IMAGINE – PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES OF NO 4TH COMMANDMENT
I sit here often.
There I read, think, enjoy, contemplate, pray, assess, plan, experience, live . . . and you may have one of those places too.
Lately the Fourth Commandment has come up in my mind. There are things I need to deal with.
I would usually write “Imagine – a World Without the Fourth Commandment,” a world devastated by lack of respect for those who are far older than we are, a world that acts on arrogant pride which tells us “we can break with the past and do it our way” — but you can imagine that yourselves.
It’s a world without respect, dignity, honor, rejecting the wisdom of one’s parents (and their generation – and all the generations past). Reinventing the wheel never works. The wheel works.
There are many consequences that flow from understanding God’s Commandments (the “wheel”) and following them, but I want to get down to particulars – a small and disturbing detailed example, one that is common to us all.
We know our grandparents will die some day. Our parents will die some day. And there is nothing like a dead family member to remind us of how much we loved them — and how much we failed to love them and to show them honor.
“Honor thy father and thy mother . . . ” says the Fourth Commandment. Acknowledge that they are worthy to be honored. Worthy of our love. Worthy of our respect.
I’ve been sitting in my Reading Chair looking at the small sofa across from me:
On that small sofa I had recently placed a beautiful afghan that my mother made for me. It’s full size. She used the “afghan stitch” which is an easy if somewhat monotonous activity. And then once the afghan squares were made and stitched together, my mother embroidered the designs on it. The pattern came with flowers, but my mother, on her own, added the cross, because she personalized it for me.
Excuse the tissues. She died last year.
Here’s a closeup of the stitches, the white yarn and the colored yarn, all requiring individual and deliberate movements of her hands to create each white “square” and each colored X.
How many thousands or tens of thousands of individual movements did this afghan require? She intended this afghan for me and she presented it to me one day. I was suitably impressed. I thanked her profusely. Often I kept it stored away from a busy household with two little potentially damaging children growing up near the afghan.
And then I took it out, and now I’m using it.
I wonder at all the work that went into its making. All the effort. The love. My mother’s hopes that I would like it. And I also wonder how many times did I thank her for it? Ever again?
More importantly when she got old and had lots of time to think back on her life, did she ever wonder if I still appreciated it? Did I ever think of it? How would she know? Sometime during her last eight or so years I took a photo of it and intended to show it to her, thank her for it again, tell her it was not forgotten — but by that time she had already begun to suffer from the brain damage that always occurs after chemotherapy. She would not . . .
Yes, we can still honor our parents and grandparents who have died, and the goodness and wisdom of past generations. that’s important.
But here, from my Reading Chair, I wish I had been more acutely aware of the Fourth Commandment when my parents were alive. There are consequences when we disregard it, not only for the management of “world affairs” — No, just consequences for us, personally.
” . . . that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God has given thee.”
“Imagine” a world without the Fourth Commandment, you Pop Culture Victims. A world full of personal confusion and regrets. All willing orphans.
God’s Laws and rules and principles are meant to keep us happy and safe, with the least amount of “regrets” tugging at us.