Monday, May 28, 2012

Campfire: First Evening

Tonight we're having a barbecue along with our campfire - so feel free to help yourself to some steaks or hamburgers or veggie burgers while we get the fire going. Renee brought marshmallows, and there are some graham crackers and chocolate bars over at the picnic table. I won't say anything if you choose to have dessert first. ;) I know this is a bit of a late start to the evening for those of you not living on the West Coast, but I hope you'll still enjoy the refreshments!

Earlier today I attended a Memorial Day service at a local cemetery. This year's service was especially moving, as the group the Avenue of the Flags was dedicated to was none other than our local branch of the Honor Flights program. (I interviewed Vince's sister a year and a half ago regarding her experiences working with this program - you can read more about that HERE.) The determination and dedication given to make sure our veterans get to see the war memorials in Washington D.C. is so admirable and beautiful. My own grandpa, who served in the Korean War, even got the chance to go last year.

I'll pass around some pictures of today's service while I prepare to tell you a story:




The story I want to share tonight isn't actually from today's service, though. It's actually from last year's Memorial Day service. My grandpa was the main speaker, and I was supposed to sing the song "This is My Son" along to the music from the CD "Don't Believe" by the bluegrass band Cherryholmes.

Everything started off great. I sat next to my grandpa on the platform, and I listened to him do a great job giving the speech he had been practicing over and over. At the end of his speech my sister was supposed to read a poem by one of my grandpa's friends who had recently passed away, but I ended up reading it instead. His testimony seemed to really bless the people in the audience, and they gave him a standing ovation. It was a powerful moment.

And then the man overseeing the ceremony turned to the man who was going to play the bagpipes and asked him to begin. But wait... What about my song?? I tried to make eye contact with the man in charge, but it didn't work. I had been forgotten, and the ceremony concluded without me singing a note.

As everyone mingled after the ceremony, I was eager to leave. Yes, I was proud of my grandpa, and nothing was going to change that. But I was also hurt and embarrassed, and I didn't want anyone to see my shame. My name and the name of the song I was going to sing had been written in the program, but still I had been overlooked. (As a side note, the man in charge apologized and was very kind about the whole thing!)

The whole way home I sulked in the car, huddled into myself and my own hurt. But when we got to the house, I spent some time outside thinking and talking with God - and God showed me that the way things turned out had more important things to teach me about humility than if things had turned out the way I had planned.

You see, my poor attitude was because I was embarrassed. I had been overlooked and forgotten, in my opinion. I felt short-changed. But that Memorial Day service wasn't about me. Sure, I think the words of that beautiful song by Cherryholmes could have blessed the audience. But they had already been blessed by my grandpa's story and his service to our country. And I shouldn't have let my embarrassment keep me from wholeheartedly sharing in the honoring of my grandpa and others who had served in the U.S. military.

In a twist of wonderful irony, the last line of the poem by my grandpa's friend that I read went like this:

"This once proud ship will sail no more."

When that realization hit me - how those words tied into what I needed to learn from the experience - I laughed. My "proud ship" really needed to stop sailing!

Oh, laughter really can be such good medicine! =) How can you stay angry and hurt when you can honestly laugh at your own folly and rejoice in the goodness of God?

As the author of Ecclesiastes noted, there is "a time to weep, and a time to laugh" (3:4a).

So now I'll open up the sharing time! Is there anyone else who has had to learn some lessons about humility the hard way? (Really, is there any other way than the hard way??)

"He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."
~ Proverbs 15:32-33 ~

12 comments:

Amanda Stanley said...

I could never say no to marshmallows, no matter the hour! Love the taste but especially LOVE the smell! Ever just smell the outside of a closed bag of marshmallows? Yeah, probably not… but the smell is addicting, stronger when the bag is closed than opened for some reason… LOL, Where did Amanda go? Oh, she’s behind the cabin huffing the bag of marshmallows! Sorry Renee! Guess sugar does have a bedtime after all! ;-)
Amber, I remember you sharing that last year. I would have felt the same way, my friend. I tend to embarrass easier than most, and something like that would have kept my face red long after the ceremony concluded! But what God taught you from it all is inspiring. He’s allowed me to go through similar situations. Sometimes it takes a sting to your pride AND your cheeks to remind you that it’s not about you and your agenda but Him and His.
Wish I could remember a specific account of humility teaching and explain it so beautifully and devotional-like as you’ve done here. I will say I feel like something of the sort happens almost daily. Sometimes it’s more public, but sometimes it’s a lesson just between you and Him. A gentle tap on your heart that leaves you in awe of His patience with you.
Love the scripture you ended with. I can imagine engraving the phrase “before honour is humility” on something. Powerful words, as is all scripture :-) Thank you for sharing what God taught you. Not only did you go through it but you chose to share it all with us here, that’s another layer of humility. It’s one thing to experience a humbling and it’s quite another to admit to experiencing it. Hope that makes sense :-)

