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[February 19, 2009]-
My mother-in-law called. She was
laughing. “For the last twenty minutes I’ve been listening to the
message you left on my answering machine,” she said. I had to agree
that it was a funny message that my wife had left. I was sitting
right beside her when she made the call. The funniest part about it,
I thought, was that my wife couldn’t stop laughing as she left the
recording on the voice mail. It was one of those times when you say
something and realize how ridiculous it must sound and you laugh at
yourself and you can’t stop as silliness feeds silliness. But for my
mother-in-law to listen to that brief message over and over for
twenty minutes? Wow. I wasn’t sure it was that entertaining, but
then again, I wasn’t on the receiving end.
Turns out my mother-in-law wasn’t laughing at a 45 second message.
Our cordless handset hadn’t succeeded in telling the base to end the
call and so we accidentally produced an extended audio recording of
our home life. Oh no! What had we said? What did she hear? I
instantly felt exposed. Had she caught me lecturing my teenage son?
Was I short with my wife about something? Did I utter some
thoughtless complaint? Had I said something negative about my
parents or parents-in-law? (Not that I ever do any of those things,
mind you – but, just in case I had – my brain was frantically doing
the instant replay of the last hour of my life.) And then I
remembered. Soon after the phone message should have ended, I had
picked up a book and was quietly reading and then I took a short nap
– pretty benign stuff. I hesitantly concluded that I had squeaked by
and that other members of my family had entertained my mother-in-law
– at least I hoped so.
Several years ago I was at a party. I had struck up a conversation
with a stranger, asked him what he did for a living, how long he
lived in the area – that sort of thing. After freely answering all
my questions he returned the favor and asked what I did for a
living. As soon as the words came out of my mouth I could see the
panic in his eyes. Unknowingly he had been talking with a
“minister.” Oh no! What had he just told me? Did he include some
off-color remark? Had he thrown in some four-letter word or spoken
some irreligious thing? Had he exposed himself? Now, years later, I
understood what that poor fellow had gone through.
I’m a transparent guy. I tend to be fairly vulnerable. Right now
I’m sharing my thoughts for everyone to see. Right? Not exactly!
I’m in control of what I choose to share. The thought of being
the star of “The Truman Show” or having a camera constantly on
me as a member of the “Jon and Kate plus 8” family – No Thanks!
And yet, the “reality” is…
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything
is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we
must give account.” Heb 4:13 (NIV)
“There’s a Father up above and he’s looking down in love. So be
careful…” He is listening in. He is watching. Does that comfort
[Text from file received by Ron Denligner]