Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Friday I was able to spend the day with my sister Lynae and her children. It was a hot day but beautiful outside as there was often a cooling breeze. We spent most of the day in a small community learning how the people spend their time at work and play, what their backgrounds were and how it is that they came to be where they are now.

Despite the hot, humid weather, they were dressed in long dresses and long sleeves even as they went about their business in an unairconditioned environment, inside or out. We got to observe a small classroom in session and had to have the teacher explain the math table that was in use, unlike anything we had seen before. Strict order was the rule of the day in the classroom.

We also were able to visit a farm and admire their large draft horses, the chickens (one of which cuddled up to Joshua and fell asleep), sheep, pigs and cows. We visited with the women in the kitchen while they made fresh apple dumplings over an open fire...they smelled incredible. We helped weed and water their garden where a whole assortment of vegetables and berries are growing. We were able to visit with a blacksmith and his apprentice as they made a whole assortment of items we take for granted. We were even able to sign a petition in support of the Women's Sufferage movement!

Living history museums are fascinating and this particular one on the north side of Indy is representative of the early days of Indiana. We were even able to throw tomohawks at targets in a small Indian Village.

The "residents" are well educated on the history of the time and place and very deep in character. It was fun to try and find out as much as you could about their families, jobs, schools and community. They were so good at playing their roles that we had to keep reminding ourselves who it was that was out of place - who was living in the real world. They would take off down verbal rabbit trails in unexpected directions sometimes and you would think they were out of their "role" only to find that their answer to a follow-up question didn't fit today's world. It was a major disappointment when you realized the beautiful glassware in the general store wasn't really available for 37 cents.

You are talking to actors, young and old, engaged in activities that fill their lives and filled the lives of the average folks of their day. As you visit and watch them toil and sweat at their jobs it adds to the illusion that it is real.

Some of us are just as gifted at acting out roles we have established for our lives on a daily basis. We have developed in-depth background stories that people are challenged to draw us out of because we don't want to visit thosse places that are too real in our lives, maybe painful or shameful for us. Sometimes our background stories become so deep that we ourselves find it a challenge to seperate the reality from the illusion. We don't want people to know who we really are or can't let them get close enough to see who the real person is behind the role we are playing.

Our Heavenly Father knows all of those things about us already and try as we might we cannot hide from Him. He accepts our imperfections and loves us in spite of them. Those who know him are the same way, though imperfect themselves...we are all damaged goods of one sort or another. He can take those imperfections and make something beautiful out of them if we are willing to set aside the role-playing and be ourselves. We all must choose to step out of the role we've been playing, take off the costumes, let Hiim shower away the dirt and then step into the lives He has blessed us with.



At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Brad!

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You sure had me wondering where you and Lynae were, but as I read on I knew where you were. I'm sure the children enjoyed it.


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