me several months ago when I was in a dark valley of disappointment. Dr. Shirley Hereford is a friend I have not met in person...yet. God-willing one day I will. But Dr. Shirley lives in Bangalore, India, and last spring did me the honor of critiquing my novel SHADOWED IN SILK for historical and cultural accuracy. Through that I feel she has become a friend. I find Dr. Shirley to be a fascinating woman. She has a PhD. in literature, specializing in the writings of African American women. Dr. Shirley taught for many years in a private university for young women in India. I consider it an honor to share with you a piece that she wrote for her parish several years ago.

Grain for Bread--by Dr. Shirley Hereford.

In everything, give thanks!
When the domestic help doesn’t come in, give thanks.
When the milk curdles in the white sauce, give thanks.
When your microwave goes kaput, give thanks.
When your computer crashes and you lose precious data, give thanks.
When you’re diagnosed with hypertension and have to lose weight, give thanks.
When your grubby child places sticky fingers on your favorite outfit, give thanks.
When the electricity turns off before your favorite Television serial, give thanks.
When you have a puncture on your way to work, give thanks.
When you are caught in a traffic jam, give thanks.
When your children upset you, give thanks.
When your husband complains about the food, give thanks.
When it rains on your parade, give thanks!

A recipe for disaster! This could be a typical day in the life of many of us, ordinary mortals. Yet, we are still standing, smiling, coping, and bashing on. That’s more than enough reason to be joyful, to give thanks, because things could be worse. Things can be worse.

We all know and acknowledge this cliché but when it comes to the crux of any issue, it still is about me, myself and I. We get so caught up in the moment, the feeling of loss, of helplessness that we aggravate the situation rather than look at alternatives. It is very difficult to look at the other side, because we are sensitive and vulnerable to hurt, betrayal and pain.

Giving thanks for everything is a tough act to follow. When we know “it is the will of God concerning us”, it becomes even more difficult.

Isaiah 28: 23 – 29 is my personal recipe for coping cheerfully. It constantly reassures me that there is someone in control.

The passage talks about a farmer who treats dill, cummin, rye, barley and wheat differently for he has already decided what they will be used for. The use predetermines the treatment it receives.

Wheat has to be crushed to make whole wheat bread. If it remained intact it would be just a seed with all its limitations. I know that the Lord knows my threshold, is in control and will make his strength visible in my weakness. Knowing that I will not “be crushed forever”, believing that my temporary loss can only point to a rich legacy of gain, makes me understand how being proactive can alter my disposition and change the way I evaluate my circumstances.

Things are often beyond our control. We allow ourselves to become victims of these situations. We do have choices, in the way we cope with situations. We need to evalute our options and give thanks “in everything” and for everything.

Try this recipe for living…and count your blessings.

Dr. Shirley Hereford

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