Monday, November 10, 2008

The Green Star

Ephesians 4:29
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

I sat on the sofa in a sea of colored yarn, picture books, toys, and children. In my hands, I held oatmeal colored linen, stretched tight as a drum in a round wooden hoop. Golden haired toddlers scrambled across my lap. A thick, silver needle in my hand pierced the fabric, weaving magic with tails of colored wool. Each stroke inserted life to the image as tangerine, moss, and goldenrod leaves graced the trees which stood guard to the cocoa and ivory country church. This had become my daily routine, sitting and creating a wall hanging. I was expecting my 4th baby in six years and the contractions had begun too early. Resting slowed the contractions, and embroidering helped time pass quickly, while my children, ages five, three, and one played. The final stitch was knotted and I hung my masterpiece proudly in the room for which it was created. Pleased I admired the framed art, my young children and my swollen belly now ready to bring our fourth child into our family. While the youngsters played I briefly left the room to complete a household chore calling my name. Upon returning, I glanced to enjoy the picture once again. I gasped as I my eyes flitted to the lower corner. Angry scrawls had appeared, just where small hands could reach by standing on the back of the sofa. Enraged, I exploded! All my weeks of hard work, ruined by a green crayon! As my head reeled, I began scolding my children. Eric, my eldest, home after attending morning kindergarten, timidly came forward. "I did it Mommy," he said in a tiny, frightened voice. He was answered with a frustrated, thunderous reply, "Why! Why did you write on Mommy's picture that she worked so hard on?" His blue eyes welled with tears as he whispered, "Because Mommy, I thought you did such a good job. I just wanted to give you a green star like my teacher gives me at school." As I lowered myself to his level, my anger dissipated as quickly as it came. It was replaced by words of praise and hugs for my son, Eric. I now saw a mark of admiration from his elfin hands. Green – his favorite color and a star for good work! The star remained on the wall hanging as a reminder to me that love can be shown in many different ways, until light and time faded it to a memory.

Lord, help me to guard my words carefully, that I may choose words to build, not to tear down. Please help me to hold my tongue, and my anger so I may listen to others and understand them as you would. Amen.

Mona Rottinghaus