Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hearing and telling

Romans 10:16-18 'But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our message?" Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: "Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world."

September 23, 1998 I had a baby girl. Brennan-Fiona was born to very happy parents that day! My dad had come up to the hospital a few hours earlier and waited, sometimes alone, sometimes with John and I in the delivery room and some of the time he and John just sat in the waiting room together. John tells me that Dad retold the legend of the day I was born. The story goes that while my dad was in the waiting room with the other dads for news of his wife and child, a poker game got started. Evidently, when the nurse came out to tell dad that he had a new baby girl (me) he told her to hang on a minute, he was playing a good hand!

There was no one to start a game of poker with the day Brennan was born, so moments after she was in my arms, Dad came into the delivery room...he had never seen such a new baby. I can still see him standing next to my bed, with his newspaper tucked under his arm. It was so natural to see him that way, evidence of years and years of commuting into the city for work everyday with something to read. Reading for Edward Brennan would a life long accomplishment.

I often think on Dad while I am teaching my son, Jack. Jack is a struggling reader...dyslexic actually. He works very hard for me, sometimes. But it has been a rough road for us and some days it is like pulling teeth, for both of us.
While my dad did attend school, St. Rosalyma--if you are from Brooklyn, but St. Rose of Lima if you are from anywhere else, he was a struggling reader too. He skipped the third grade, not as in getting to go to the fourth, as in he cut for a year and no one noticed because there were so many Brennan's in the school anyway! Somewhere around that time, he decided he was going to read. He wanted to read the sports section. This was during WWII, early in the war. It was soon after Sea Biscuit was all the rage and the Brooklyn Dodgers were his beloved. I am not sure if his family had a radio or not. The only way he could find out about his passion was if he could read the sports section of the paper. So read it he did.
I don't think I gave a lot of thought to that accomplishment until I was teaching my own son. Have you any idea how amazing it is that a child taught himself to read? I have no doubt he was probably dyslexic as well, which makes the accomplishment even more amazing. Dad had no curriculum to work from, no teacher to encourage him, no one to give him tips on remembering one word from another. Yet, he did learn to read and read he did, everyday as long as I can remember. He often still used his finger to follow the lines in the paper and he rarely wrote notes to anyone but he was somewhat successful, not because he was a scholar, but because of his work ethic. How different from the world we live in today.
On the days that Jack and I are most frustrated with each other over reading, I remember Ed Brennan and his accomplishments. He learned to read because of his work ethic, not because his mom sat with him, she was the mother of ten, and not well....not because his dad sat with him, he was the father of ten, and not around much...not because there was a team of special ed. teachers, just an Irish Christian Brother with the Board of, he had grit and the determination to prove everyone wrong. Grit is way harder to teach, than reading.

How about you?
Are you amazed at something your folks accomplished in a time with out computers, experts, and options? Do you wonder how you can get something done even with all the advantages? Have you prayed about how to get that grit generations before us seemed to have? Why or why not? What can you do, today, to accomplish as much?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus we pray. The Good News was spread for centuries with no computer, no phones, no air planes, no cars, just The Word, written or memorized. Remind us that success in the Heavens is very different than success according to the world we live in. Give us words to speak, hands to praise, feet to run to spread the good news. I pray today, we would remember the greatest commandment and the great commission. Give us that grit we often seem to miss out on, give us your boldness to go into all the world, to use the tools at our disposal, be it electronic or the old fashioned way, regardless, prompt us towards love. Your Word tells us that faith comes from hearing, let us us hear You this day and always. Amen.

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