John 12:24 – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
As the lector read the lessons in worship this morning I couldn’t help to read and reread this verse several times. I circled it in our bulletin.
There was just something about it that struck me.
Then, our Pastor began his sermon telling us a story about Martin Luther. I’m a huge fan of Martin Luther – at least that of which I know. He was brave. He was eloquent. He was intelligent. He loved and served people, all people.
What I did not know about Martin Luther was that his father, Hans, wanted him to be a lawyer. He attended the University of Erfurt (which upon more research is both one of the ‘oldest and newest’ Universities in Germany and has NO tuition-check it out). Obviously, he did not end up being a lawyer and his father was (as historians report) absolutely furious.
There was just something about that story that struck me.
I have received some criticism that I am too positive in this blog. For some it doesn’t do a good enough job of showing the ‘tough stuff’ and that even the tough stuff is sugar-coated and somehow transformed into something positive by the end of the post.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about that…
So, today the verse about the wheat and the story of Martin Luther are helping me to solidify how I can be so positive (most of the time, anyway).
I want my child to have a 4.0 GPA.
I want my child to be a music prodigy.
I want my child to always help people.
I want my child to be a conversationalist.
I want my child to pay attention at church.
I want my child to be polite, all of the time.
I want my child to be the fastest in his class.
I want my child to bet the best football player.
I want my child to always keep his room clean.
I want my child to be the best basketball player.
Two weeks ago I said to my husband (in tears), “I just want him to know what it feels like to be really awesome at something-something that is noticeable by others, something that can be quantified.” Gasp – go ahead, but I said I was going to be honest.
Don’t we all want that for our child? Don’t we all want them to feel the praise, admiration, and receive accolades? Sure, we all say – ‘Oh…I just want my child to be happy.” C’mon…really? Let’s be honest. OF COURSE we want them to be happy…duh. Don’t we want more for them?
That’s what Hans Luther wanted. He knew that being a lawyer would provide financial security and a higher social class. He knew that being a lawyer would result in praise, admiration, and accolades.
So, when Martin ‘killed the lawyer seed’ his father was angry.
However, only upon killing that seed was he able to really, truly become bountiful. The fruit that Martin Luther bore from killing that seed? The Reformation – and that was a pretty big deal. The Reformation was a major turning point in history. Obviously, it affected religion in Europe – but it also had far-reaching impacts on social, political, and economic institutions. (http://www.regentsprep.org/regents/global/themes/change/ref.cfm)
I guess that’s where I am, and have been for some time. That is why I can be so positive. If I spend my life focusing on that ‘dead seed’ I wouldn’t be able to recognize the bounty of truth, of who he really is.
He doesn’t have any of those qualities above…but here is what he does have.
He gets decent grades.
He loves to listen to music.
He helps people most of the time.
He’s a conversationalist when it revolves around something he wants to talk about.
He likes to ‘work’ at church – be an acolyte, an usher, serve treats.
He’s polite, most of the time.
He’s as fast as he can be.
He’s the best football player that he can be.
When I ask him to clean his room, he does.
He’s really good at standing under the basket and getting rebounds.
So, that’s why I’m positive. That’s why I will (most of the time) continue to be. Once the seed is dead – there isn’t anything I can do to bring it back to life. Does autism stand in the way of MY list. Yes. No doubt about it. So, I could focus on that. I could focus on all the things he won’t be on MY list.
But that doesn’t do any good.
I have to allow MY OWN original hopes and dreams for my child to die.
Then, and only then can I hand that seed over to the earth. That is when I was able to really treasure and realize the bounty he achieves all on his own. He will continue to bring more to this life than I could ever imagine.
I just want him to know what it feels like to be really awesome at something-something that is noticeable by others, something that can be quantified.
He is really awesome at being himself.