2018-10-03 - My Way or the Highway
To give you an idea of my Grandmother's style of management, the words from a plaque on her desk read: “Be reasonable, do it my way.” She was the head of the hospital dietary at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh, at the time of my birth until she moved to Westminster to do the same at Carroll County Hospital, until her retirement in the late 1970s. I have that plaque in my kitchen now, and think of her fondly bossing my Mom around her kitchen when we would come to visit her in Florida, after she retired. When I say “bossing around,” I mean it in a sweet-spirited way, and Mom was never really offended by her instructing. In fact, she needed it to work her way around an unfamiliar cooking space. Grandma loved to tell the story of me being born in West Penn when she worked there, and how she sent Mom some extra special items she requested after forty weeks of atypical nausea and vomiting with me. Mom said she used to have to take anti-nausea pills to make breakfast for Dad and my brother, and at a certain point, just told them to have cereal. Anyway, Grandma loved she had the power to give Mom special treats like chocolate shakes, extra mashed potatoes and spinach after not being able to enjoy much food-wise for so long. While occasional indulgences are not really an abuse of power, the “my way or the highway” method could cause unfortunate results, should it be used to usurp others, when they try to hold us accountable.
The chief who I am guided by is truly only interested in my best. His selfless act of sacrifice makes the motive clear, and with that in mind, I believe it is completely reasonable to do things his way. Yet he wants me to choose him and has no interest in bullying me or begging me into it. There is a scene in the movie Bruce Almighty (Jim Carrey & Morgan Freeman) where Bruce, given God’s powers temporarily to see if he can do a better job of running the universe, wishes somehow that he could make his girlfriend love him again. At one point in the scene, he is standing in front of her, has his hands toward her, as if it cast a spell on her saying: “love me! Love me!” While being a thought of a desperate man, his trying to use power to force his thought into also being hers is not real love. Making anyone love you, and them not having the free will to choose it, makes the truth of those feelings quite questionable. God, being based on truth, makes the concept even more ridiculous and is why Bruce was instructed that free will was the only thing he could not alter while he was briefly in charge. We are all on the highway of free will, yet if we choose God, it is truly “His way or the highway.” I took my chances on the road of self-indulgence, and then decided to take the fork in the road to Him, when I was seventeen. God’s the boss in my kitchen, where I felt it fitting to place that plaque belonging to my Grandma. Who or what is your spiritual boss?
“Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening. For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged.” (2 Corinthians 12:19-21 KJV)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted