Do you remember Miss Minnie Pearl? I think my first recollection of her was back in the radio days of listening to the Grand Ole Opry but if that’s not it, I remember her from the television program Hee Haw. She wore plain house dresses, sensible tie-up shoes, and a straw hat with its price tag hanging off to one side. She was an audacious comedian who could take an ordinary situation and turn it into hilarity just by the way she phrased her sentence. In one scene Miss Minnie was in a room with someone the audience couldn’t see and she was describing a compliment she had been given. “He said I look like a fresh breath of spring.” Then quietly to herself so the audience can hear, Minnie admits, “What he really said was I look like the end of a long, hard winter.” You can laugh now. That was funny.
That story has stuck with me for at least 25 years. I’ve never forgotten it because while it was meant to be funny, and it was, there is also a solid truth contained in it. Things are not always as they seem. Sometimes we say one thing and it’s interpreted incorrectly. What we perceive is not what was intended. There are few black and white circumstances, but there’s a lot of gray. We have to ask forgiveness for, or be the forgiver of, misunderstandings. A few days ago I wrote about being downhearted. Psalm 42 reveals a downhearted David. In other Psalms he was full of joy and in love with life. Isn’t that how our life path is? Up and down, spiraling like a roller coaster. This verse, about midway through that chapter in Psalms was like David stopped and took a breath from is sadness. Psalm 42:8 “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.”
Even without having a face to face talk with David, I’m sure he spent a lot of time talking to God about his perception of things in his life. He didn’t have TV or the Internet to influence his opinion. He couldn’t Google himself to see where he ranked on the popularity polls. He didn’t own a smart phone with instant access to friends and enemies. Still he had perception. I think David prayed a lot for God to give him a right attitude, proper perspective and for wisdom to be in his mind and heart. We can pray for all of that too. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Reading further in James is this from the Message translation. James 3:17-18 “Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.”
Ready for today? Our mission waits. Let’s get out there.