There have been some negative comments about expressions of faith on this Opinion Page. Perhaps there are some who feel that faith is no basis for forming one's opinion.
I counter with the stance that it is impossible for those of true faith to form an opinion without factoring in one's religion.
I do not apologize for who or what I am - a Christian woman who also is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and, yes, a newspaper editor. However, I know I am not perfect and do not hold myself above others. I don't make it to church as often as I should, and I falter in life.
I also struggle with what I should write and share in this space each week. I was not expecting the guest column below from The Rev. John Bateman. I had planned my column topic earlier in the week, and questioned whether I should change what I was going to write based upon the fact Father Bateman has written about religion in politics.
In the end, I?decided against holding my column topic and chose to share with you a story I received via e-mail and had planned for this space. It was forwarded to me by Bill Dippery, director of the Mifflin County Veterans Affairs Office.
I will warn you that there is a prayer at the end of the story. If you don't want to read a prayer, then please stop here. For those of you who could use some words of inspiration, I?encourage you to read on.
The story, titled "Wet Pants" goes like this:
Come with me to a third grade classroom. There is a 9-year-old kid sitting at his desk, and all of a sudden, there is a puddle between his feet and the front of his pants are wet. He thinks his heart is going to stop because he cannot possibly imagine how this has happened. It's never happened before, and he knows that when the boys find out he will never hear the end of it. When the girls find out, they'll never speak to him again as long as he lives.
The boy believes his heart is going to stop; he puts his head down and prays this prayer, "Dear God, this is an emergency! I need help now! Five minutes from now I'm dead meat."
He looks up from his prayer and here comes the teacher with a look in her eyes that says she has discovered (his predicament). As the teacher is walking toward him, a classmate named Susie is carrying a goldfish bowl that is filled with water. Susie trips in front of the teacher and inexplicably dumps the bowl of water in the boy's lap.
The boy pretends to be angry, but all the while is saying to himself, "Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Lord!"
Now all of a sudden, instead of being the object of ridicule, the boy is the object of sympathy. The teacher rushes him downstairs and gives him gym shorts to put on while his pants dry out. All the other children are on their hands and knees cleaning up around his desk. The sympathy is wonderful. But as life would have it, the ridicule that should have been his has been transferred to someone else - Susie.
She tries to help, but they tell her to get out. "You've done enough, you klutz!"
Finally, at the end of the day, as they are waiting for the bus, the boy walks over to Susie and whispers, "You did that on purpose, didn't you?"
Susie whispers back, "I wet my pants once, too."
May God help us see the opportunities that are around us to do good. We just have to decide whether we want to risk ridicule - like me writing this column - to do God's work.
I chose to do that today, by sharing this prayer with you, my dear readers. May it provide comfort during these uncertain economic times, as we ponder what course this election will take and as we struggle to handle the many facets of our lives.
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Where there is need, I ask you to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. Amen.
I may never have wet my pants as a child, but there were many times when a "Susie," by the grace of God, came into my life and dumped a fish bowl of water on my lap. May we all have the courage to help when we can and the wisdom to accept it when offered. That is how we can rebuild America - one fish bowl of water at a time, for the well of faith never is dry.
Heather Goodwin Henline is managing editor of The Sentinel. She may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.