Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Like a Fish Out of Water (10/24/13)
TITLE: Travelin' On
By Janice Kelley
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In those days, so long ago, not every home even had that magical little box. Those that did placed it in an honored spot in the living room. Prior to its arrival the chairs sat on either side of the fireplace or in a circle for easy conversation. Now those same chairs faced that new contraption - the television. Folks were enthralled with the fuzzy black and white pictures that danced across the face of the television. One of the favorite programs of that era was wrestling. Names of the heroes of the mat were on the lips of enthusiastic fans. In many homes activities were set aside when time for the contests took place as the family gathered around the television. Wrestling was the hottest sport in the TV world.
My husband had just graduated from Bible college a few months before and we were settling in to our new life with the rural church that he had been called to serve. One of our families invited us to accompany them to a wrestling match to be held that next Friday in a big arena in Indianapolis, Indiana, ninety miles to the southwest. We accepted the gracious invitation, looked forward to time with our new friends and to the new and exciting experience of seeing a live wrestling match.
Arriving at the designated spot we climbed to our assigned seats near the top of the packed auditorium. Far below us was the tiny square where all the action would take place. There were to be several different contestants with the final attraction to be a women’s tag team. We settled in to our seats as the air around us began to swirl in shades of blue and grey. Between choking and gasping over the smoke, we heard the contestants being announced and saw the match begin. Around us the spectators erupted in a storm of shouts and expletives. Just behind us was a father-son viewing team, the father spitting out every conceivable nasty word, often using our precious Lord’s name to call down damnation on his wrestler of choice. The son, about eight or nine years old, kept pace with, “kill the dude,” “ break his neck,” “ bash in his head,” “stomp on him good” “spill his guts.”
We weren’t long into the two hour event when I began my own private prayer meeting: “Dear Father, please don’t send Jesus to claim His church while I’m in this place. I don’t want Him to find me here.” As the seemingly cruel contest continued and the obscene language flowed freely around me, I kept up a pretty continuous request to God. The evening dragged on, the vulgarities continued and when the women hit the mat in the final moments of the evening, the intense cruel actions were just plain overwhelming. I thanked God that I lived to see the end of that particular “sporting event” and rejoiced to breath good, clean air again and move into company where sane and serene language was the order of the hour.
Not only did I feel smothered in dirt and shame that evening in the midst of so much of what God detests, but my heart ached for thousands of people present at that event who apparently found joy in such crude and cruel and crass behavior. Nearly sixty years have come and gone since that heart-wrenching evening. The world was not perfect then, far from it. But now, that same vulgarity which I witnessed so many years ago has moved into the everyday speech and activities of the world around me. We have cleaned up the air from cigarette smoke but polluted it even worse with vile acts and obscene language. That which God declared sin, mankind has renamed “comedy.” I truly feel like “a fish out of water” in our 2013 world. I have lived long enough that I can see beyond the horizon and know soon I’ll be travelin’ on. Still…..
My heart aches for those who have no knowledge of, or have chosen to ignore, the wondrous, peaceful life that our great God has called us to live through faith and obedience to Jesus Christ.
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