Landmarks

Morning Prayer: Landmarks
May 7, 2014
Prayer by Mr. Jai-Sun Bolden, English Department

Proverbs 22:28 says “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”

As a boy, my father set landmarks verbally and physically. When I was about six years old, I broke off a wonderfully sculpted dirt clod from the ground and heaved it as hard and far as I could…CRSHHH. I shattered my neighbors bathroom window. As soon as my father heard this, he snatched me up off the ground.  After I felt my arm yank up, I literally blacked out.  I can only remember waking up the next day with a sore backside. The next day happened to be Sunday, so I guess you could say my father knocked me into the next week.

When I was around six or seven, I received a Speak and Spell for my birthday.  For those of you who don’t know what a Speak and Spell is, it was an early 80’s version of a tablet for kids. It was a gigantic, red and yellow, talking keyboard that taught children how to read.  As a creative six year old, I thought that my Speak and Spell would make a great talking battleship for my favorite GI Joe action figures during bath time.  Thus, during bath time, I took Lieutenant Torpedo, Seargent Gung-Ho, and Snowjob into the tub to ride and do battle on their new Speak and Spell Battleship. For a minute, the Speak and Spell was everything I had imagined as the Joes battled on the deck of their new state of the art talking battleship. But when I made the Speak and Spell dive underwater [sound effect], a hideous, terrifying electronic gurgle sound emanated from the 80s machine shattering my bathtub bliss.  My father who was within an earshot barged in and again. I felt his hand snatch my arm.  He yanked me out of the bathtub and, well, let’s just say getting a whooping while you are dripping wet in your Birthday suit does feel every bit as bad as it sounds.

But one of the greatest landmarks my father set occurred when I was about 8 years old. I had once again indulged in my favorite past time of throwing rocks in the front yard, and fortunately, I broke another window, the window to our living room. My mother told me to wait for my dad to get home and that he would deal with me.  When my dad came home, he took me outside right to the window. “Did you break this window?”, he asked.

At this moment I had my very first understandable bout with temptation.  I felt like a little Jesus standing on top of a very real mountain being tempted by a tangible Satan within my mind.  “Tell him your friend Marcus did it.”  “Tell him the wind did it.”  Eventually, I stammered out, “I did it”, and immediately braced for impact.  Awaiting another prodigious pounding to my backside, I closed my eyes and tensed up as best as I could.  I waited for three seconds with my eyes closed…The blow never came. My dad told me to always tell the truth and be honest at all cost, even when you make a mistake.  He told me he was proud of me for being honest.  I never received another whooping after that.  That moment in time was a landmark. I feel as if the Lord allowed me to learn the value of honesty and integrity in that moment, and He knew I would someday testify about this landmark that my father set.  Strangely, when I remind my dad about this moment, he doesn’t even remember the event.  He did not realize that his decision that day still affects me thirty years later.

But you do not have to be a ‘father’ to set a landmark.  God, the greatest Father, works through each of us, to set landmarks in the lives of the friends, family, and strangers we interact with. Let us all be mindful of the great impact our words, actions, and decisions can have on other people.  Through our right words and decisions, God, the Father, just may be using us to set a landmark in the life of another, helping them to draw closer to Him.

Let us pray:  Lord, we thank you for the spiritual landmarks that you have given us in our lives that have allowed us to draw closer to you.  We pray that we allow your Holy Spirit to guide our actions, our words, and our decisions so that You may work through us to help set landmarks in the lives of those close to us.

In Jesus name, Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

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