In the presentation

In today’s television world, there are very few shows that we allow the kids to just watch without us screening the episodes first.  Going into the obvious reasons why would be fodder for another blog, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.  But, thanks to the wonderful invention of DVR, we can set aside episodes of shows that we do approve of so they can just hit play and watch without wondering if it is OK (that, and they don’t have to sit through commercials).  For our kids, they like watching Andy Griffith (mainly for Barney), Full House, and the Cosby Show, at least in the classic TV genre.

Speaking of which, I’ll get straight to the point.  One Cosby episode in particular brings Vanessa home from her first semester in college and with her, a new fiance, Dabnis.  Dabnis is a nice guy, has a steady job, and would otherwise probably be a great catch for the flaky Vanessa.  But, Vanessa had never told Cliff or Clair about even having a boyfriend, much less a fiance.  To top it off, he worked as the maintenance director at her school and she hid that from them as well, fearing a negative reaction.  The whole drama comes to a head at the supper table one evening, where Cliff just tells Dabnis that he doesn’t like him.  He goes on to tell him that it has nothing to do with who he is or his job.  Rather, it is all in the way Vanessa presented him to the family.  In a way that only Cosby can, he describes a delicious meal of steak, potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms to Dabnis, almost to the point of getting his mouth watering with the description, but then tells him he will hand it to him on a garbage can lid when it comes time to eat.  His quote, “Not too appetizing is it?  That’s how she brought you here, on a garbage can lid.”

You can watch the clip here (from the 2:00 to 3:30 mark is the story I referenced). 

I got a call this Monday from Myriah, our new case worker in Arizona.  While she didn’t have a full medical report, she had heard from Jennifer’s required blood work and wanted to share the results.  Great.  I’ll quote her directly, so that you get the message in the same way that I did.  She said, “In looking at her lab results, both Hepatitis C and HIV. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  were non-reactive.”

I couldn’t cut and paste enough sections of . . . . to justify the eternity that my heart felt when she said it the way she did.  My mind told me that after the ups and downs that this adoption roller-coaster had thrown us, another major one was about to come.  Then she gave the good news, I thanked her for the call, and we hung up.  I just checked my phone – the call lasted exactly one minute, nine seconds.  Could’ve fooled me.

Since then, I have replayed that moment in my mind several times.  One thought that comes around more than once is that I am thankful that Jaclyn didn’t get to experience it that way.  Contrary to common thought, she is a lot meaner than me.  So, a choke-slam through a phone line, even from 1,500 miles away, wouldn’t be out of the question.

But the second thought comes back around to the theme of today’s blog – the presentation of what was good news didn’t really feel like it until I could fully process it.  It wasn’t the good news that was to blame, and it wasn’t my receptivity to or need for getting good news.  It was all in the delivery.  Here’s why that thought keeps sticking with me:

If you are a believer, as I am, then you possess knowledge of the good news of Jesus Christ – His birth, His life, and His death.  So, just like my situation, there is the presence of good news.  On the receiving end, there is a lost and dying world all around us.  We likely have conversations with people every day that will spend eternity separated from God in hell should they not wake up tomorrow.  Again, like my situation, there is the need for good news.  So, where is the disconnect?  Just like Myriah, it is unintentionally in our delivery.

No, I’m not saying it’s in the sermons that our pastors deliver on Sundays, etc.  And, I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip on anyone that hasn’t verbally witnessed to anyone in recent days.  It’s more in our presentation of what a follower of Christ really should be.  We don’t exude love, forgiveness, and acceptance of others regardless of their situation.  Instead, we throw a little judgmental attitude, better-than-you airs, and lists of sins at someone that is already in need.  Shaking our fingers in an empty attempt to make our own sins either seem lesser or small in comparison.  All the while, missing out on what God has called us to do – be a light in a dark world.

So, I still say a prayer of thanks for good news.  We will take it even in the smallest portions.  And I continue to pray for a birth mother that is doing who-knows-what while hiding from authorities and carrying my child in what should be week 32 of her pregnancy.  But, I also pray that God continue to help me with the challenge of seizing moments that come before me and being aware that I am to be a constant representation of him, because someone is always watching and looking for The answer, whether cognitively or not.

“Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the log in your eye? Hypocrite! First take the log out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck in your brother’s eye – Luke 6:41

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