Jesus: For Whom the Bell Tolls {Holy (Cow) Week Day 3}

Even Bert couldnt teach her to know better . . .

The summer she turned five, my daughter began complaining of pain in her right ear.  I assumed it was related to the excessive amount of time she was spending in the pool.  In other words, I told her to suck it up.   I also made her stand sideways under the locker room hand dryer to evaporate any drops of chlorinated water lingering in the canal.  She always screamed something about burning flesh, but I thought she was just exaggerating. At some point, I mustered enough compassion to take her to the Pediatrician.  I sat in the exam room, arms and thighs crossed, waiting for the Doctor to diagnose swimmers ear.  Instead, he pulled out a long set of pliers and gently removed a small silver bell (hot metal would certainly explain the burning flesh sensation.) As the Doc moved the bell from the side of her head to her line of sight, my daughter did not miss a beat. “Whatta ya know,”  she exclaimed (knee slap and all).  “I was wondering where that ringing was coming from.” For days she plead innocent, claiming no knowledge of the bell’s origin.   She came up with a number of scenarios. Most of which ended with the ‘Tooth Fairy dun it.’  Until late one night, she climbed into my bed and opened her hand one finger at a time.  Sitting in her palm was a necklace of small bells strung together.  She slid it under my pillow and confessed everything. It seems like every day since, has been a constant struggle to teach her and guide her into doing the right thing.  In the beginning, it involved conversations that went something like;  “remember that Sesame Street episode,”  and ended with “so even Barbie has to apologize to Ken sometimes.” More recently, as I watch her struggle to make honest and good choices, I see more and more of myself in her. Our conversations are a lot more personal; “remember that time I yelled at you when I didn’t really know what happened,”  and ending with “so even mommy has to say she’s sorry sometimes.”  I want to tell her that doing the right thing will be easy and will gain her favor with other people.  But I know I’d be lying to her.  In Jesus’ final days He travelled from Jerusalem to Bethany and stayed the night.  While there, a woman broke open an alabaster jar of expensive perfume; anointed Him and washed his feet with her hair.  The value of the perfume was perhaps her total dowry, the meaning of washing his feet was total humility, and the purpose  was to serve  Him before it was too late. It was common in those days that a body would be anointed with oils after being placed in the tomb.  This woman obviously knew that, though Jesus would die, she could not anoint Him in the tomb for He would not be there.  She did the right thing.  She gave  Him all that she could while there was still time, she knew there was no cost too high, and did it all with humility and surrender.  She did the right thing and was condemned.  The disciples whispered behind her back.  They mocked her and called it a waste.  But Jesus praised her, memorialized her — because what she did, she did for Him. My daughter and I don’t always do the right thing.  And sometimes, when we do the right thing, we are mocked and whispered about. I cannot teach her that good choices are easy, but I can teach her that they are worth it.  If we give all of our best in all of our humility to God, than He will make good our deeds.  We may not win the world, but to gain the approval of God is far better.