Blessings,
Amanda

Cathy said...

Beautiful story Amber. Thanks for sharing. I've unfortunately had many of those kinds of moments.

I remember when my youngest was little and in the Christmas play at church. She was so excited and practiced her lines over and over. When the night came the teacher totally forgot her and she didn't get to say her lines. I think I was more upset then my daughter! When I talked to the teacher afterwards she basically said, 'get over it' which hurt me even more. I went home feeling pretty sorry for myself and my daughter.

But now I realize, that night wasn't about my daughter but about sharing the Gospel. I had gotten so caught up in my daughter performing, I forgot Who she was doing it for. It really didn't matter who said what. What mattered was that the Gospel was shared. :)

Julie said...

Isn't it always so precious when God speaks to us and we actually listen? I love your story Amber and the fact that you were able to laugh once you realized what the Lord was speaking to you. Looking forward to the rest of Camp Humility :)

Bluerose said...

Thanks for the veggie burgers!

That's a beautiful story! Enough to make this emotional girl tear up AND smile. ;)

I saw a picture on Facebook the other day of a woman laying down beside a grave crying. It had the caption(or something similar): "Remember that Memorial Day isn't JUST about barbeques". I think it's awesome that your family includes TRUE remembrance!

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

LOL Amanda there are PLENTY of marshmallows to go around. I know how much I love me some s'mores with extra melty, sticky, marshmallow goodness so I know better than to skimp! ;-)

xoxo~ Renee

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

LOL!! Marshmallows do have a great smell - and a great taste! ;) But I'm a little concerned about your over-enthusiasm... ;) Just kidding!

Anyway, thank you so much for sharing this journey with me - for being willing to read my stories and blog posts and for encouraging me with your understanding and your kind words. :) I LOVE what you said here:

"Sometimes it’s more public, but sometimes it’s a lesson just between you and Him. A gentle tap on your heart that leaves you in awe of His patience with you."

Yes - God is so very patient with us! And I love how He created us each unique, loving us all the same but allowing us each to have a unique relationship with Him. The wonder of that is beyond words...

You are such a wonderful example to me of living a life of humility, my friend. :) Thank you!!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Cathy,

Thank you so much for sharing your story, as well, and for taking the time to read mine! :) That must have been so hard, because we never want to see those who are dear to us get hurt. I can't speak from personal experience, but I think that any mother would hate to see their child overlooked and unappreciated. I'm sure just knowing how much you love her and cheer for her, and seeing how much you desire for her to succeed and be recognized, means a lot to her. :)

But that is a wonderful perspective to give God the glory and to see the bigger picture in the end. :) Thank you again for sharing!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Julie,

Yes, indeed! Thank you so much for reading the story and for participating in Camp Humility! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Bluerose,

You're welcome! :)

Aww, thank you for reading my story! And thank you for sharing about that picture - sounds powerful! Today I came across a political cartoon in a newspaper that was titled "Memorial Day 2012"... It showed a freeway with various exits, and the exits to the beach and other fun places to visit were piled with cars, while the exit to the military cemetery had hardly any cars on it...

I'm just blessed that my mom always took me to the Memorial Day services growing up, and my family always emphasized a respect and appreciation for the U.S. military. :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Renee,

Hahaha - that's good to hear! ;) Can you provide marshmallows for the whole week?? ;)

~Amber

Ariel Wilson said...

Oh goodness, I can relate. I get a big head often! I always think that the world revolves around me. I'm still learning ;) Sorry I'm coming in late!!!

Amber S. said...

Ariel,

Oh, aren't we all still learning?? :) Thank you for your understanding, and no worries - this is a week-long event that's still underway, so you're right on time! ;)

~Amber