Sunday, July 28, 2013

There Was A Crooked Man

Sometimes, it really is just a matter of perspective.

What looks like torture to one person looks like treasure to another. 

Take these shoes, for example. 

If you didn't know better, this primitive apparatus looks like something from the evidence room in a criminal child abuse case.  To the Duchess, it qualifies as a treasure. It must be; she has treasured  it in her attic for over 50 years.

That's because these little shoes were the first ones worn by my brother.

And no, that's not the poor man's version of a bronzed shoe.  It is, however, the 1950's version of a corrective one.  Maybe some of you recognize it. Back in the day,  this was orthopedic medicine at its finest.

Big brother was born pigeon toed, you see.  Left to his own devices, he would have continued that way, too. Oh sure, it wouldn't have killed him. As far as I know, no one ever died from having pigeon toes. They just made for a lifetime of crooked walking and constant tripping.  What kind of parents would want that for their child?

Not mine.

Day and night for the first year of so of his life, my brother wore shoes nailed to that board. He played that way, he ate that way, and he slept that way. It couldn't have been very fun for him, but from what I've heard, he was a little trooper. It wouldn't have mattered if he hadn't been though. Mom and Dad were united in their resolve to fix the crooked thing.

 They loved their son. 
His walk mattered to them.

In the end, it worked. My brother had a corrected walk, and no one thought my parents anything but wise for having corrected it, even if it caused him more than a little discomfort.  

Yep, it's all a matter of perspective.
 One man's torture is another man's treasure. 

You probably know where I'm going with this.

 If it's wise to correct a  physical walk, isn't it even wiser to correct a spiritual one?

I think so.   What's more, the wisest King of Israel agrees with me.  King Solomon must have been quite fond of the idea of correction.  He used  the Hebrew word for it 30 different times in the book of Proverbs. (Pretty significant since it is only used 20 more times in the entire Old Testament. )

Oh sure, it isn't always translated correction. That's why you have to be on the lookout for it. Usually, it's camouflaged with more palatable words like instruction.  

                      Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.
                                                                   ~Proverbs 19:20

Can I be honest? I'm not so sure that translation is a good thing.  What the verse really says is this:

                     Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.

There's kind of a difference, isn't there?  

Most of us are willing to be instructed.  Instruction is about growth and progress. Correction, on the other hand,  is a little harder to swallow.  Correction implies that maybe,  just maybe,  we're not quite as perfect as we think we are.   Maybe,  just maybe, we have some spiritual pigeon toes tripping us up on the pilgrim path.

To me, God's Word is kind of like those shoes-on-a-stick.  If applied correctly, it can make the crooked places straight. Oh sure, it takes time and effort.  It can get downright uncomfortable at times, too, but in the end, isn't it infinitely better to subject ourselves to a little correction than to keep tripping our way through life, one crooked mile after another?

Yeah, I think so too.   

By the way, my brother wasn't the only one in our family born with a need of correction. His twin sister had a crooked back.   Apparently, there was some womb wrestling going on between Esau and Jacobette.

They corrected that too. 

The stuff my mother saves...

As for me? My bones are perfectly straight and in need of no correction. My tongue was another matter. I was born with it tethered to the bottom of my mouth... which kept it from effectively wagging.  Not to worry, my parents had it clipped.

The wisdom of that correction, however, is still open for debate.

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