Brainwashing Day 8

My paternal grandfather grew up in the hills of Tennessee. (We are the same Rices of Rice’s Grist Mill “fame”)  😛

His life in the hills was very simple while he was young, but somewhere along the line, his father was hired to be the grounds keeper at the University of Tennessee.  His youth was spent wandering through all those hallowed halls of pedagogy and hiding on the campus grounds.  Since he was the youngest of twelve, his impressions of the campus were much different from those of his older siblings.

The older Rice clan saw their time at the University to be more than an opportunity to explore all the history and magic of the old campus, they saw it as a doorway.  A doorway into all the education that had not so long before this been outside the realm of their grasp.  One brother in particular had a passion to move beyond “son of the grounds keeper” to Dr of Agricultural/Botany.  And that is just what he did.

Uncle Elmer went on to not only become the resident Dr of Botany he became a legend among the students.  Having grown up living on the campus, the woods and hills surrounding the campus, as well as their botanical wonders, were like home to him.  Therefore, part of his class each year included a summer, “pre-school” trip into the mountains, where the students would eat, live and breathe sundry flora and fauna.  (The fauna pretty much reserved for studying immediately before and during meal time.)    😉   Each year, my father, his nephew, was invited to join he and his class on this foray into the hill country.

Despite this being during the early 1950’s, there were still many (many.  m.a.n.y.) mountain families living in the hills.  Their hospitality (and moonshine) were legendary among the students on campus, as some of them are likely to carry the remnants of their visits in the form of buckshot scars across their backside.

Uncle Elmer took a great deal of time explaining the etiquette of the hills.  Everyone was exceptionally well versed on the necessity of standing at the edge of any property lines and waiting to be invited to cross the homeowner’s land, as well as taking care to not offend them by implying that they didn’t understand the current state of the nation.  Failing to do either of these would surely result in…pain.

Trying to keep the first of hills rules, the students found that it was nothing for them to stand, waiting for someone to notice them and invite them onto their land for up to two hours at a time.  (They all wondered if they were to have ventured onto the property uninvited, just how long it would have taken them to be noticed.)   😀

Therefore, when large black thunder heads began to roll over the tops of the hills and the smell of rain filled the air, the whole team was very eager to be received by the current land holder they were waiting on, so that they could get into the barn for…protection from the rain.  That this was the best option,  was also being debated by the team.  They were equally divided on whether they would be safer taking their chances in the open with this storm or going into this “barn”.

The woman of the home saw them and greeted them and brought them up on the porch very quickly.  She brought out corn bread and cooked beans to share with them.  (I’m betting after a few days of roast squirrel and raccoon, these kids were GRATEFUL for beans and cornbread, eh what?)  She also served up a goodly round of, you guessed it, moonshine.

Before long the man of the house came out and joined them.  Despite his worn appearance, the kids were all delighted to find that front teeth were not a requirement for a discussion about politics and life in general.  They all found him to be a delightful conversationalist who had a very good grasp of current affairs.

After a goodly amount of talking (and I’m assuming drinking – but Dad has never let on about that part of the story)  😀  the wife, who had been offering some thoughts and opinions concerning government as well, suddenly spit (I have never asked what) and said, “By GUM, I sure wish they’d give women a vote.  I know we could help our country, if we could but have a sayin’ in it.”

The place was SILENT.  No one said a thing.  As understanding as she was of politics, why did she not know she had the vote?  Keep in mind, this was mid 1950’s.  Women had been voting since 1920.  All the students discussed later their own immediate reaction to correct her, then Uncle Elmer’s words filled their head.  They decided, one and all, that silence was DEFINITELY the better part of valor…and possibly life.  😀

This woman, a knowledgeable, passionate and obviously capable woman was sitting in the hills of Tennessee, thirty years after her right to vote had been ratified, feeling powerless to change anything! Who had lied to her?  The men in the community were voters – despite the seeming honor the man had for his wife, had he lied to her? (the church…)  What about the other men in the community?  Did they really not know that women could vote?  (the world…)  Did someone just convince her that she couldn’t vote?  (the enemy….)

When we consider that as Believers, our rights have been enabled for us – not any 30 years ago, but more like 2000 – doesn’t it add a whole new dimension to the importance of knowing what is a lie and what is truth? Too long has the Body of Christ been left feeling powerless, all because of the lies that we have believed. It matters not where it originated, any lie that leaves us feeling powerless must be dealt with.

Today, for your “homework”  🙂  (this homeschooling thing has seemingly gone to my head)  I want you to write out every thing in your life that leaves you feeling powerless.  Do you know the feeling I’m talking about?  I call it the “Pinball Syndrome” – where you feel like you have no choices, no options but to just go with the flow of what life is dishing out at you.  You are bounced to and fro, all about and all you can do is bounce off the walls and smile…or cry.  Yeah, THAT feeling.

Write them out.

Do you feel powerless in the face of the economy?  Write it.  Do you feel powerless in the face of your relationship with your kids? hubby? mother-in-law?  Write it out.  Do you feel powerless in the face of the politics of our nation?  Write it out.  Take all those powerless feelings and give them feet. (We can’t deal with them, unless they have feet.)  🙂  Part of their power is their ability to deceive you, so jerk those lies out by the roots and let’s get them on paper!

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power (!!!) and love and discipline.”


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