I’ll admit to a geeky period in childhood when Alfred E. Neumann and Mad Magazine captured my affections. I loved “Spy vs. Spy” and how the back page could be folded to answer a summary question about the whole back page picture. Most of all, I was curious about the pie-faced kid known as Alfred E. Not a care in the world.
That wasn’t my world (probably why it captivated me). Mine was rife with chaos and turbulence. We weren’t known as latch-key kids back then but we pretty much raised ourselves in those days; my sis, brother and me. I was not exactly the paragon of older brother virtue.
When my dad was around it was full of booze-laden vitriol and kids walking on eggshells. When he was gone, my mom took up the drinking. She was a sad drunk and wanted syrupy sweet crying sessions about everything.
Professionals will now tell you that is the seedbed for enablers. As the oldest I began to fix everything. I had a duty and that was to control the environment and keep everything on task. I attacked school and boy scouts with a passion, not for the experience but as a way of working myself into deservability.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s character Goodman Brown said; “the devil in his own shape is less hideous than when he rages in the breast of man”. It’s that precise unholy alliance that produces insecurity, worry, self-interested preservation; just about every vice there is in establishing identity.
Psalm 131 is an invitation to a fully developed sense of self and identity. It is a grace-filled invitation to return to the partnership that was originally intended. Whether we end up looking like Alfred E or the Pillsbury doughboy, it doesn’t matter nearly so much as what the Lord of heaven has put in your heart. That is a beautiful personage.