Then he said to them, 'Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.... Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
I have a small, antiquarian volume at home, which I bought for a nominal fee at a curious little bookshop somewhere down a meandering lane filled with many such curious little shops, whilst I was on holiday some years ago, in England. Now, this little volume gives me a great deal of pleasure. I find myself perusing its pages for comfort when I'm feeling down. My little tome is entitled "A Christian's Happy Thoughts" and indeed it does supply its gentle reader with happy recipes for brightening a world-weary mind, and perhaps someday I shall quote certain of its more profound passages to you, but not now.
Now, I should like to dwell on the implications of the sheer notion of this book, for in the embodiment of this sweetly bound papyrus, I am amused to say, I have a 'crutch'. 'Now, what exactly is a crutch?' You may ask. My notion of a crutch is that it is something comforting which one clings to, to get one through those tiresome days in life, when everything seems to hang under the auspices of a heavy cloud. Yet the question arises (for me, anyway!): why is it that we need a 'crutch' at all? And what forms - (and I'm sure they are many and glorious!) - what forms do such 'crutches' take?
I know my mother, whenever she felt the pressures of the world barking at her heels, would go out into the garden and find her solace there. My sister, 'aficionado' of the kitchen, would whizz up a batch of scones or a toothsome treacle pie. A friend of mine goes fishing when he feels the world start to close in around him; still another plays a round of golf when he encounters the stratagems of stress... and then of course, there's always the well-promoted therapy of shopping - never out of vogue! All of these, it seems, supply the very necessary 'crutch', when one's world goes out of kilter. But, on a deeper, psychological level perhaps, what exactly do these so-called 'crutches' represent?
My own answer to this perplexing question is this: I think such crutches fill a vacuum; they serve to replace something - but only temporarily, only for a moment. More than this, I think if you look further into the absorbing question of the crutch, such 'props' supply something far more resilient, far more optimistic, in fact... they provide a quiet bridge to God. We're all looking for something- I mean, you can only do so much shopping, so much fishing... only play so many rounds of golf - but what after that?
After that, comes God.
After all, when you get home and take the shopping out of the bag, that bag is empty...
Which brings me back to the beginning of my journey of conjecture - what, Lord forbid, should I do, if I mislaid my little book? Why, I should realize that material things have a habit of disappearing, of getting used up, of getting lost. But it's not that way with God. He's always there. He may be waiting in a mall somewhere, patiently tapping His feet, or out there on the golf course chalking up the cards, but my guess is, probably He's not.
Because He's already where He's always been. He's in your heart...
And so now, dear reader, I fear I have to close my little book, and realize that after all, I don't really need it. It's nice, but it belongs up there on the shelf, beside my bed.
And so I think I'll quiet my mind and pray now, and visit God. God bless, dear reader - Good-night!
2010 Laura Swindon-Ross. All rights reserved.
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I'm a teacher and Christian writer.