Monday, November 16, 2015

Tribute to a Mayan named Mario

 Marcia Moston
The notation on the yellowing page in my Guatemala photo album reads: Dear Mario—a little goofy, a little blind, a lot loved. Mario (go figure a Mayan boy with the name Mario) latched onto us when we first arrived in his village in Guatemala many years ago.

Although he didn’t understand English, he always seemed to know when Bob was goofing and making up silly words. Mario stuck close to our daughter’s side and served as her protector when she went about the village or the home for orphans. My last memory of him as a boy was when he held the gate open for us, tears streaming down his face, as we drove out of the highland village of San Andres Sajcabaja for what we thought was the last time.

Last week Mario died in a bus accident in Quiche.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Help is on the way

Marcia Moston

 I thought it was unfortunate I didn’t have a problem that day. Otherwise I might have thanked the voice in the self-checkout machine at the supermarket for her encouraging words. Maybe taken them as being prophetic.

Unlike the woman on my GPS who launches into a frantic litany of commands before having a robotical breakdown if I veer from her directions, the checkout machine voice remained calm and collected. 

“Help is on the way,” she said after twice telling me to please put the item in the bag. I had already put the item in bag, but had tried to rearrange things so the milk wouldn’t sit on top of the tomato, which I had unwittingly put in first, but you can’t disturb the weight once it’s on the scale, and so I waited for my help to arrive—a young girl with her key card that set things in order again.

“Help is on the way.” The voice played in my mind throughout the day, reminding me of times I desperately needed to hear those words.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The corner hoarders, creativity and Bob

Marcia Moston

Have you ever noticed how so many houses on street corners belong to junk collectors? How you can be driving down a perfectly pleasant road, thinking to yourself, I wouldn’t mind living out here, and then you come to the house anchoring the corner. You know the place—the one with the bathtub and old tires and car hood from the 70s tossed alongside crumbling concrete lawn ornaments and tumbled over plastic swing sets. At first I thought this to be a phenomena of the countryside, but then I remembered George.

George had a sprawling corner lot in Islip Terrrace, a tidy neighborhood on Long Island. You had to walk by George’s fenced yard to get to the main street. Of course, you couldn’t help looking at the mounds of broken, rusting treasures George had somehow not only managed to find, but to haul back home. If George saw you looking over his fence, he’d yell and mutter something unintelligible, and chase you away. There’d be no coveting George’s precious possessions.

I am not a gatherer of the unnecessary, so when we moved to our own colonial on a corner in northwest Jersey, I had no reason to suspect we’d contribute to the corner collectors.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Searching for Messiah: A Jewish Man's Testimony

Like the light of dawn that rapidly dispels the darkness, God can change the trajectory of our past--our upbringing as well as our own actions--and direct a whole new future that affects our children and all those, even thousands, whose lives intersect ours. 

I love NY Times best selling author Joel Rosenberg's story of coming to faith and his parents' testimony and willingness to see truth. Look at the impact of that decision and take heart about what God has done and will do in your own lives, your family's and who knows who else’s. I doubt Rosenberg knew just how much his coming to the Messiah would impact his Jewish heritage and influence millions.

I recommend his encouraging post about his own recognition of the Savior and the surge in interest among Jewish people today about who Jesus is. What a reminder that even if the whole world turns against Israel, God is on the scene changing hearts. He will have the last word and the final victory.

"When my father, who was raised an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn, discovered in 1973 — after a  careful study of the Gospel According to Luke — that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, and received the Messiah by faith, my father thought he was one of the first Jews in history who believed this. He had never met a Jewish believer in Jesus. He had never heard of  such a person. And in 1973, there were fewer than 2,000 Jewish people on the planet who were  followers of Jesus.

But today, some 300,000 Jews around the world are followers of Jesus. And millions of Jews are searching for the Messiah and thus reading the Hebrew prophecies . . ." 

