Sunday, July 24, 2011

Comfort Zone --Thy name is ELECTRONIC!

More than forty years ago was we would go tracting door to door as young LDS missionaries, I noticed something unique about Wednesday nights.  Lovely people who would otherwise have let us in on another night, answered our "claps" at the door and quickly asked us to come back another night.  We learned to do something else on Wednesdays because of the NOVELLAS.

I'm related to a few folks who are glued to the tube on Tuesday nights for NCIS, NCIS-LA and the Good Wife on CBS and several British Comedies on Saturday from 7-10.  I have threated to have a Whitman style sampler embroidered with the words, "Real Life IS an Acceptable Substitute for Television" but at my house I couldn't buy a convert to that idea for any amount

Some folks at my house are closer emotionally to several PBS chefs and a couple of CBS adventure stars than they are to perfectly acceptable negibors and most of our friends from before this electronic addiction.

Getting my near and dear to church or a neighborhood function is impossible--but I mis-state myself.  After six weeks of organizing a very successful Talent Show and Craft Display, I came home to my loving embroidery-mad spouse who puffed out her lip in a mock pout and asked, "Could I have displayed my hand embroidered dish towels over there last night?"

"Yes," I said sheepishly, "but you haven't come over there for so long that I just assumed you wouldn't be able to participate."

"Well," she rationalized,  "the band would have been too loud any way--and you know my allergy to organ pipe vibrations.   Wouldn't have worked anyway.--cuz I've been nursing a migraine.  Pulling my sweet spouse away from her plug in drug, her DVDs and her flashing light friends in the box of transisters and wires that has become her home away from home to mingle with genuine flesh and blood friends is more and more difficult.

Strangely she jumps to the chance to shop amid strangers at the local half a Wal (as we call our downsized Wallmart) But spending time with folks outside the family circle, away from her remote controls is less and less likely.

I belong to a church that has wonderful core principles--but with changes on earth come change ups among the faithful.   Older folks who cling to their pew in church in spite of all changes are legion.   A friend told me of one fellow who took a dislike to one of the counselors in local leadership and insisted on pulling the lobby couch into the overflow area at the back of the chapel and during reverent meetings, when the despised counselor spoke --the rebel unfolded a copy of the opposition newspaper and noisely turned the pages until that talk was done.

Maybe boycott, however justified by headaches, aching knees and gimpy tummies is better than a couch rebellion by somebody who won't go away.

About going away, I must share the story I heard a few weeks ago from the Chief Operating Office of the Salt Lake Temple, Lonnie _________.  He told a group of older men about a drunk who wandered into Temple Square in Salt Lake City to the great front steps of that magnificent structure just below a majestic statue of the Angel Moroni blowing a long golden trumpet.  (If you've ever attended a wedding at the LDS temple, you know the custom of brides and their wedding parties climbing the steps in one of six door ways and posing for pictures as they start their wedded life together.

The drunk started coming in around 3 in the afternoon carrying an open whiskey bottle that he had emptied about half way.  His tirade included shaking his fist at the angel and cursing out loud in the angel Moroni's name.    In such instances the staff had been instructed to call the police, and every day for several days the police did their duty.  Unable to charge him with anything other than exercizing his first amendment rights, He was free after each arraignment to return the next day and continue the harrangue.

The Temple leadership didn't know what else to do.   Then one day after a week or two of this display a temple engineer was working on the roof, below the angel, down on his hands and knees behind some granite faced trim when the tirade began again.   Suddenly, without revealing himself, the engineer in a deep and rather loud voice said, "STOP THAT!.  You should be ashamed of yourself.  Go away and never come back!"

The drunk's ability to distinguish between the giant angle sculpture and the voice coming from slightly below it was, to say the least, somewhat blurred--but the booming announcement had it's desired effect. The man gently rested his empty bottle by the side of the temple wall, turned his wobbling steps out of temple square, never to be seen again.

Climbing out of a comfort zone is difficult at best, the older we grow.   As the leader of a Sunday School, I once tried a new technique to consolidate the Sunday School class in a chapel setting near the front.  (It's tough to teach a crowd that has two or three rows between each other--it lacks togetherness)  I masking taped some festive pastel yarn to block off the last several rows of the hall and sat in the back to see what happened.  One very elderly gentleman came in with his ailing wife, saw the yarn and unceremoniously pulled it down and sat in the same seat he had occupied for what seemed like forever.

After the meeting with as much tact as I could muster I kidded with him a little.  As seriously as he could muster he informed him that he had bought and paid for that pew and he would have to be carried out dead from it before he'd ever sit anywhere else.  (I'd read that early protestant churches had auctioned off pews as a fund raising mechanism--but not in the Mormon faith--and not in Utah.)

After asking around and some rudimentary research, I discovered that he had been the secretary of the building committee that had planned and built our building.  He was the one who paid all the bills, and likely chipped in a few more bucks than most to make sure the work was paid for before it was dedicated.   He had "bought" that pew--and I never bothered him about it again.

Enjoy your comfort zone and remember that the only difference between a rut an a grave are the dimensions!


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