The Lesson of Rocky Raccoon

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Rocky Raccoon, Rocky Raccoon, he was a fool unto himself. And he would not swallow his foolish pride…” Paul McCartney

I’ve been thinking about something quite a bit lately. Or more accurately, I’ve been thinking about someone. And through ruminations of her, the tune of Rocky Raccoon came to mind. This morning, though, I realized I didn’t even know the lyrics. So I googled it. And after watching a video of the Beatles, I just about fell over. Well, I would have fallen over if I hadn’t already been down. See, I’ve been feeling pretty low. And therein lies the significance of this song. At least to me. In my eyes, the lesson of Rocky Raccoon is how he fell down… pride going before his fall. But more importantly, it’s how Rocky would manage to get back on his feet. See, there was a man named Dan, who stole Rocky’s woman. But rather than swallow his pride by letting things go, Rocky planned to shoot his rival. However, he’s the one who ended up on the floor. Rocky collapsed. And the thing that could restore his life? Why, it was a Bible left by Gideon. The Bible would help with Rocky’s revival.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

I actually have a Gideon’s Bible. And though I didn’t open the cover of a Bible for years, eventually I did. And as time wore on, I began to love the words inside. The above verse is one of my favorites, comforting in that God’s word is a lamp and a light for my feet. And ironically, I just wrote about my son finding his feet. But not long after, I discovered it’s not my son’s feet I need to worry about after all. In reality, it’s my own feet that need help. For Levi’s not the one who stumbled, I have. I’ve fallen down and it seems I can’t get up. And though it may be true God’s word lights my path, the thing is I have to choose to go the way He directs. But for some time now, I’ve refused. As always, pride took precedence and preceded my fall. Like Rocky, I just didn’t want to swallow it down. I even voiced aloud, “I don’t want to take the high road.” And so, belligerently, I didn’t.

Pride is surely one of my pitfalls. And when I think back to the shy girl I once was, I’m amazed I can be that way now. So arrogant. So self-righteous. And that’s how I felt Monday. See, after writing, I always feel good. Purposeful. And after meeting with a ladies group Tuesday evening, I felt even higher. However, my demeanor changed within hours of returning home. And by Wednesday morning, darkness fully set in. One, my writing didn’t elicit the response I expected. In fact, someone quite close to me called to advise me. Or shall I say counsel me. And later, I was led to Hagar of the Old Testament. Her story so much like mine in that she was prideful for she looked down on someone. And when she ran away from home, the Angel of the LORD asked her two questions as she journeyed through the desert… Where have you come from and Where are you going? I felt God asked the same of me. My reply? Pride. As always, coming from pride, and more importantly… I wasn’t going anywhere. Because pride tripped me up, I was stalled in my journey.

Oh, there’s more to Hagar’s story. See, she trod the desert once more. The second time with her son, only he was in trouble. Ishmael lay dying under a tree but Hagar had nothing to offer him. She herself was low. At her most desperate hour, God appeared to her. He said, “Get up, help the boy up, and sustain him…” And so yesterday, I heard God loudly. Clearly. And He was firm. He told me to get up! Because as long as I remained down, I couldn’t help myself. Much less anyone else. And my medicine? The thing that would restore my health? Pride was my pill. Unless I choked it down, I would never be able to stand. And if I couldn’t stand, how in the world could I help another to?

Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. James 5:16

You know, I call this blog the Truth about God & me. And I hope to do just that… be truthful. And though I write hoping to lift up others, most of the time I think the words are for my own benefit. For I see the truth through writing. But today, I can’t help but wonder if there can be too much truth. Because I’m going to write about that someone I’ve been thinking about. She’s someone I love. Fact is, I just love women. I want to be around them and I want to help them. Honestly, I fancy God will use me in women’s ministry someday. I believe He’s the One who placed the desire within me. In fact, it’s why I felt so good Tuesday night. Because I’m leading a women’s Bible study, I felt like I was finally moving forward with God… that someday was in reach. And yet within hours of returning home, darkness blinded me. Today I know why. See, it’s that woman I love. Because despite our building up a rock solid friendship through the course of many years, it seems the foundation has been shaken. And though we shared everything for so long, now, we hardly speak at all. The weird thing is, neither of us has said anything or acknowledged a conflict. And yet, it’s there. I feel it… tension. Is it real? Or is the wall that separates us imaginary and constructed only in my mind? So, for me – a woman who desires to be used by God in women’s ministry –  this just doesn’t make sense. Even more so, it makes me hypocritical. Because if I have such love for women, why not her? Why can’t I just pick up the phone…

