The other night, Jeremy and I sat at our dining room table bent over individual Bible Study books. The large, old-world looking clock on the wall ticked loudly in the after-bedtime silence while we flipped pages in our Bibles and filled in answers on our worksheets. Finally, Jeremy announced, "Let's stop here for the night and discuss what we each put in our blanks."

I leaned back in my chair and stretched the muscles in my back that had been leaning forward too long. "Okay, what did you put for question one?"

He frowned, "Question one was complicated."

"Complicated?" I looked back at the question printed in my workbook. On a scale of one to ten with ten being high, rate yourself on the way you love others. "How is that complicated? You get to pick the answer, and since it's based on your opinion, you can't get it wrong!"

"They didn't give you enough information to make a good judgement," he explained. "For example, are they asking how well do I love others right now? How well I loved others in the past? How well I'm going to love others? How well do I wish I loved others?"

I glanced at the text again in puzzlement. "The verb tense implies your current love for others."

"Okay. Let's say that's what they want," he agreed, "Then they didn't describe by what standard I am measuring my love for others."

I nodded, understanding his lack of measure. "I just used my own measure. How well I think I love others by my own standard of love," I said.

"Yes, then there's the complication of what your standard of love has been influenced by," he pointed out. "If your father beat you every day, and you say 'Since I haven't beaten anyone today I must be ultra-loving,' then your standard would be different than if you got a sucker every day from your dad, and you said, 'Since I haven't given anyone a sucker today, I must be filled with hate.'"

I had to absorb his illustrations before answering, "Ah, but you see, I HAVE beaten someone today! I beat you at Sudoku! HA!" I paused trying to remember what his exact wording had been. "Wait, does that mean that I'm ultra-loving or filled with hate?"

"It means you were LUCKY!" he replied, "and I was going really slowly when I was playing anyway."

"Mmm-hmm," I winked at him, "your usual pace."

"I'm like Dash - I move so quickly that others perceive me as going slowly," he grinned at me and went back to our original discussion. "Just like the question in the book doesn't specify whether I should rate myself on how others perceive what I perceive to be loving actions."


"I might tell you not to do something because I love you, and I know that what you're choosing to do will most likely have a bad outcome, but you might perceive my instructions as un-loving because I don't want you to enjoy life."

I closed my eyes and shook my head. "Jeremy! You are making this way too complicated! The sentence says RATE YOURSELF. That would be YOUR PERCEPTION."

He re-read the sentence in his workbook. "Okay..."

I waited for his next complication, but one didn't come. "So? Do you have a number picked?"

"I'm calculating."


"Yes, averaging my loving level over my lifetime."

"Oh my goodness! You're not serious."

He looked up at me like I was strange. "Yes. How did you come up with your number?"

"Uh, I read the question, and the first number that seemed logical to me, I put down on the paper. And THEN (you won't believe this)," I teased him, "I moved on!"

He shook his head, resigned to my haphazard way of doing things, and continued calculating.

We did finally make it to a few of the other questions with very similar discussions on each one. In fact, on question three which gave a Scripture passage to refer to and asked How did Jesus say we are to love? the convoluted discussion pathways we meandered upon lead us to the end times among other things. By this time, we had moved to the living room to be more comfortable, and as I rocked gently back in my ugly upholstered rocking chair listening to the man I love wax eloquent, I had to smile to myself. His discussion included examples from science about how the atomic structure is formed; it included life examples about people in our past; it included illustrations about building a house, and as I mentioned before, the discussion had now been brought into the "end times" arena.

He paused, "What are you smiling about? Did I say something funny?"

"No," I answered simply. "I'm just amazed at the way your brain works."

He looked suspicious. "What do you mean?"

"Well," I hesitated, searching for a good illustration, and then it hit me. "My brain is like a toy choo-choo-train. The engine hooks to the next car in line, and the next car in line, and the next car in line. My thoughts all follow the same path. I'm very simple-minded.

If I walk to the fridge and see that we are out of eggs, my engine starts puffing, and pretty soon all the cars are clacking along until the caboose gets to the grocery list where it writes EGGS. Finished."

He was staring at me with wrinkled eyebrows and a slightly open mouth.

"Your brain, on the other hand, is like a tinker toy," I continued.

"You start out with this central wheel we're out of eggs and suddenly little sticks start branching off of that wheel in all directions. One stick thinks eggs are full of protein; one stick thinks eggs cost $2.89; one stick thinks we bought this carton on March 22nd; one stick thinks eggs come from chickens; one stick thinks I wonder what the difference is between white and brown eggs? Then each of those sticks gets a wheel of its own added to it, and your brain branches off onto five different platforms of thought all at once.

The first stick eggs are full of protein reaches a wheel protein is good for my family, and sticks begin to branch off of that. 1. I have two girls growing who need protein. 2. I'm cutting back, so I could do without extra protein. 3. I wonder how protein affects Liberty's hearing? 4. Pro-teen. Protein must be extra good for teenagers. Hardy-har!

The second of the original sticks eggs cost $2.89 reaches a wheel what could I buy instead of eggs for the same price? 1. A gallon of gas 2. A kilowatt of electricity 3. A bag of ice melt (and so on).

The third original stick we bought this carton on March 22nd reaches a wheel..."

He was looking at me really strangely now.

"Anyway, you get the idea. After all those thoughts are done branching and platforming and branching and platforming and branching inside, you pool all of the information you have gathered and use that to make a decision: to purchase another carton of eggs or not. If you choose to purchase, you then walk over to the list and write Eggs. I'm just impressed with all the extra stuff your brain does as compared to mine, that's all." I shrugged.

"That's all," he muttered sarcastically.

I made a face at him.

"Okay, what did you write for question three?" he wanted to know.

"Love like Jesus does," I read to him from my workbook.

He did a double-take. "WHAT? That's it?"

I laughed aloud. "Yes. That's it."

"But... Well, how did you come up with that?" and he began to list all the ways that God wants us to love.

I interrupted, "That exact phrase was in the Scripture reference we read. I just copied it right out of the Bible.

"Yeah, I saw it in the verse, but that's so simple."

Yep. Just like my brain, apparently!
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4 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I love the thought of sitting down together like that and having a discussion based around the Bible. I don't know (between me and Rod) if either of us has a straightforward brain, but I can focus enough to make a shopping list, LOL. Then again, he can focus enough to invent entire game systems, and I have a short attention span. In fact, I've already forgotten what the purpose of this comment is.

  2. Que Says:

    Most of the time I'm with Jeremy. But he lost me on this one. I have a lot of idea and theories but when posed with a question or problem, I always go simple first. I only take the situation as complicated as it needs to be. So let him know that sometimes you can complicate yourself out of an answer! You guys are funny, though. :)

  3. Suanna Says:

    I read this post and we were both laughing. He said he can totally see Jeremy doing that. Thanks for the insight into my wonderful man's brain. I'm sure they are quite alike in some areas. Now I can just tell him to stop playing with his tinker toys, because my train has already arrived at the station :)

  4. Amy H Says:

    This is too stinkin' funny! I love, love to read your writings....please, please write a book!!!!! Oh yes, I have told you that before : )

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