No I Really Mean It

I grew up in a three strikes home. It was clear that what an adult said held sway. They were not joking. They really meant it. For any indiscretion you would: 1. Be told what you were doing was not okay and why 2. A reminder of #1 with the potential consequences of your actions thrown in and 3. A follow through often resulting in the extroverts most dreaded  punishment- “time-outs.” While I have plenty of friends who commented that being sent to their rooms to read or play alone felt like a luxury, for me it was complete torture. Minutes would tick by like hours or days.

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Despite this consequence and the good parenting that created clear lines of appropriate and inappropriate behavior, I would find myself sulkily walking (okay stomping) up those brown shag steps more often than I care to admit.

As an adult I still need to be told things- and multiple times for them to sink in.  This is not just true in the ways I relate to others-how does someone like me to respond when they are stressed or how can I show appreciation for someone else’s hard work in ways that meaningful- but this is true for information in general.  The number of times I forget my passwords is so shameful that my husband Dan has started also keeping track so that I don’t dissolve into tears trying to log onto my online banking, Spotify, or, heaven forbid, Netflix account.

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Today in our Gospel reading from Mark we hear Jesus tell the disciples again of his coming death, and like my parents I can hear Jesus almost say “No I really mean it.” No one wants to be told bad things are going to happen- that there are consequences for their actions (or in-actions) – that things may be hard for those we love. But that is reality, and Jesus doesn’t shy away from it. Jesus tries to prepare those he loves not once – or twice- but three times.

Mark 10:32 b

He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him

 

I wonder if people in our lives often try to tell us things- share their truths with us,  especially the hard truths- but for whatever reason we, like the disciples, are not able to hear their words.  Since the disciples did not truly believe Jesus’ words, I wonder if they were able to celebrate the time with him they had. I wonder if they were able to say whatever words they needed to at the end. I wonder what would have been different.  May we learn from the disciples and listen with open hearts to the truths those around us share.

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