Terror in the Music Hall


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


Many years ago, still in my 20’s, I went with a school group  to hear a symphony. It was in Philadelphia, but I can’t remember the name of the building.  Our pastor and his wife were there, along with Terry and a couple of other friends, all acting as chaperones.

I was just fine until we reached the nosebleed section where our seats were located.  I have a terrible fear of heights, and if I’d realized where we would be sitting, I may have chosen to stay home!

I did all right, though, on the climb up the steps to our seats. It wasn’t until I turned around to sit down that I  saw that our seats were almost straight up from the floor of the auditorium, a very long way down. I sat quickly, focused on the stage, and managed to get through the performance with a modicum of enjoyment.  In the back of my mind, though, I was thinking, “How am I ever going to get down?”

This is a picture of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Kimmel Center.

See what I mean?  Makes me dizzy just to look at the picture!

I’m sure it was a wonderful performance, and I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

It was time to go. Terry had already left to get the bus and bring it around  from the designated parking area.  I was on my own, sweaty hands, spinning head, and furiously pumping heart all in action. I couldn’t move. Really.

Pastor Harris was standing behind me. He waited a few heartbeats, and then he came around and looked at me. I can’t imagine that he didn’t see the terror in my face.  In fact, I KNOW he saw it, because he turned his back to me, told me to put my hands on his shoulders, and said he would take me down. “Don’t look at the bottom, Linda.  Just watch the steps.  I’ll take you down, and you’ll be fine.”

And I was.  Shaking, but fine.

I wonder if he remembers. He’s in his eighties now, and a lot more important things have happened during all of those years. I, however, will not forget the kindness and understanding he showed me that day.


A Quick Lesson in Kindness


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt


Shondra was new in school.She was pretty and friendly, but the year was already well under way, and she was having trouble establishing herself. She figured out pretty quickly who the cool kids were, and that’s where she felt she belonged. Some of the other kids, perfectly nice but not cool, were friendly toward her.  Didn’t matter. She knew where she needed to be.

One morning, Mrs.Crandall was walking down the hall to her classroom. She noticed Shondra slipping small white envelopes into several of the lockers. She didn’t sense anything furtive in Shondra’s behavior, but she figured she’d better make sure.

Image result for girl putting invitations in lockers

“Good morning, Shondra!  What are you up to so early in the morning?”

Shondra’s eyes rounded for just a moment,  but then she laughed. “I’m not up to anything, Mrs. Crandall.  You know I’ve been having trouble making new friends, so I talked to my mom, and I’m going to throw a party.” Her eyes sparkled with excitement. “I’m inviting all the really–well, you know–the popular kids, the top kids.  If they all come, it should be a blast!”

Mrs. Crandall managed to smile at Shondra, and to wish her well. “Just make sure you finish before everyone else starts to get here,” she said.  “It’s going to be a little hard on the kids who don’t get your invitation, don’t you think?”

Shondra was startled. “But I CAN’T invite everyone!  Our house isn’t that big!”

“I understand, Shondra. I’m just asking you to consider what it’s going to be like when some students get the invitation in their lockers, but many around them won’t. You know, it might have been a better idea to send them through the mail. I’m sure Mrs. Hooper in the office would have been happy to give you addresses.”

“Now I feel bad! I never thought about anyone being hurt.”

“If you’ll tell me where you’ve put them, I’ll help you take them out before anyone else gets here.”

“Really?  Wow.  Well, we don’t have much time. . . .thanks, Mrs. Crandall.  I didn’t mean to be unkind. I’m glad you got here in time.”


Sometimes a Lie is Kind

As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?


We all lie, so let’s just clear that one out of the way so we can respond to the prompt. The Bible, in Jeremiah 17:9, says that the human heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.  Can’t get around that.

What is important to me is the context in that verse, which makes deceit and wickedness clearly connected. To deliberately lie with the intent of deceiving others for nefarious purposes is wicked. To lie to avoid punishment is wicked. To lie to make someone else look bad is wicked. To lie when one is in a place of power, in order to pass one’s pet legislation, is wicked. To lie in order to impose one’s own will against the express will of others is wicked.

Do you see where I’m going here?

Now, let’s change the setting a bit.

My mom was living out her last month of life. Most of us were fairly certain that the doors of heaven were about to open to receive her, and we were as ready for that as anyone can ever be.  She’d been ailing, in great pain, for way too long.

This was Mom's last birthday on earth, her 87th.  I wish the lighting in this snapshot was better so you could see her wonderful smile.
This was Mom’s last birthday on earth, her 87th. I wish the lighting in this snapshot was better so you could see her wonderful smile.

Mom was always a bit vain. She  needed Dad, for instance, to compliment her often on her appearance, and when he died over 20 years before she did, she lost her main source of encouragement in that regard. So she would ask other family members, “Do I look all right?  Do you like my hair this way?  Is this outfit a good style for me?”

I didn’t always tell her the truth. She was visiting in our home for a month or so, and there were a couple of things she wore that I felt were very unflattering. But when she had finished dressing and came out for her inspection, I always found a way to compliment her—because she needed it. I would have been cruel to tell her, “No, that’s not a good color for you any more because you’ve changed. Your hair is almost completely white now, and you need more color.”  No way, not me, not on your life.

And I don’t believe it was wrong to lie.

Just before she died, we got permission to take her out of the nursing home to a Fourth of July gathering. Her hair had grown too long, and hadn’t been set or styled.  I brushed it for her, trying to keep it under some sort of control, but her hair was soft and fly-away, and I could see that it wasn’t going to cooperate. So I told her she looked just great, and everyone would be so glad to see her that her hair was the least of her concerns.  She had a wonderful time. My son and I started singing, and soon my sister joined in, and then most of the other 30+ people who were there. We sang all the old hymns she loved, and whenever I glanced up at her from my seat at the piano, she was glowing. She’d forgotten about her appearance in the joy of being with friends and family who loved her.

A little less than two weeks later, she was gone. She looks perfect now, and I really don’t think she bothers to think about it at all.