A friend, also seven years old, slipped me a piece of paper, folded twice. I looked at the teacher, and she was turned away. I opened the mysterious piece of paper and read, “ I like you. Do you like me? Under her name she had drawn two labelled boxes. One box said Yes and the other box said No.
That exchange gave me several things to think about. One, I had a choice in liking my friend. Two, these boxes could bring her joy or defeat, and gave me a sense of power over her. Three, she was thinking about me and needed me.
I marked the yes box and folded the paper. I slipped her destiny back to her and watched her warm smile as she read the checked box looked back at me.
A thought-life consists of many thoughts. James Rutz wrote in Megashift, “Our responses are actually “sponses” because they are a continuous part of the endless river of thoughts and deeds that flow through us from the heart of God, where every action in the universe originates.”
I re-read that quote several times and recalled the scripture, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Matthew 12:34b
The more I think of thoughts, the more I realize that our dreams and visions and thoughts are related to the entry through our other senses of things about us. My Dad used to walk 20 miles a day for at least 10 years, delivering mail. During that time he walked a minimum of 6,240 miles in a year. I wondered what he thought about during those long miles. I remember looking at the soles of his shoes while he took his 10 minute nap during the noon hour. He would have to have his shoes half-soled again soon, to cover the holes. This was during the time when every item we purchased required hours of discussion. Which need would be rectified and which item would be purchased ‘next time’.
What did Dad, Herman Benny Siemens, think about? No music in his ear during that time. He heard the sounds of God’s creation….birds, dogs, and people. His gift was story-telling, and I am sure he spent much time thinking ,,,, and laughing. His sense of humor was constant.
Did he know the truth I just learned, that often Jesus asked, “What do you think?” We are expected to think. Jesus, a Master Teacher, knows that the process of learning includes thinking and the expression of what we have learned from His Word. Learning is an active process.
Our thoughts center around what others think of us. What is their spoken or unspoken expectation of us? And in this same mirror is reflected how we think about us. The mirror of evaluation is always before us, whether we consciously know it or not. When we evaluate ourselves in terms of materialistic achievement, there is no end to dissatisfaction with ourselves. When we evaluate ourselves in terms of achievement in career or educational prowess, someone always moves the marker.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. Romans 12:3
That mirror of evaluation can trap and bind us in circle of nothingness.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:25
Ben Merold once said, “The most important thing about us, is what God thinks of us.” When this sinks in and we know how God loves us, we find that we are free in Christ. And in that freedom, we choose accountability to the One who has freed us.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17
In the last years of Grosmom Emilie Brunn Siemens, she filled me with wonder. I wondered what she thought as she rocked back and forth in the steel chair on the front porch of the brown house on South 14th Street in Clinton. Did she think about the long journey from Leningrad Russia to America to find her beloved Jacob? Did she think about her four boys and daughter? About her many grandchildren? She never complained about her ill health, the lack of’ ‘doing’ as she folded her still hands in her lap? Then she would burst out in song, and I knew what she was thinking…and today it gives me peace.
Shall we gather at the river, Where bright angel feet have trod, With its crystal tide forever Flowing by the throne of God?
Refrain: Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river; Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God.
On the margin of the river, Washing up its silver spray, We will talk and worship ever, All the happy golden day.
Ere we reach the shining river, Lay we every burden down; Grace our spirits will deliver, And provide a robe and crown.
At the smiling of the river, Mirror of the Savior’s face, Saints, whom death will never sever, Lift their songs of saving grace.
Soon we’ll reach the silver river, Soon our pilgrimage will cease; Soon our happy hearts will quiver With the melody of peace.