As I sat in the living room area, on my comfortable rocking chair, the thought “A Pendulum swings” came and lingered in my mind. I recall speaking out load, but really to myself, “this sounds like a topic to write about”. However, I wasn’t fully understanding the why concerning the Pendulum. Days later, the thought came to my recollection about this beautiful grandfather clock that I used to own and I fondly remembered my appreciation for its beauty and how it decorated my high rise New York apartment long ago. A sort of melancholy came over me as I went back to that day and memories began to stream across my mind flooding my thoughts. Memories long forgotten and yet, still had the capability to bring tears to my eyes. Not all bad but not all good. Yet the one memory I could not erase, was the one which in a moment of despair had led me to rid myself of my Grandfather clock.
My father was living with us at the time. He had suffered what was then termed a cardio vascular accident which today is called a stroke-while residing in Puerto Rico-during hurricane Hugo. This disaster not only caused the destruction of his house, but also brought with it the onset of dementia among other medical complications. Suddenly, all the beautiful memories of my father were quickly erasing from my mind. I no longer heard his prayers early in the morning. Something had changed in my father. He was confused in his mind, unable to put thoughts in perspective, hold a conversation or laugh, as I recalled. My father had gone from a praying man to what I perceived as an angry man through no will of his own. Unable to understand his illness, I confused his involuntary and irrational behavior as anger. A behavior produced in my father due to an inability to sort out what was happening in his mind. I remembered hearing someone say that people with “dementia become what they always were”. This statement implied that my father had been an angry person throughout his life span, my youth and adulthood years. No! I would and could not accept that. Not of my father and certainly not when I recalled the countless nights I woke to see my beloved father standing over me or at the window Sile, with hands lifted high calling God in prayer on my behalf and that of the family. As far as I was concerned, that was a fallacy intended to tarnish the wonderful memories of my earthly father. Especially, when I new from scripture that,”God gives us a sound mind”.
Yet, on one normal sunny day, as my daughter and grandchild played around my beautiful Clock with its Pendulum swinging, the tall structure hit the floor. It sounded as if the ceiling had caved in. The clock barely missing my father. It all happened so quickly. I did not see the clock fall, my father could not speak to explain what had occurred and the girls were not about to tell on themselves. I looked at my father and all I could see were his eyes trying to express what had taken place. In my finite mind, I could not even remotely think that one of the girls had accidentally caused this huge structure to fall as it did. My first and only conclusion was that my father had become angry at the girls and pushed the clock to the floor. I would later discovere, that it had been my granddaughter who had (while standing on the back of the coach) put her hand behind the clock and; as she and my daughter, both six at the time, slipped to the seat of the coach, caused the clock to tilt.
At the time, however, all I could see was my clock lying on the floor. My father stood to its right and the girls to its left, as I stood in shock front and center. In a rush of anger, I wrongly assessed the situation. Thinking that my father had caused this incident, I failed to capture the bigger picture of what could have been a fatal accident, were it not for the grace of God. In retrospect, I failed to read my fathers eyes. For one moment, that I will forever regret, I forgot that my father, a man that prayed so tenderly for me as a child could have tilted that clock in anger. Regardless of what man perceived about the effects of dementia, or even in defiance to medical interpretation, I should have known that it could not have been my father. A sad memory that still lives on in my heart and mind.
In my own heat of what I can now recognize as anger, I pushed the clock into the hall to later discard. As is the case in many episodes of anger which come and are gone in an instant, so was mine. As soon as I reflected on the situation, I ran back to the hall to retrieve the clock outside my door, only to find that it was gone. Just that quick. A neighbor, I assumed, had taken my clock to decorate their home. In my fleeing moment of anger and misunderstanding, I not only judged and wrongly assessed the situation, but I threw away my prized grandfather clock which I still miss. Yet more importantly, I will forever remember the look in my father’s eyes and the impression I may have left in his heart. Though he never spoke, my actions in removing the clock, (that could have easily been repaired and the Pendulum re-calibrated) spoke volumes.
So if you’re wondering what all this has to do with my title “The Pendulum Swinging”, allow me to explain. Many times the situations we experience come our way to help us gain insight. They are designed, to help us mature, expand our thinking and take corrective measures that will improve our lives. Depending on the situation, the outcome may not necessarily go in the direction we think or even bring about immediate change.
As the Pendulum on a clock that “hangs from its fixed point allowing it to swing from one end going past its center and on to the other side”, with nerve racking, slow, yet consistent motion- aimed at “regulating the mechanism of the clock”, such are our lives. At least such was mine. Instead of focusing my attention on what could have happened, such as my father or children being crushed under the weight of that enormous heavy clock, or looking for a remedy to the situation at hand, I turned my attention to the lose of what I perceived to be my prized possession. Not recognizing, that my most valued possessions were right before me. You may wonder why such a reaction and I can only assess, in retrospect, that I allowed my emotions, pride, possibly my love for materialistic commodities, poor judgment and yes anger to cause in me a total lose of control.
The bible tells us in the book of James chapter 1 vs 19 that the Lord instructs every man, to “be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger”. Unfortunately for me, I did not have that revelation back then. Instead of being slow to anger, I was quick to react. So now that years have passed since that day. My father has gone to be with the Lord. My girls are grown, and yet the long forgotten incident returns as a reminder of that day and I find myself contemplating on what, could have been. Though many thoughts come to mind, in hind site, of course-but a reminder non the less; I cannot change the past. All I can do is reflect and seek to correct my present thus avoiding the pitfalls of the future. It is as if that Pendulum was suspended in time and now swings my way again to remind me of an incident I had long forgotten and pushed deep into my unconscious mind.
So now that I am much older and a little bit wiser, having been rescued from the ills of a Godless life, I feel the gentle touch of my Lord saying-It is time to heal and forgive yourself. The God I meet with daily in prayer, is full of love, grace, mercy and compassion. What we cannot accomplish ourselves, is quickly resolved by Him. When we can’t forgive ourselves, God gives us the grace and wisdom to accomplish it through him. I have to believe that the Lord, in His power came to softly remind me, stirring in me emotions for the sole purpose of seeking to heal and deliver me from pent up feelings and hidden shadows that only linger to keep me locked in past pain and hurts. Do I experience flairs of anger? Absolutely. The difference today is that I know a God that I can go to in prayer and His peace that by far surpasses my understanding, is always there to ease my anxiety. My God is in control and gives me access to his grace by which I can deal with life’s challenging moments.
And so, as the pendulum swung once again-stirring up memories long forgotten the Lord came in his wisdom to lovingly heal and remind me that I must be swift to hear, slow to speak and yes; much slower to anger. I have and want no other recourse but to thank my God for his wisdom, love, and understanding of me. The Lord-God is savior, teacher, friend, author and perfecter of my faith.
I dare ask, what thought patterns of behavior, inconsistencies or past memories long forgotten but haunting would your Pendulum reveal about your past? For this cause , I lovingly suggest that you allow God to take you back through the paths of your mind and reveal those broken places for healing to begin. God can and will do it for you, just as he did it for me, if you would just let him in.
If anything,” Wikipedia’s” definition above, reminds us that a pendulum swings both ways and when it goes full circle, it returns to remind us that the time has come and the hour is now. What would your Pendulum reveal?