In the joy of the Lord,

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rooting for the Wrong Guy—Meditations and Musings

Marcia Moston

Did you ever find yourself feeling bad for the wrong guy? Not just the hunky bank robbers in the movies that you feel sorry for when they get caught, but the ones in the Bible? Like God was being a bit harsh and maybe even unfair?

I mean who wouldn’t complain if someone who worked for only an hour, like the laborer in Matthew 20, but got paid the same as you did for working all day? Or if your sister spent the day chatting with the guests and left you to do the cooking? (Luke 10) Fine to tell me she’s made the best choice, but everybody wants to eat, don’t they? Or if the crazy homeless guy holed up down the street suddenly got healed at the expense of two thousand of your pigs. (Mark 5) It’s great that guy’s got a new life, but you’re out of business—to say nothing about the environmental disaster at the foot of the cliff.

If you’ve ever wondered what Jesus was up to, you’re in good company.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Memoir: Memories Lost and Found

Marcia Moston

September means back to school for me too, as I begin my fall workshops on memoir at the OLLI center on the Furman campus. For many of us who have now reached the front of the line, with no parents left ahead to buffer our illusion of immortality, assessing where we’ve been and what we’ve done plays as big a part as figuring our what we’re going to do.

I don’t think looking back is a maudlin activity, but rather a chance to sort out some things for ourselves and to pass on a legacy for those we love. At the very least it’s an opportunity to let the kids and grandkids know we actually were young once.

One way to stir up filed-away, but not forgotten, moments is to go through old pictures.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What to do with Mom on the mantle

“So what do you want me to do with you when you die?” My daughter looked worried about the prospect of having Mom-on-the-mantle forever because we hadn’t discussed this delicate issue.

Assuming I’d be cremated, I said, “You could plant me. Plant a tree and rim it with me.”
At first she liked this idea but then her countenance quickly clouded. “But then I couldn’t ever move—unless it was an indoor tree—and it didn’t die.”

I could see her point. No kid wants to be guilty of abandoning the parents they love, even though it’s just their ashes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Daniel and the Stupid Bird

Finally. It was The Day I promised myself time to laze in the pool and sit in the gazebo with a totally engaging no-think book and icy drink. I had been so energized to clean our house and yard after our daughter, son-in-law, and dogs moved into their own home (they were with us five months) that instead of waiting for my husband to come home, I hauled things way too heavy for me—like pressure washers and a 50-pound, round glass tabletop that I could barely get my arms around enough to lift back on the base. My determined stubbornness had gotten the job done inside and out, including painting three decks, but now my body, splattered with black and blue marks was in need of a serious recharge.

I set my book and drink on the stand, puffed up the lounge chair cushions, and reached up to turn the fan on. Suddenly there was a flapping and thrashing in the peak of the gazebo. A bird was batting against the sides of the rafters. Thinking the draft from the fan was too much for it, I turned the fan off. The stunned bird settled on a side rafter. I settled in my chair. Although it was fairly big, I realized the bird was a young robin. Its red belly feathers were just coming in, much like a teenage boy’s chin fuzz.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When you can't own the house on the hill, meet the person who does

Certainly I had no idea words C.S. Lewis used to describe his childhood in the big house his father built would end up being a quirky connection for me from the Lord.

I put Lewis’s sentence on the overhead screen: I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences . . . and told the participants in my memoir class to use it as a model to describe a place from their lives.

The room was quiet as a dozen or so heads bent over paper and iPads. As students took turns reading their pieces, we were transported to ocean beaches, arid deserts, exotic cities, and sad farewell places. One woman captured our attention with her nostalgic description of sunsets over long mountain views and generations of family spilling over sweeping lawns. It was so lovely, I asked her where she lived.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

When your husband has too much time and you have none

You know it’s time to come out from that pile of books you’ve been behind for the past three weeks when your husband, in all seriousness, wonders about shooting them. Not because he’s annoyed, mind you, but curious. He’s been left to himself too much, I think.