Thursday, December 29, 2011

From the Wrong Side of the Tracks . . .

John 7:52
They replied, "Surely, you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee."

The year is 1967. My father, who teaches at a university in Georgia, has an opportunity for a year's sabbatical. He chooses to study at Harvard where we can be close to our relatives who all reside in Massachusetts.

My brother and I are beside ourselves with excitement. Just imagine! A whole year with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

What could be better?

Then, it hits . . .

I have to leave my friends. My school. My home.

I'll have to make new friends. Attend a new school. Adjust to a new home.

The unknown is daunting. Especially, the prospect of school.

The day my mom takes me to the overwhelmingly sprawling junior high to register, my stomach has more knots than a boy scout knows how to tie.

As we enter the front office and Mom states our business, the secretary gives us a pleasant welcome and summons one of the counselors to help us.

A youthful, blonde woman with an engaging smile bounces into the office. After introducing herself as Mrs. McCormick, she assures us that the school will be delighted to have me this year.

I'm beginning to feel a wee bit better about the whole situation.

Then, Mom hands the counselor my transcript.

My Georgia transcript . . .

The winsome smile fades from the face of Mrs. McCormick. Her brow is knit with consternation.

After perusing it for what seems an eternity, she forces a smile. A condescending smile.

"All 'As", I see," she says, shooting a haughty glance in my direction. "But, advanced classes? I'm sorry, Mrs. Murdy. It is a well-known fact that Georgia schools, in fact, any schools in the south, are far inferior to those in New England. Frankly, I don't think your daughter can handle our advanced courses. You'll just be setting her up for failure."

What my Mom does next is nothing short of heroic.

"Mrs. McCormick," she begins, "I was born and raised in Massachusetts. I have lived in Atlanta, Georgia for nine years. I have yet to be disappointed in my daughter's curriculum or the quality and ability of her teachers. Your judgment of schools in the south is simply unfounded. My daughter will be placed in your advanced classes. If she fails, which she won't, the blame will rest with me, with her, not you."

I am silently applauding my Mom and turning cartwheels of joy in my heart.

Mrs. McCormick glares.

Mom stands her ground.

"Oh, alright then, Mrs. Murdy, if you insist, but please don't say you weren't warned. Our curriculum is one of the toughest in the nation. We hold extremely high expectations."

"So do I," Mom declares, then points to me. "And, so does she."

How does it all turn out by the end of the school year?

Suffice it to say, this girl perceived as a "Georgia Leech" is hailed by her teachers as a "Georgia Peach".

I earn all "A's" . . .
In every culture throughout history, prejudice is practiced by one group against another. Today's verse finds the aristocratic Pharisees of Jerusalem dismissing the peasantry of Galilee as incapable of producing anyone of worth, let alone a prophet.

Ensconced firmly in their misconstrued beliefs, they cannot see Jesus for who He truly is.

Deaf to His words.

Blind to His truth.

Dead to salvation.

Because, nothing good ever comes from the wrong side of the tracks . . .

Are your preconceived notions of other people keeping your from loving them as Christ loves?

Will you pray with me?
We are all, Father, subject to the prejudices and notions of the times in which we live. Help us to look beyond these. Give us the wisdom to see as You see, to hear as You hear, to love as You love. Make us ever mindful that judgment is in your hands alone. Amen.

Psalms 18:1-20 or 18:21-50
Isaiah 12:1-6
Revelation 1:1-8
John 7:37-52


  1. Build upon strengths, and weaknesses will gradually take care of themselves....Which will show the right path..God has put something noble and good into every heart his hand has created. So while living on earth we must always remember to learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for tomorrow because time will only show what has mattered throughout our journey....Wonderful post Martha.

  2. Never heard that story before - cool

  3. Martha, I always enjoy how you incorporate true life experiences with versus from the Bible. What a wonderful story to share with us :)

  4. Brilliant story and Yes Mary she has a knock of turning a life event into an inspiration.... You go martha!

  5. Thank you Alpana, Danny, Mary, and Savira for stopping by today. Your comments are wonderful!
    @Alpana - I agree we must build on the strengths God has given to us; they will keep us on the right path of trying to do His will in all things.
    @Danny - I still have a few tricks up my sleeve . . .:)
    @Mary - Thank you! So gratified to know you like the stories. It's not always possible to write this way, but I try as often as I can.
    @Savira - Thank you for your kind, encouraging words! They mean so much!

    Blessings to you all!!!

  6. Wonderful story and Bravo for your Mom! Alot of parents would have folded to those in charge and let them decide where you would be placed. Because they have a degree doesn't mean they know more then you on all matters in life.Your Mom knows YOU and what you a capable of and she showed her faith in you. Basing their thoughts on what they THINK is fact shows just how wrong preconcived notions can be. Nobody should be judged as a part of any group.We are all Gods children and should be seen as THAT!, then we are all the same. Love your work Martha....Gina

  7. I do like how you weave life into the daily devotion theme and pull it all together so eloquently. It's a story we can sink our teeth into and come to the end with something to take away. Lovely.

  8. Wonderful story, I love the way you right them as well.

  9. Thank you, Gina, Brenda, and Jan for taking time to stop by today!
    @Gina - I don't think I've ever been more proud of my Mom as on that day. :) And, yes, we ARE all God's children and should be treated in that way at all times! Thank you for the kind compliments!
    @Brenda - Thank you for your lovely, encouraging words. I'm glad you can "sink your teeth" into the story and enjoy the lesson that goes with it!
    @Jan - So happy to know you enjoyed the story and so glad for your support and encouragement!

    Blessings to all!

  10. Such a great story of love and the courage of conviction, Martha. And of course, you have a knack of weaving a reflection out of it! ♥

  11. Enjoyed reading your story, thanks for sharing.

  12. Thanks so much, Corinne and Sulekkha, for dropping in today and for your kind words of encouragement.
    @Corinne - I do try for the stories; not always possible, but I love it when it works!
    @Sulekkha - So glad you enjoyed this one. It is my pleasure, always, to share!
    Blessings to you both in the new year!

  13. an absolutely wonderful story...I think there is no greater compliment to ones character than that of someone who 'believes' and stands up for what they believe in! Thank you for sharing...

  14. Hi, Amy!
    I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Yes, it is so wonderful when someone puts their faith and trust in you and what you can do. My mom was a very firm foundation here! :)
    Blessings to you in the new year!

  15. Kudos to your wonderful Mom for standing up to the bullying and condescending attitude she was greeted with! My own Mom fought a similar battle for me more than once during my elementary education years. I sometimes think that some people go into the teaching world to have free license to be abusive, which is very sad and frustrating. Children deserve to be given the same respect that those same children give to adults, particularly in the education arena. I'm glad to see that your own journey was triumphant. So was mine, and I hold that victory in large part due to my Mom's wonderful spirit. :)



  16. Hi, Dawn! Thanks so much for stopping by today!
    I was a teacher for many years; and, yes, it's sad and frustrating to see that attitude expressed by your peers. On the flip side, there are many caring, loving counselors and teachers who really want the best for the kids and the parents. Respect for them and for one another as fellow educators makes it happen. Unfortunately, the incidences of condescension continue - I really think it well up from insecurity within themselves.
    Glad your mom went to bat for you, too! Aren't moms the best?

    Blessings for the new year, my friend!


I'll Be There For You

  Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they...