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:22-24

Fact is, I’ve refused to budge. In fact, I’ve closed my heart to her over something silly. I feel justified in something I did even though I’m pretty sure it hurt her feelings. But is that ever okay? And rather than acknowledge it and talk about it, a wall was erected. That’s why I said… I don’t want to take the high road. No, instead, I chose pride. I trod the dark path. And so, I fell. But there is a lamp. God’s light seeps through and I see what I’ve done. I tried to serve Him Monday and Tuesday, but today I know that I can’t do that. I can’t offer Him a gift when there’s something between me and my friend. And so, the verses above light my path. He shows me the way I have to travel if I want to move forward. It’s my choice. I can take the high road, which leads to life. Or the low road, which leads to death. For that’s exactly what my prideful path is leading to… the death of a friendship. Something, or someone, has got to change… And today I know that’s me. Today the hardness of my heart has been breached and light spills in. And I so I swallow my pill. And more than anything, I want to be reconciled to my sister. I long for harmony in our friendship once more.

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. Ephesians 2:14

Illumination began this week. It started with my son. And consistent with how God teaches me, He led me through my children. First, Levi’s little feet led to my own stumbling size nines. And then, there’s my baby girl… Annabelle. Today I thought how happy she is when she spends time on the back side of the house. See, that’s where the morning light streams in. Oh, how she loves to lay on our bed or on her changing table cooing and smiling in the bright sun. But on the front half of the house, where we spend most of our time, it’s dark. So much so, there’s always a lamp or two on. In fact, Levi so loves lamplight, he’ll turn on three or four when he’s home. And finally, between the dark and the light of my home is a wall… a load bearing wall. And this particular wall seemed a revelation to me this morning. It leads me back to Rocky Raccoon.

You know, the woman I’ve written about likes Rocky Raccoon. Years ago, she picked it for us to sing at karaoke. Back then, we stood side by side. Arm in arm. We were best of friends. But recently, it feels as if there’s a wall between us. And all this? Well, it’s my attempt to knock it down. I want to replace a wall of hostility with another kind of wall… a load bearing wall. One we can construct around the two of us as we stand side by side once more. A wall we can build together strong enough to bear the heavy weight of life. And a wall that will keep her and I in the light of God’s word, while keeping darkness at bay.

And so, may I apply the lesson of Rocky Raccoon. It’s true he fell, but he had Gideon’s Bible. God’s word would bring about his revival. And there’s hope in that word. For revive means to come back to life. To live again. To be quickened. To be restored to health. And though my pride knocked me down for a time, I won’t stay there. And though I’ve been clinging to the dark, light beckons me forward. Because today, I want to live. I want to be healthy. And in order for that to happen, our friendship must be restored. It must be revived. It has to! And so, I choose life and swallow my pill… I choke down pride. And that’s when it happens. I’m able to rise to my feet. That’s when I ask for her forgiveness. Because I want healing. And you know what? I think she does, too.

Oh, the ways of God. And oh, how He illuminates what He wants me to see. From my children. To His word. And yes, even through Rocky Raccoon… that man who was a fool unto himself. But see, Rocky had hope. For he had Gideon’s Bible.

My son, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to my sayings.
Don’t lose sight of them;
keep them within your heart.
For they are life to those who find them,
and health to one’s whole body.
Guard your heart above all else,
for it is the source of life. Proverbs 4:20-23

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rocky+raccoon+the+beatles&qpvt=rocky+raccoon+the+beatles&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=85F8870F11BB5489C83185F8870F11BB5489C831

Like a drum!

heart-beat[1]

Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3

It was yesterday that I felt it. I went to a women’s Bible study and watched this hour long video. I was captivated by every word spoken. And then, at the very end, my heart began to beat. I felt it. It thudded in my chest and throughout my limbs. I could hear it in my ears. A loud, steady pounding. It lasted about two or three minutes. Thud. Thud. Thud. Just like a drum. And I had to sit there choking back tears. I was thankful for that heartbeat. Because it’s one I haven’t felt in quite some time. And this type of beating is not one that merely proves I’m alive… that I exist. No, this sort of pounding reminds me of what I sometimes doubt. It tells me that I’m really His. And it tells me that He hasn’t forgotten me. That He still has purpose for my life. No, I’m not as dead as I thought I was… for there’s life inside me. It’s my heart beating just like a drum.

