Thursday, May 3, 2012

Laugh or Cry?

Our last name is Gross. I know, I just broke some cardinal rule of blogging and told you our last name. And to top it off, I also tell my kids names on my blog, not some clever/cute/catchy nickname made up to conceal their identity. Next thing you know I'll be giving out my bank account number, mother's maiden name and social security number. Just kidding. Anyway, our last name is Gross and people try to be kind and say other pronunciations of it, like we'd be offended if they said Gross. Or another favorite is when people are embarrassed if they say that something is gross in front of me, like, "You should have seen it, it was SO gross! Oh, sorry, Heather!" Like because my last name is the same as an adjective no one should ever use it again. I use it, so fear not, you may as well! Anyway, I've had a number of years to get used to this last name and didn't actually take it on until I was in my twenties, so I haven't had to deal with any teasing about it personally. So, why am I breaking that cardinal rule of blogging and mentioning my last name (which is part of my blog title and not such a secret anyway)? I'm so glad you asked. ;)

Last night, my sweet 6 1/2 year old was teased for the first, and most definitely not the last, time about his last name. A little girl at church (it could happen anywhere, right?) was saying, "Gross Jon! Gross Jon!" Ever the tenderhearted boy, he was pretty sad about it. Thankfully, his daddy, who's had first hand experience with this very thing, was the first to hear of it and was able to relate and comfort, but encourage him to laugh with them instead of letting them laugh at him. I told him about how I would start out each school year when I taught telling the kids it would be "the grossest year of their lives" and that I had only been Gross for a couple years, but that my husband had been "Gross his whole life!" That made Jon laugh. Pete explained that he and his brother, and his dad, and his grandpa all had to deal with it, too. It's always comforting to know that you aren't the only one, you know. In the end, we both encouraged him to laugh with those kids and joke about it. After all, it's laugh or cry, right? I guess you could get mad, too. Laughing just seems to be the best choice here.
In Bible study, we've been talking about thankfulness and how we can live our lives with God in mind. I think it's those times when we forget what a Holy, loving and sovereign God we have, who created us and loves to pour out blessings on us, when we loose sight of that that we chose to the anger or the tears--or sometimes in my case both, I can't seem to get angry without crying, it's really annoying! Jon, like any of us, can get gloomy and only see the bad in a situation. And sometimes, like when a peer is making fun of your name, it's understandable to get a little down. However, you don't have to stay down. I was just reading Psalm 121 earlier this week. It's always been a favorite of mine, but I was reading the footnote and noticed something cool this time. Apparently there are two speakers in the passage. The first is the pilgrim or common man and the second is a priest or a fellow traveler. This is a psalm of ascent, one of many that were composed by pilgrims traveling to the mountain of God to worship. So the passage it would be broken down as follows:
Common Man/Pilgrim:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth."
Preist/fellow pilgrim:
"He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore."
I love the idea of a priest or friend coming alongside this pilgrim and encouraging the traveler with these words of truth about our God. As they are climbing, most likely carrying some sort of heavy load, the first traveler getting a bit discouraged and asks, "where is my help?" and the second reminds him of God's goodness, that He never slumbers. I want to be that second voice to my kids and to my husband and my friends. I was to remind them when the load is heavy of our Great God, of His strength and how merciful He is. I want to be the shoulder when they need to cry, but then gently remind them when possible to choose laughter and love, it's far better than anger and tears.


Grandma's Promise said...

Just wanted you to know that I enjoyed stumbling upon your blog and learning about you. I too am a homeschooling mom...only one teenager left in the home now. I grew up in Eastern Tennessee and we had very dear friends in our church with the last name "Gross". I am new to blogging myself and am using this venue to promote a new ministry called "Grandma's Promise" (a ministry to supply preemie items to NICU units in memory of my twin grandchildren). I enjoy checking out other's blogs as I learn to do mine. Blessings, Theresa

Hurrayic said...

Good words and promises to meditate upon. Sorry for your little one...that is no fun and yet, what a good teachable moment. My brother and I used to, instead of saying gross, would say, "oh, that's so 144!"...dorky I know, but hey, a gross is typically 144 of something.