I have a friend that has a lovely, inviting, comfortable home. Every time I am there, she has a lamp or two turned on ~ even in the middle of the day! The lamps help create a cozy and calm atmosphere that makes me feel cozy and calm.
I have lamps. I prefer lamps at night instead of the overhead lights. And since I love the way the lamp burning at my friend’s house makes me feel, yesterday I decided to turn one of my lamps on in the middle of the day. It gave off the same warm glow as that of my friend’s.
But it made me nervous. I tried to overcome my nervousness. I tried to ignore the uneasy feeling I felt and just keep doing the dishes. But I couldn’t! Right before I started to hyperventilate, I reached over and clicked off all 40 watts of the lamp!
Whew! All was right with the world again!
What in the world is wrong with me, you ask? Nothing! Well, at least, not much!
I was a young girl in the 70’s when there was an “energy shortage” – whatever that is. My Dad was always harping “TURN THE LIGHTS OFF!” My three siblings and I were forever TURNING THE LIGHTS OFF!
We would be in the car, late for church and my Dad would say, “Who left the lights on?”
Really, Dad? We are in the car and you can tell that there is a light on in the basement? He really could. Or maybe he was just playing the odds. The odds were that with four kids, someone left a light on!
Now, before you think I was an abused child and start dialing Child Protective Services, let me stop you. I didn’t start to hyperventilate because my Dad was cruel or punitive with his electricity policeman behavior. He was just being a responsible father leading a family of six (10 if you include the dogs, gerbils and Guinea pigs.) He was doing his job to be a good provider. (Okay, maybe he was a bit on the Type A side too!)
But, many years later, as I tried to relax about the lamp burning in the middle of the day, I heard my father’s voice in my head asking, “Who left the light on?”
I also hear his voice remind me to read my Bible, fellowship with other believers, tithe, and love the Lord. (Oh, yeah, and eat my peas!)
It made me think about what things I am saying to my kids today that they will hear years later. Will they only hear
“Hang up your towels!”
“Make your bed!”
“Don’t talk to your sister that way!”
“Go to bed!”
“Get your elbows off of the table!’
Or, will they remember to call their grandparents when they are too old to hear?
Will they honor their father and mother?
Will they stop for the turtle in the middle of the road?
Will they find joy even in adversity?
Will they send an encouraging note to a troubled friend?
Will they have hope?
But most importantly, will they remember that I taught them to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, their mind and their soul?
What are you saying to your kids, your spouse, your mother, your father, your neighbor, or your friends that they will remember years to come?
Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9
Now, turn off the light, go eat your peas, and read your Bible!
Tell me in the comments what voices you want those around you to remember. Do you have voices you need to forget?