When I began writing this on Saturday, I had a very simple agenda. I wanted to focus on getting out one set of grades and the Sunday School lesson. With that done, on Sunday I could focus on the oldest’s prom dress. BUT…the kids danced on Friday night—late, like midnight—at a local outdoor event. (Sorry about the picture quality; the lights were so bright everywhere, and these were with my cell phone).
After enjoying their performances, I returned home and crashed into bed. Me and my mesquite-smoke-scented hair. So, this morning, I prepared to wash my hair. But instead of the braid-out that I’ve grown so accustomed to, I decided to go with 2-stranded twists. After all, I need to keep my hands away from my hair a bit. Right now, my hands are always in it—touching my new growth, checking for moisture, etc. Lord, please don’t let my hair become an idol.
Anyway, once I decided to twist my hair, I realized I was missing my shea butter soufflé (to moisturize my hair and hold the twists). Down to the kitchen I go. Once I got my soufflé mixed, I came back to wash my hair. The twists took hours, so I was happy that the kids slept away the morning. Once they got up, there were breakfast pancakes to cook—at noon.
Now with breakfast and hair out of the way, I needed to start a pot of chili for the evening meal, but had run out of chili powder. My husband was okay with going to get more, so I started to get my computer and begin the grading process. But first, I’d get a quick picture of my hair in its newest style. As I turned the corner to get the camera, I walked by the youngest’s room. I didn’t take the time to give it the pick-up that it needed (she should do that, right?!), but she can’t make the bunk beds just yet, so I climbed the ladder and got it done. Then it was picture time. I tried in the bathroom mirror, I tried with different cameras, but I could not get the right picture. Finally I had my son take it. I’ll hold on to the end result so that I’ll have something to show regarding progress later on.
With the picture taken, I again prepared to sit at the computer. But I couldn’t possibly sit down at a computer without folding the clothes that have been next to the sofa for a couple of days now. So, I folded clothes and started the pot of chili that I should have begun hours ago.
So, nine hours after I set out to do so, I’m finally beginning to evaluate assignments and assign grades. Does anyone else have this type of day?
When I’m not trying to unravel my plans into something that I can actually execute (which is all too often), I’ve been thinking. It’s almost time for summer, and I’m late on my own schedule for next year’s planning, so my mind has been on books.
The oldest and I have been reading through Dante’s Inferno. This book is considered an almost exact portrayal of medieval beliefs on the Christian faith. In reading it, though, it occurs to me that the themes are similar, even in modern beliefs about life after death. I’ve read similar portrayals in Mary Kay Baxter’s Divine Revelation of Hell.
Led by the great author Virgil, Dante is escorted through Hell after he has fallen off the path of righteousness. It is the hope of a demi-goddess that by showing Dante the eternal fate of those who do not walk with God, he will then seek to be restored. So the trip begins, and so does my pondering.
One of the first groups of people that he meets are the peers of Virgil, called the Virtuous Pagans, whose lifetime precedes the rise of the Christian faith. These men, and more specifically, their words, were considered great contributors to society—Homer, Horace, Ovid–but they didn’t know the Father. Thus, their penalty in hell is simply that they dwelt there, with no hope of ascending to Heaven. I never thought, as we are reading through history, what happens to those who lived before Jesus walked the face of this earth? Are they given a chance at salvation?
Dante’s travels continue. He descends further and further into hell, and the reader sees how creatively the punishments are crafted to fit the crime. It is all too reminiscent of how we lift up some sins as if to say, “If those people follow 2 Chronicles 7:14, the rest of us would be alright.” Is punishment in hell based upon what specific sins we commit in life? I’ve never my taught my children this, either here or my children in Sunday School class. I’ve taught them that all sins need repentance; without repentance, we will not meet our heavenly Father. I’ve taught them that we are not perfect beings, but our quest is to strive to be more like Christ with each day, and to never forget, regardless of where life takes them, of His grace and mercy. Nazi POW camp survivor Corrie Ten Boom said it best: there is no place that man so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.
Is hell the multi-storied chasm where we are punished according to our deeds here on earth? I pray to God that I never find out. However, I embrace the book for what its message was intended to make me do—think. And I’m thankful that whatever the vessel that the Lord chooses to use, we are reminded once again of the need of a resurrected Saviour. Thank YOU sooooo much.