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Day 36 of Lent: The latest trend

March 22, 2013

Verse for reflection: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. John 1:1

It was one of those statements that seem wise and psychologically sound but when you stop and think about them are just plain silly.

Our two-year-old needed tubes in her ears for chronic ear infections. For a child, this requires an outpatient hospital procedure under anesthesia. While coming out of the anesthesia she was crying, moaning, feeling awful like you feel when caught in that land between consciousness and unconsciousness.

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“She’ll be all right, Momma,” said a kind and well-meaning nurse as I attempted to comfort Doreen. Doreen kept on crying. “She’s just mad; she mostly feels insulted; the only one she feels safe to take her anger out on is you, Momma,” the nurse continued. She implied that once Doreen got the anger out of her system, she’d be all right.

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(These photos are actually a 2nd eartube event when Doreen was four, not two.)

I wished this woman who was old enough to be my mother would stop calling me “Momma.” But aside from that, I smiled vaguely, recognizing the “anger” idea from some ancient psychology text I’d studied.

After Doreen had thrown up and felt good enough to start eating dry crackers, I started realizing how inane the advice really was. Doreen wasn’t angry—at Momma, the doctor, or anyone else. She was just feeling rotten because of the anesthesia. Once she got that out of her system, she was soon as good as new.

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(Our pastor, Ann Held, checks out the happy patient–before surgery.)

How quickly we succumb to the god of the latest trend. And I’m the worst of the lot. If somebody tells me playing Beethoven for my child in the womb will make her a musician, I rush to plant headphones on my abdomen. (No, I didn’t but I’ve done things just as outrageous, and I ended up with a musician anyway, and a couple of real music lovers, thank you very much.)

If career advisers tell us we’ve got to network to advance our careers, get on Linked in,  we join up. If the trend is spiritual retreats with a spiritual adviser, we schedule them in our appointment books, forgetting that a good old-fashioned day in the woods or a hike up a mountain could serve the same purpose.

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One family counselor said she can always tell what has been discussed on TV talk shows in a particular week because her patients bring up whatever problems were featured—the malady of the week.

I’m not knocking good psychology or listening to classical music while pregnant or networking or spiritual retreats. It’s just that too often we rush to adopt the latest trend without saying, “Wait a minute, what is really going on here?”

“Vanity, vanity,” sighed the writer of Ecclesiastes long ago. “All is vanity. There is nothing new under the sun.” (Eccles. 1:2-9, paraphrased.)

It’s comforting to know that God is not exactly trendy. God just is.

Action: No special action required today. Just be and plan to enjoy your weekend.  

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Mom and daughter doing just fine.

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From → Faith, Family Life

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