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|03-16-2012, 07:26 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In the South
a short story by: Noni
Matthew Ch. 17, v.20 The Mustard Seed
As I’ve said before, growing up in a rural Baptist Church, I took things quite literally. Still to this day I can’t say as I fully understand Matthew Ch. 17, v. 20, so if anyone can explain it to me, I’d appreciate it. The sermon one Sunday was on “faith” (or lack thereof), and the preacher declared that if any one of us had as much faith as a mustard seed, we could say to that mountain (and he pointed out the church window to the mountain) “MOVE!” and it would indeed be moved. I was probably around 5 years old, not yet in first grade. It was in the fall because the leaves were turning.
That troubled me a good bit because I started worrying that the church-goers were going to start moving the mountains around. (Being an “only child” for the first 12 years of my life, I was the “worrying type” they said). After church I asked my Granddad if he had any mustard seeds. He didn’t, as he planted other things. I asked my Grandma if Mr. Cooper next door had any mustard seeds. Since she was at church, she knew right away what was on my mind. She told me probably not, but said they were teeny-tiny even smaller than radish seeds. We talked about the sermon, and my own Grandma assured me it was true that if a person had as much faith as a mustard seed, they could move a mountain, because her Granddaddy Barnes had told her so. After all the women were busy in the kitchen, I asked my Granddad about the mustard seed-moving mountains situation, and he very frankly replied that he’d never seen it done. Still, it was troubling, because I liked the mountains right where they were.
Fall turned to winter, many sermons came and went, and before I knew it, Christmas was upon us. A new store had opened on Main Street, called Johnson’s Bible Book Store. Yes, we really had a “Main Street” and it’s still there to this day, although Johnson’s Bible Book Store closed long ago. But Johnson’s sold more than Bible’s and books, they sold all kinds of other religious type gifts, and that was the place to shop for Christmas that year.
At the ripe old age of 5, I already knew there was no Santa. I don’t know how I knew, it was simply intuitive, and the concept of “Santa” did not make sense. And also I “knew” almost every present I was getting for Christmas. Except that year, there was a small, square box, professionally wrapped, with a tiny bow. I was clueless. Our family put the presents under the tree as soon as they were wrapped – no sense waiting since I didn’t believe in a Santa, so they tortured me with the waiting instead. I was tempted to sneak and open it when no one was around, but knew that would be a sin, so I waited. And waited. And waited. Our family tradition was to open all the presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Morning (again, since there was no Santa to come, that way my parents could sleep in, I later figured out.) So Christmas Eve, my grandparents came to our house and gathered around to watch me open the presents. I saved the small unknown one for last, savoring the mystery. Finally I picked it up. It was very light. Maybe a birthstone ring? I carefully peeled the paper off, and the top of the box said, “Johnson’s”. Huh? What on earth. Maybe a penny with the whole Bible written on it that you had to look through a microscope to read it? I gently lifted the lid, and to my utter shock was a round, magnifying-crystal encased mustard seed on a gold chain!!! For a few seconds I couldn’t breathe. A mustard seed! I simply sat and stared at it. My Grandma reminded me that that was all the faith I needed to move a mountain (like I’d have forgotten that one!). It was as if someone had placed the Holy Grail in my very hands. I was so nervous my Grandma had to take it out of the box for me and put it on me. It felt unnaturally holy.
We finished up with the Christmas Eve, then Christmas Day was all family gathering, food and such. Yet all the while I kept studying that mustard seed. I observed its size and tried to picture in my mind “faith” being that size. Now mind you, I was 5 years old. All this time, from the second I laid eyes on my gift, I knew what I had to do. But not yet. Days passed, then weeks. I always wore my mustard seed necklace but always took it off at night to look at it so I could really see the exact measure of faith I needed. It was a lot of work.
Finally the cold weather let up, the March winds had pretty much quieted, and the Easter flowers were blooming. Spring had sprung. Back then kids were free to roam around, and we were safe. So I figured now was as good a time as any. My parents had gone to work, my Granddad was also still working at the time, and I stayed with my Grandma during the day. I took a walk up through the cow pasture, along the “Hollow Road”, heading up towards the ridge where my Granddad and I had walked before to go hunting. Nobody lived up on top of the ridge, so that would work. I tried to read Matthew 17: 20 but since I couldn’t yet read, I only made out a few words of it. I had some questions, but there was nobody I could ask, so I decided I’d figure it out for myself. The main question was, “Should you be on the mountain when you move it, or not?” I figured it would be best not to be on it, but to be out of its way. The next question was, “Where should I move it to?” And “Will I get in trouble for moving this mountain?” My answers to those two questions was to worry about all that later, just get on with it.
Finally I got to the foot of the ridge. (For those of you who don’t know what a “ridge” is, it’s the equivalent of a small mountain. Bigger than a hill, but not as big as say, the “Blue Ridge Mountains”. However, this all took place in NC, within part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. ) I made sure I was close enough to the mountain, but far enough to not get in its way. I trusted that God would decide where to put the mountain when it moved. I held the mustard seed necklace in my little hand, closed my eyes, said a prayer, pictured the size of faith I needed, and when I felt I had summoned up that much, I said to the mountain, “Move”. Silence. So I waited. And I repeated the procedure. Nothing. The mountain just sat there. Undaunted, I tried again, visualizing my faith, and the mountain sliding over, and said, “Move!” But it remained steadfast, in place. Back at Grandma’s, when asked where I’d been, “Nowhere”, I said, and went on about my day.
Over the years, the tiny gold chain broke but I still have the magnifying-crystal encased mustard seed. And I still find myself saying to various facsimiles of mountains, “Move!” Some do and some don’t but I keep trying. For me that day at the ridge was an experiment that I needed to try. It did not weaken my young faith that the mountain was stubborn, it simply gave me life experience from which to build and grow.
One day I will share this story with my little granddaughter, and I will give her a magnifying-crystal encased mustard seed on a small gold chain.
|03-16-2012, 05:20 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Land of Cotton
Blog Entries: 16
Oh, I LOVED this story.... not only because it is so sweet....but because I remember a friend that had a mustard seed necklace and I always loved it and what it represented. I was maybe 8 or 9 at the time.
Please post more of your writing when you can.
Thank you for sharing it. (((hugs)))
Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.
|03-16-2012, 08:18 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: In the South
thank you tjp. I have another one about my son, that isn't so light-hearted. In fact it's just the opposite, rather dark. But I think this forum is a good place for it, a place for the light and the darkness. All my "stories" are 100% true, btw. I figure there's no way any fiction I could invent could come close to the realities I've lived .
|03-17-2012, 08:47 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: ohio usa
thank you so much, for this wonderful story. how beautifully written. what a lesson I got from this. that sometimes, even with faith, there is a stubborn problem. doesn't mean it will never "move", but patience may be needed, along with our faith.
you were blessed to have such family. May yours be healed, very soon. Prayers , and hugs
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