You know, I just celebrated my 41st birthday last month. I’ve now roamed this earth over 14,965 days. But this month, I celebrate another type of birthday. For it was seventeen years ago (sometime in February) that I officially became a Christian. You know, I said a prayer and hoped for the best. I was moved then, too, for I remember the tears. But you know… I don’t I recall a heartbeat then. So much time has elapsed and I didn’t journal so I can’t say for sure. But I wonder today… did my heart beat like it did yesterday when I said some words I thought I was supposed say? Did I feel a thud, thud, thud in my chest and ears all that time ago? Like a drum beating?

After becoming a Christian, I did all those things I thought I was supposed to do. When asked, I said yes to working with teen girls although they knew far more than I did. Most specifically, they knew God. When I moved away from North Carolina, I tried to be good but failed miserably and lived under a cloud of guilt. It was not till 2004 that I attended church once more. But you know, despite knowing all the right words and all the right actions, there was something so fundamental I had missed along the way. Although I appeared to have it all together, and seemed to be a spiritual person, I was far from it. And so, bypassing a relationship with God, I began to serve again because I thought it’s what I should do. And because I thought I should work, I did what was comfortable to me. I worked with kids. And over time, I became bitter and resentful about what I was doing. Because although working with kids is a good thing, it wasn’t my thing.

And then one day, out of the blue, something extraordinary took place. It had to have been January of 2009 when I felt something inside me. There was movement. I was at church and a friend of mine spoke of a women’s service to take place in February. She wanted someone to share their story. And then the first beat. Quietly at first, but it grew louder and stronger with each thud. The steady rhythm echoed throughout my whole body reaching through the ends of my fingers and filling my ears. This had never happened before. And so, after the service, I knew I had to do something. Perhaps inspired by God for the very first time, I dared to approach my friend. I told her… I think it’s me. This foreign beating of my heart coinciding with my friend’s request was of God. He wanted me to speak in front of a crowd… completely out of my comfort zone.

And I did speak, as I should. But afterward, nothing changed. When the next opportunity arose, I volunteered to work with kids once more. Because they were comfortable. And so, resentment piled upon resentment and bitterness grew in astronomical proportions. Until the late Summer of 2010. Something came up. And I couldn’t sit still as the passion ignited in me. There was to be a Bible study for women. And my friend and I were to lead it. And so we did. But alas, I moved and joined another church. And when asked… I said yes to working with the children.

And so today, I realize something incredible about that heartbeat. Because it occurs to me that perhaps the heartbeat has always been there. Is it possible that I’ve been so busy doing what I shouldn’t be doing, that I just couldn’t feel it? Is it possible that during the winter of 2009, God awakened within me my true heart? Just maybe that beating in my chest was God stirring me. He knew I was trying my best to serve Him. But He also knew it was out of a sense of obligation. Perhaps He was telling me what to do then. Was He gracing me with a glimpse of His plans, but I just didn’t grasp it? Was it five years ago that God called me to work with women? Was it in January of 2009 when the passion I have for His daughters was birthed within me? For I know there are many women who quietly die in church pews every Sunday. I know that they cannot feel their heartbeat… just like there are times I cannot feel mine. And I so long for them… just as I long for me.

And yet, here I am today. I am still working with children. But yesterday, in a women’s Bible study, I felt it. It was like a drum. My heart thudded in my chest and through my limbs. I heard it in my ears. Bump, bump, bump…. loudly, steadily. And I knew. God awakened my spirit once more. He reminded me that I’m His. And He reminded me of my passion… of a calling. Through that thudding, I know He has work for me. But this work isn’t duty bound. No, this work has something to do with the resurrected heart that pounds within me. It has everything to do with a spiritual beat. For that thump, thump, thump I feel only occasionally… that beating I feel throughout my whole being… that’s really His heart. For what pounds like a drum is God’s heart as it beats in mine.

This year I can see. I realize that January and February are times of celebration. For these are my birthdays. I was physically born in January and spiritually born in February. But now I see there’s another birth to celebrate. For it was five years ago that God awakened my true heart. He gave me a passion for His dying daughters. It was five years ago that God called me to serve… but not children as I’ve been doing for so long. No, my heart… and His… is for His girls.

Oh yes… there’s a heartbeat. Steady and thumping like a drum. May it never stop.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 26:36

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=like+a+drum+baby+don’t+stop+beating+lyrics&qpvt=like+a+drum+baby+don%27t+stop+beating+lyrics&FORM=VDRE#view=detail&mid=B2D4844D5F57AB0531D9B2D4844D5F57AB0531D9