After that ruckus between Jon and Belva I determined to learn how people might be led to get along with each other. This morning I still thought it was a good idea, but that was before I woke up. When I finally pried my eyes open, my brain woke up and told me to forget it. People don’t change, it told me, not old people like me and my playmates here in Fort Forget Me.

But if I am not determined I am not Maudie. So I sat me down in my Thinking Chair and planned. 1. I’d explain what they did wrong. 2. Tell them what to do instead. 3. They’d do it.

Simple. I tried but before I finished point one, they turned on me. Suddenly it was the two of them against nice little old me whose only crime was to try to make their life better. Good grief!

I fled to my bed! I was hungry all night. Skipping meals will do that. Hiding out because of embarrassment doesn’t help, either. I tried counting sheep; I tried counting my tossings and turnings. Nothing worked. I opened my Bible to where I had left off, at the end Matthew 6, which speaks of treasures in heaven and no need to worry. Just what I needed; sleep came at last. That was yesterday and this is a new day. I would read and pray.

I began Matthew 7. Whoa! Where did the comfort go? “ Don’t ignore the wooden plank in your eye, while you criticize the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eyelashes. That type of criticism and judgment is a sham!” (vss. 4-5). Owee! Was Matthew spying on me? I gave that up and opened a devotional book.

That seemed worse! It was about what it cost Jesus and the Father for Jesus to take on the burden—the guilt and shame—of all of us. I finally realized. And I cried and cried, harder than I had cried since I saw the movie, “The Passion of Christ,” which is about the same subject. Oh my goodness! Shocking! How wrapped up in petty judgement I’d been. And bossy like I had criticized Belva for being.

Then I cried some more, only now it was tears of repentance. I felt Jesus’ comforting presence hugging me, so I cried about that but this time they were happy tears! Jesus does love me. Little old me who has been so critical of so many for so long. Finally (I think) I have done what so many articles and books have told me to do—just as heard in an old gospel song:

Leave your heavy burden at the cross, And go free, O sinner go free; Leave your heavy burden at the cross, At the cross of Calvary. Jesus is waiting now to welcome you there; He wants to save you and to take all your care;

Leave your heavy burden at the cross, And go free, O sinner go free.

I knew I was saved but I hadn’t been free. Now I had let go of baggage that only hurt me. It was good to be rid of it. Feeling free, I got up, fixed my face, and went out to meet the world. I knew the world was the same, but me and my plan were not. I would stay close to the cross.

Conversation Starters:

1. When Maudie tried to help Jon and Belva become friends, she had good intentions. When they didn’t do what she wanted them to do she felt rejected and angry. Have you been rejected by someone you were trying to help? What did you do?

2. Maudie learned about giving her problems to Jesus. She discovered that she could give Jesus the problem and that Jesus would give her peace. Have you ever made that trade?

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