Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Good Intentions...

“I’ll blog every couple of days on our trip,” I thought, and once again I was quite wrong! We had a lovely trip to London and Northern Ireland (and even a few hours in Ireland) but we went so hard from morning until night that the blogging never happened.

But this post is not about our trip, though being with all of our children (including their spouses, of course) and grandchildren for eight days was marvelous. I’m thinking today of good intentions. I intended to blog about my trip.

I recall once when Gina, our daughter-in-law, was asked to describe herself in one word. Her answer: “well-intentioned.” I love that, because it is true of not only Gina but everyone in our family! Our children and their spouses are people of a strong faith and we all have the best of intentions but of course don’t always follow through on them.

For example, the morning after we returned from functioning for eight days in a time zone five hours earlier than ours, Steve pulled everything out of the garage and the storage closet in order to clean and reorganize. His intentions were good, but in no way jibed with my own! Fortunately, with age I try to look at people’s intentions rather than their actions. My initial anger cooled in just a few minutes because I knew it was a task that should have been done long ago. I fumed a bit inwardly (and, I admit, slammed a couple of doors much harder than necessary) but just tried to get my part done as quickly as possible.

Of course my own life is a tribute to Randy Travis’s song, “Good Intentions.” One of the times I was most guilty was when we were selling Steve’s old reel-to-reel tape player. I offered the buyer our old tapes, then said, “Oh, and there are more upstairs!” and gave him those as well.

Those were the tapes of Steve’s high school basketball games that he was saving for posterity! He had pulled them out intentionally, so why on earth did I think cleaning out old stuff included those tapes? Forty years later, I still feel sadness and guilt over doing that. It’s a tribute to him that he never brings it up, even when his high school basketball achievements are discussed.

But the most common time that my good intentions backfire is when I finish my husband’s sentences, correct something he says, or suggest a shorter route to our destination. I don’t mean to demean him; I intend to be helpful! But my good intentions aren’t sufficient. I need to think ahead more and keep my impulsive thoughts to myself. As Archie Bunker used to say to Edith, “Button your face.”

And, from a more serious source, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6-8.)

What an indictment! James makes it clear that no human being can tame the tongue; only God has that power. I obviously need to pray more and speak less. I must take seriously James’ admonition to be “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19.) Good intentions aren’t enough. As I get older, I can see improvement in being slow to become angry, but the other two are still daily challenges for me!

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