Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The case of the Chicken Cup

Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. One of the things that I do is sit with people that are going through a particularly hard time in their life. Many times, it involves a transition of one sort or another. During these sessions, I do a lot of listening. They are looking for answers that I do not have. They always ask the question, “Why?” Growing up on the farm was very different from how we live today. Life was much slower, although we did not realize it at the time. We learned to wait. One day in early October, we decided to take a family picture. No, we did not get a professional photographer we took the picture ourselves, that is how one does it on the farm. It was a brisk autumn day and we all had our coats on. We lined up in front of the house, Boppa, who was the photographer of the day stood in front of us, giving us direction; move to the right, move to left. Katie stop making faces…you know the drill. Mom had her coffee in her hand, she had her favorite cup; when I was a kid there was no such thing as a travel mug with a lid. We all had those ceramic mugs with our favorite picture on it. We got used to drinking only a portion of what was in our cups, as most of it jostled out of the cup before we could drink it. I can still remember when somebody showed up with a traveler’s mug for the first time, “Ingenious, this is simple ingenious.” Was the usual response. “We should have thought of this, we could have made a fortune.” The fact is we were too busy to invent a traveler’s mug. We were too busy spilling our drink, complaining about spilling our drink, going to get more drink…with all that going on who has time to invent anything. Mom was holding her cup that had a picture of a chicken on it. I think the chicken was a Rode Island Red, or something, it most definitely was not Pit Silo. A coffee mug with a picture of Pit Silo picture would not improve the drinking experience at all. Boppa was getting ready to take the picture with his instamatic camera, Tinker, one of our horses who was half Shetland pony and half quarter horse, came walking into the picture; yes, she was lose on the farm. She was part of the family and tended to be wherever we were. Now Boppa had a completely new set of instructions to give us. Finely, Boppa took the shot. He said, “Cheese.” I always thought this was funny thing to say, but then that is just me. The flash goes off. If you are younger than 45 years old, you probably do not remember the instamatic camera with the magnesium flashcubes. I believe these “cubes” were responsible for early onset retinal blindness. Every time one of these “cubes” went off everyone would wander around blinded seeing nothing but dots . I am sure that if some alien was watching they would think, “What a weird ceremony?” People standing very still smiling, than a bright light goes off and these same people start wandering around with their hands out in front of them, bumping off each other and other things. I am surprised that some attorney, (I apologize in advance to all my attorney friends reading this), has not created a class action lawsuit. I can see the commercial now. “If you or any of your family members have ever had your picture taken with an instamatic camera with a magnesium flashcube, you may be entitled to a cash reward. Having one’s picture taken with an instamatic camera with a magnesium flashcube has been linked to rentinalmiophlagination, a disease associated with walking around with hands out front of you bumping off of other people.” When the picture had been taken and we could see again, mom went to take a drink of coffee from her chicken cup. It was empty. The question, “Why?” came up. Back in the old days we did not have digital cameras, we used film. Looking back, having an instamatic was not so instant after all. A typical roll had something like 35 shots on it. I could be wrong, but it had what we thought of as a lot of pictures on it. After you take a family picture, you naturally want to see the picture. I now realize where all those pictures that make you go, “Hmm.” Come from. After you take a set of pictures there was usually a few pictures left on the roll. One cannot send in a partial roll of film and waste those left over possibilities, one shoots up the rest of the roll and then pays for those pictures to be processed. A brilliant conclusion that probably is another indicator why we never invented the traveler’s mug. When I see a stack of pictures that has all these really cool pictures in it and then toward the end of the stack there are 3 or 4 pictures of dad asleep on the couch, mouth agape, arms splayed out, one leg on the floor…those are the pictures at the end of the roll. We would take the picture, finish the roll, drive into town, and turn our roll of film in at the store. The store did not have the ability to process film so they sent the film to Goodland or Denver, somewhere that had the magical film-processing machine. They would process the film, send it back to our store in town and we would pick up the pictures, simple. This process could take up to three weeks. When we got the family pictures back, complete with dad asleep on the couch. The case of the missing coffee was solved. Just when Boppa took the shot, Tinker who was standing right behind mom, reached over very gently and carefully and stuck her tongue into the chicken mug, successfully lifting the entire portion without anyone noticing. We had this really nice family picture complete with a horses tongue in a chicken cup. Often times, when I sit with people who are asking “Why?” I know that we do not have the answer right now. God will eventually, as time goes by let us see glimpses of “Why.” Christ will, if we will only submit to Him be able to use us to help others who may be going through the same thing that we had gone through before. As much as we would like to think that we do; we do not live in an instamatic world, and our faith walk is a marathon not a sprint. As I have grown in my relationship with Christ I have learned to be patient. I have learned to be less interested in “knowing right now” and am content with knowing that Christ loves us, loves me, and no matter what happens He is with us, with me. Blessings,

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