March 26, 1981 Alan has the older boys out for breakfast at the Big Boy this morning, and Jonathan seems to think the crib is an okay place to play when nobody else is around, so I thought I’d take advantage of the quiet and at least say hello. This week is our annual missionary conference, and the boys and I are leaving in 1.5 hours for a morning “coffee,” and Jon is already calling, “Mama, nana!” (which being interpreted means he wants up), so this will indeed be brief!Tomorrow is Jonathan’s first birthday. We are planning to celebrate with a cheesecake—since that has become the national family favorite of all the rest of us—and a picnic at the hospital with Alan. Jon is also getting a motorcycle push toy, which Aaron and Michael have been begging to ride all week. Somehow bikes and hot wheels just aren’t the rage with something new—no matter how small—waiting to be worn out.Last week Alan’s brother stopped in for a visit. Terry brought some slides of underwater scenery around Roatan that were really beautiful and exciting, and Aaron has told about three different strange (and friendly) ladies about tube worms and queen angel fish. The boys are sure they would love to learn to scuba dive some time. Of course, Alan and I thought it looked pretty spectacular too. A whole other world. There are so many worlds in our world; most of us are able to see only two or three dimensions.
…back from the conference, full of exciting tales of peace and freedom from far off Japan and nearby Cleveland, Ohio. A personal God, one who can be found, and the challenge—do we value what we have enough to share it with others? I do! My problem is loving others enough to take the rejection. Most of you have been extremely gracious in allowing me to bubble over about what I think is the most marvelous thing in all the universe: salvation through faith in Christ, even if you don’t share similar beliefs. For that I’m most grateful. Thank you. If there’s one thing I don’t appreciate, it’s being coerced to do something against my will (i.e. high-pressure sales). In fact, “salesmanship” ranked last in my career profile at a big 3%. However, it is absolutely impossible for me to ignore the influence of Christ in my life. In Our Daily Bread Alan read an article to us the other day about John W. Peterson, who early in his composing career was advised to leave out the name of Christ and sing more about heaven in order to be more successful. His response was, “I have no song to sing, but that of Christ my King…” As Alan says, telling a Christian not to talk about Christ is like telling a dog not to bark. He can stop barking, but then he doesn’t really have anything else to say! In a psychotherapy class at Central I was told, “It’s great to act like a Christian, just don’t talk like one.” Do you know what I discovered? Outside of my motivation to love people in response to God’s love for me, I had no real motive for loving anyone! I don’t mean that I stopped liking people, or appreciating their kindnesses to me, but I mean loving somebody without any selfish motive, loving them without expecting or wanting anything in return. I can’t forget, delete, and omit the core of my reason for continuing to exist and have much worthwhile left to share with anyone else! Now I do attempt to be sensitive to the desires of those I love, and I do not wish to offend anyone. I am truly sorry for offending any of you in the past, and if my letters drive you to distraction, PLEASE tell me! I don’t send them for my own pleasure, so if they bring you pain, I’m wasting my time. Right?! That goes for future reference too. I tend to be fairly blunt and personal (which I come by honestly), but many people are not personal and don’t appreciate it in others. I can understand that, and I can “handle” that too. However, I find myself withdrawing from everyone, including many who may not mind reading ridiculously impersonally Xeroxed personal letters. So, rather than dropping out completely, I would like the privilege of being myself, but only to those who are interested in knowing our family through my eyes. So, please inform me and I’ll stop writing if you find yourself on my verbal abuse list too often!