Perfectly Obedient

Children are taught to be obedient at the earliest possible age.   If they aren’t, there is usually a penalty.

The importance of obedience, to me, was embodied in a performance I once observed of a professional knife thrower.

“Don’t move a muscle.  Don’t even breathe,” the professional knife thrower said to his partner so the audience could hear.  First he threw the knives at the board where she was strapped and carefully positioned while the wheel was still and he could see. Then, he collected his knives, was blindfolded and staff members started the wheel spinning.  He called to his partner and, once again, said, “Don’t move.”  He proceeded to throw the knives, one by one, at the spinning board.  One knife came so close to her that the audience gasped.  She indicated to the audience that she was fine.

Did they know the hours of practice that went into that short performance?  Did they know the trust between the two had to be unflinching?  And the timing exact. Did they recognize how obedient his partner had to be to not move a muscle?  A move of any kind could have caused her serious harm.

When I was very small, I was not as obedient as this man’s partner. I did not like to be told what to do.  One day, the lesson of obedience was brought home to me in a very frightening way.

I had been told not to play in the car. But, I did not obey. I used to like to pretend I was driving; open and close the doors; lock and unlock them; roll and unroll the windows (yes, we had to manually roll them).

This particular day, Mother needed to go to the store and wanted me to go with her.  She did not know I had been playing in the car.

I climbed in and sat in the front seat (no seatbelts and no automatic locks).  As we were pulling out onto a busy highway, the car door I was leaning on fell open and I tumbled onto the highway.  Evidently I had neglected to close the car door properly. I was knocked unconscious when my head hit the pavement.  My mother slammed on the brakes and ran around to check on me.  She said that her rear wheel had stopped an inch from my head. She said she prayed.  She piled me back into the car and quickly drove home to care for me.

I do not know exactly how she prayed or what she thought.  She simply said, “I prayed.”  She was a student of the Bible and had been turning to God for healing as taught by Jesus and practiced in Christian Science. Through many years she had learned to trust God with the well being of her family.

Since she always called me God’s perfect child, and told me I was perfectly obedient quite often, I can only assume she thought this about me then.  The following hymn she loved to sing all the time, and I bet she was singing it in her heart, if not, out loud.

“Everlasting arms of Love are beneath, around, above;

God it is who bears us on, His the arm we lean upon.

He our everpresent guide faithful is, whate’er betide;

Gladly then we journey on, with His arm to lean upon.

From earth’s fears and vain alarms safe in His encircling arms,

He will keep us all the way, God, our refuge, strength and stay.”  (1)

 

With this mother-love around me, I woke up with no repercussions.

As a result of this experience, I was more obedient.  I paid closer attention to the Commandments given to us by Moses in the Book of Exodus in the Bible — especially “Honor thy father and thy mother.” (2)

I have learned that obedience and love go hand-in-hand and that obedience and honesty also go together.  I realized we couldn’t have one without the other two.  We need to show obedience couched in love and honesty — not just for our human parents, but for everyone in our families, in our business dealings, in all our daily activities.

(1)    Hymn # 53 in the Christian Science Hymnal

(2)    Exodus 20:1-17 (Commandments)

circus photo downloaded from flickr.com by craigleaf123

car interior downloaded from flickr.com by serdir

 

Kate is a Christian Science practitioner and the legislative, media and public contact for Christian Science in the State of Maryland.