THE GOOD HUMOR TRUCK

Good Humor TruckTaste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

 

My husband and I recently watched one of his favorite programs, the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction. I usually sort of half-watch the program, just to see the amazing vehicles that pass over the auction block. But suddenly, there it was: an antique Good Humor truck, and  I was five years old again. I clearly remembered my mother’s instructions as I clutched the nickel in my tiny hand: “You can get ice cream only if you don’t cross the street!” My skinny legs propelled me as fast as I could run, but the truck was turning the corner, and suddenly…I would have to cross the street to get to it! Ignoring my mother’s warning, I carefully looked both ways and ran across to get my ice cream. I came back the same way, but I never told my mother. That ice cream didn’t taste as good as I thought it would because I had not only disobeyed her but neglected to tell her of my actions.

 

Back to the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction, that antique truck sold for $170,000 that night. That’s a whole lot of nickel ice cream treats! I looked at the website, GoodHumorTrucks.com, and enjoyed more happy memories of the white-clad man with the police-style hat and the coin changer on his belt climbing down from the truck cab. Not all of us had Good Humor trucks, but we all remember the ice cream vendors of the day and how they drove around our neighborhoods on summer afternoons with their bells jingling. The memories of the latch on the freezer door opening and those ice cream treats being handed around can take us baby boomers instantly back to our childhood.

 

People say that times are different now, and neighborhoods are not the close-knit, safe places they used to be. Community can mean many different things to all the diverse people in society, yet we can share our own good values and memories with all we come in contact with. Children trust adults who interact with them, whether they bring ice cream or play games or just talk about their own experiences. We can all be “good humor” people with whomever we meet.

 

Lord, let us share ice cream, games, experiences and Your love. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

STREET MUSIC

Vijay Gupta Street SymphontFrom palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. Psalm 45:8

 

Quick! What does a child prodigy who enrolled at the Julliard Music School’s pre-college program by age seven have in common with homeless people on the trashed-up, tent-strewn sidewalks of Los Angeles’ skid row? The answer is humanity. Virtuoso violinist Vijay Gupta is an L.A. Philharmonic musician and social justice advocate whose nonprofit Street Symphony has been performing free concerts for Los Angeles’ homeless and in county jails since 2011. In the shadow of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Gupta’s Street Symphony performers and special guest artists bring exquisite music to the ears of the most unlikely recipients. Gupta says, “The role of the artist in today’s world is not only to heal and inspire, but to disrupt and provoke.”

 

What would motivate this celebrated musician to attempt such a profound offering of his talent and the talent of his fellow performers? Some might say this is throwing pearls before swine. Gupta would tell you that he, too, is broken, just like the homeless audience he serves. The child of Indian immigrants, Gupta’s parents worked hard to provide their two sons with music lessons. But Gupta told the Los Angeles Times that he paid a price of “pain and isolation….in windowless practice rooms for hours…,” describing his home life as “abusive…physically, psychologically and emotionally.” The sadness he carries from his childhood provides a special bond between him and the homeless people he serves. He sees the arts as a way to “disrupt” the cycle of poverty and provide hope for those on the margins of society. By the popularity of his program, I would say the homeless agree.

 

What obligation do we as Christians have to meet the marginalized, the outcasts where they are and offer them hope in any form? Jesus would say that is part of His main message: to first love our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and then love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:38). Vijay Gupta has sacrificed much time and energy to become one of the best violinists in today’s world, but it is his own struggle to love himself through his personal pain that makes him reach out to those less fortunate than him.

 

Lord of Love, grant that we may show our love for others through our accomplishments and our pain. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

CHOOSE THIS DAY

 

lilytomlinBut if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

 

Comedienne Lily Tomlin once said, “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I see I should have been more specific.” This quote has special meaning for me, since I spent the first third of my life wishing and hoping for all the wrong things. I was not raised in a practicing Christian home. We were “Two Timers,” or “C and E’s,” attending services only twice a year on Christmas Eve and Easter Sunday. I had no real value structure to emulate, having watched my alcoholic mother say one thing and do quite another. My military father was largely absent, putting in “flying hours” with the Air Force during the long and uncertain years of the “Cold War” (happening in the world and in our living room). My sister and I were left to fend for ourselves until she went off to college and got married, and the “fending” became mine alone to navigate. As a young adult, I stared down the barrel of a very real, very loaded gun wielded by a stranger-rapist and survived—but not unscathed. I married incorrectly and floundered through two decades and two children before barely escaping with my sanity and my new-found faith in Christ.

 

The soul-searching years that followed made me wiser but never perfect. That’s what God’s grace was for. Positive influence and example came from good people I met, hours spent studying the Bible, a drastic improvement in my choice of a life partner, and quotes from everywhere including Lily Tomlin. Yes, I had wanted to “be somebody,” but until I began to pay attention to what God wanted, I hadn’t indeed been very “specific.”

 

When I first read the above passage from Isaiah, I finally understood that it was my choice to follow a God Who would never leave me nor forsake me and never expect more from me than He would provide the strength for me to carry out. I have clung to that choice, not as one floundering but as a blessed child of a God Who loves me unconditionally.

 

Precious Lord, be specific and direct with me about who You want me to be, through Your Word and Your love. Amen

SERVING WELL

He will not shout or cry out or raise His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; He will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth. Isaiah 42:2-4

 

I recently looked at my notes in a Bible study some of our church members completed last year. The lesson was based on the passage called “The Suffering Servant,” where the prophet Isaiah foretells the coming of Christ several hundred years before His arrival. In reflecting on Christ’s service to mankind, I wrote, “These days, I am not strong enough to serve God as I wish I still could. I regret deeply that I did not do more for Him before it was too late. I am reduced—and elevated—to writing. Praise Him that I am still able to do that!”

 

Time marches on. I will not bore the reader with all my “ailments of aging.” Suffice it to say, I’ve had my share. When I was strong and working full time, I thought, When I retire, I will do more for the church. Retirement came, along with physical limitations I never expected to occur. To quote an old phrase, “Life is hard, but God is good.” Shortly before I retired, I was blessed to take a paid sabbatical to write a memoir about growing up in an alcoholic family and surviving a brutal sexual assault. It is a story of sorrow, but also of healing, and I discovered I could write. What a comfort to me now, to be able to continue to hold up my Lord and Savior by writing about all He has done for me and for others.

 

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” When I read the words of Isaiah 42:4, that God “will not falter or be discouraged till He establishes justice on earth,” I know that as long as I am able, I will still serve God by writing. No matter what happens in our lives, no matter what ravages our physical bodies, our spirits can still soar in unique ways with God as our guide.

 

Servant Lord, thank You for giving us endless ways to serve You, even when we think we can’t. Amen

 

Both candid and humorous, insightful and ponderous, Meg Blaine Corrigan’s memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, takes the reader through her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother and enabling father to a violent assault that nearly ended her life. She populates her tale with vivid descriptions of her parents, other influential adults, the attacker, and her disastrous first marriage. But this story has a happy ending, when Meg finds solace in a God she didn’t think she’d ever believe in, when He gently helps her heal from her past lives and move into the best times of her life. Meg has also written a novel, Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, about said first marriage, as well as a Christian devotional, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, comprised of blogs from this site. Stay tuned for sequels to her last two books! All of her works may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .