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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Permission Granted

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

In Sunday school every Sunday we have cookies (baked by Kathy) and glasses of water all round.  This takes two pitchers of water with ice and several stacks of drinking glasses.  It is my job to get the water and glasses.  This summer at church, that was no problem as the kitchen was not staffed for Sunday morning breakfast.  The kitchen was largely vacant.  I would go in, locate the pitcher and glasses and retrieve them.  I would scoop ice into the pitchers, fill them up with water, and carry them (usually in two trips) to the classroom.  But now that summer is over, breakfast for the church is being prepared and served from a bay facing the social hall.  Now I do not feel free to enter the kitchen.  It is now forbidden territory in my own mind.  It is a busy place and I am committing some sort of violation by intruding for the selfish task of getting our class water.  Today, I had the task to do and so approached the kitchen area with some apprehension.  I asked the lady serving a fruit medley what I should do.  Is the water something I can get on my own or does staff need to get it?  She said she didn’t know as this was her first Sunday serving.  She turned and asked a man towards the back of the kitchen what should be done.  In a loud welcoming voice he asked me to come on in, motioning with his hands.  Instantly all my inhibitions left me and I went into the kitchen to get the water pitchers and glasses.  After getting the water, the man said with a helpful voice, don’t you want a cart to carry that with, and produced a cart.

The feeling of inhibition I had on first going up to the kitchen was a familiar old feeling.  I can remember it well from my general approach to life until I was well into adult years.  It was during those awkward years that I always seemed to be seeking permission.  The only time I didn’t feel it was during special times, such as playing basketball after school on a court next to our home (the court doubled as a tennis court).  Then, for the game with the boys, I was invited to not be inhibited but to play hard and excel.

What was it during those stressful years that made me so tentative?  Why did I usually portray the stance of someone not sure of what was appropriate, of needing permission to be?  Why were the traffic lights most always yellow and seldom green?  Why did I need permission to take care of even elemental needs not only for myself but for others?  I really don’t have the answer to that.  I only know that now unease occurs only rarely under clearly identifiable circumstances rather than being a pervasive ambient feeling.  Something happened somewhere; at some time I was given spiritual freedom.  Now I know that I belong.  I was given guideposts and with them permission and freedom to enter the kitchen.

(For a related blog click here.)

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