Posted by: Jim E | January 16, 2013

Steal?…Me?…Well, How About A Confession…

I grew up in the late 40’s and 50’s…that’s the 1940’s and 1950’s, to some of you that can’t believe there are people alive that lived during the “last century”…and some of them can really remember some of the years in the first half of that century…lots of us are around…Oh, we are almost to the age that we consider ourselves “getting old”…but the truth is, middle age to people who are “older”…we look at 65 being “middle age”…Oh, ya, it’s true…those that are in their upper 80’s Growing up in the 40' and 50'sand into their 90’s…the sixties are really middle age…to the very young, that is “old”…but not so to those who are truly older…but I digress here..

Let me get back to the subject at hand…during my “growing up years”, doing the right thing wasn’t a special behavior…it was expected from everyone who was young…in fact the term, “Being seen andimg030 not heard”, was mentioned by many adults I knew…we didn’t spend much time expressing our opinion…we needed to “learn”, and “age” a bit before any adult wanted to hear from us…was that a good thing?…well, I don’t really know, it seemed to work out…but it is certainly not the way it is today…adults are boring,…well, they were boring then too…to us…but that didn’t change the way “things were”…we held our tongue and talked among ourselves…

But you know many things taught then, such as: we shouldn’t lie, or cheat, or steal, or swear, orEphesians Steal no more many other things…we were taught that at home, at church and yes, at school…there was not a whole lot of difference between those three places…I think that we would have a hard time saying that today…at least to the extreme it was then…I don’t think I’m any the worse for it…in fact I knew the “rules” and still do today…I knew what was acceptable and what was not…and so did everyone around me…my parents, my grandparents, my neighbors, my teachers…heavens everyone…I found I couldn’t get away with anything without it getting back to my folks…my Mom always knew when I did something wrong…I asked her many times, “How did you find out?”…she would invariably say, “I’ve got eyes in the back of my head.”…she never told…though I suspected it was my grandparents, my neighbors, my teachers…well, you know the drill…who told her…

Ephesians punishmentWell, for sure I knew the rules…the good ol’ straight and narrow was the way for me, that’s for sure…and all those around me made it so…no doubt it was the Minnesota Scandinavian background I came from…pretty conservative and straightforward…that was what was expected; and that is mostly what they got…everyone was to work hard and do the right thing…and we all knew what that was…so to put it mildly, I never got away with anything…and a good dose of that Minnesota Scandinavian “guilt” came with it…if we did something wrong we usually felt so guilty that we wouldn’t last through a minute of interrogation…we had such a feeling of guilt and dread, that we, as I termed: “guppied up” right away…(you know, the small pet fish, called a “Guppy”, that usually after a couple of days in the fishbowl…was found “belly-up”…ya, “guppied up”…dead in the water)…we were a lost cause concerning holding out on the small crimes of childhood…or as Jean Shepherd (“A Christmas Story”) would say, “in Kid-dom”…

So here I am…knocking at the door of 71 years old…(just a little past middle age and enjoying it immensely, by the way…those youngsters have no idea…so I keep it a secret)…anyway, here I am confessing to a computer about some deed I did when I was a 10th grader, I was maybe 16…at Golden Valley High School, in Golden Valley, Minnesota…and after this weekend at church (here we go, one of those “three” institutions, you know, “I’m gonna tell your Mom!)…now Mom’s not here…but I have this feeling (coming from by background)…no doubt she’s watching and listening…so she is going to finally know this…and when I get to heaven, she is going give me “what for” about this…that is a sure thing…but I have to come clean after all these years…(you know, I have a funny feeling, somewhere deep inside…Mom already knows)…drats, foiled again…

At church Sunday, the preacher mentioned Ephesians 4:28…”Let the thief steal no more…” heEphesians chapter 4, verse 28 went on to say how that applied to a number of situations…stealing of course, taking something that is not yours…but then he talked about padding expense accounts…cheating on taxes and so on…(those preachers just go on and on don’t they…trying to cover everything imaginable)…but you know I never did any of those things…heavens, I never got away with anything when I was young…why should I think I could cheat Uncle Sam, for example…I just knew I would get caught…so I never was a thief…but then he said something, I’m sure talking to kids, about cheating on a test at school…Oh, my…

I asked myself if I ever cheated on a test in school (it would probably be a little late for lowering my grade, but I still asked myself the question)…I never cheated that I could remember…but then one time entered my mind…10th grade history class…world history or was it American history…Oh bother, I don’t remember…but it was history class…a few of the “guys”, me included were in the library…and one of the crew noticed our history teacher “mimeographing” (that ages me) something in a side room of the library…our test for tomorrow,  no doubt…we went back there and sure enough, there was the test…guilt and dread were present in abundance at that time…I knew this was wrong…so did the rest of my friends…but the four of us thought we would look and see what the questions were like…we were on the toboggan slide of sin…cheating…we all knew it was wrong…

Now, here I was…I was cheating with the rest of them…and I loved history…as I was looking at the test…I already knew the answers…I would have got a great grade anyway…but I knew right then, that I really fouled up…because in the end, I knew I wouldn’t get an “A” or a “B”…but an “F”…and for good reason…I knew I was guilty…all my background was coming through…I didn’t write down any of the answers like the others did, I knew them…and it was for naught…(it even passed through my mind, “Why couldn’t this be a math test?”)…but that was neither here nor there…I just didn’t “know how to cheat”…how do you actually do this…if you don’t know the answer, how do you fake it…and of course the next day when those others passed the test with flying colors and usually did poorly…they, after confessing, turned me in too…I felt terrible and the teacher was disappointed…I was disappointed…and I failed…I got what I deserved…paid the price and lost a bit of my character in the process…

EphesiansAnd verse 28 goes on to say, “Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need”…well, I never cheated again…even in college when I knew I was in trouble in courses…many times, even in grad school, when I had a family and working full time, I never even thought of trying to cheat on a paper or test…and you know, it always turned out okay…did I always get the top score?…no, but my prayer in those days was, “Lord, take what I do know and let me remember all I need to know for this test.”…things just seemed to work out…Mom was right…church too…school and also my neighbors…all of those things of my youth still direct my life today…it’s not been so bad…I’m just a little older than middle age…lots of years ahead…and trying to give back to those in need…both in physical ways and in other ways too…it all seems to work out…

Ephesians 4:28  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Great story, Jim!


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