Brains and Shoes

My brain is a warehouse of so many random memories! Here’s one from 2nd grade: It’s the first day of school and I can see my 2nd grade teacher standing at the front of the room explaining how to pronounce her name. She writes it on the chalkboard in large letters, “MRS. S T E U R Y” and then while pretending to stir something in a bowl says “My name sounds like stir-y.” I also remember sitting at my desk politely listening to Mrs. Steury reading to us after recess.

She liked to read Dr. Seuss books. A lot of Dr. Seuss books!

Evidently Dr. Seuss was a sure-fire hit with the elementary set. But, I distinctly recall not being amused, just bored. Failure to laugh while Dr. Seuss’s works were being read aloud was a 911 cry for help in the mind of the dedicated Mrs. Steury.

She dutifully called my mother to gently break the news to her that something might be seriously amiss with her precious firstborn. I know this because my mother then approached me with great care as parents do when they are about to explain the facts of life to the next generation. Fact of life #1: Dr. Seuss’s books are funny!

I remember the look of deep concern in my mother’s eyes as she explained to me that Mrs. Steury was concerned about me because I didn’t laugh like the other kids. Then it was my turn to feel troubled. At the ripe old age of seven, I think I said something like, “Really? Green eggs and ham? And she thinks something is wrong with ME? ”

But I’m all grown up now! Mrs. Steury can rest peacefully, because at some point in my maturation process, the frontal lobe of my brain, which evidently is very important to the whole humor thing, must have caught up to the rest of my body. I have seen the light! Dr. Seuss, you were a master of wit and wisdom! The quote above is taken from his book, Oh the Places You Will Go, (click the link to revisit your childhood for a moment and listen to John Lithgow read this very fun book.)

Did you know that there is possibly much more than Hortons, Whos, Cats in Hats, and green eggs to Dr. Seuss ‘s clever stories? Biblical truth is skillfully layered throughout his writing! I read a few paragraphs of one person’s analysis of the “Complete Works of Seuss” and I felt the distant thunder of an oncoming headache similar to the one I experienced after reading theological treatises for a philosophy class last year! Who knew? Oh, maybe the “Dr.” in “Dr. Seuss” should have clued me in. Yep! Kind of deep! Let me go back to the shallow end, please! So what’s this about brains and shoes?

Brains – God ordained equipment for processing thoughts – for discerning truth, distinguishing good from evil. If you stop and think about it for a minute…I guess if you think about thinking, our minds, our capacity to reason is stunning. God lavishes us with this ability, the capacity to process information, to form a mindset of our choosing. He could have programed our minds to automatically think His thoughts, to be full of faith-filled reasoning, but instead He entrusts this amazing piece of equipment, this “holy hard drive” to us and then allows us the freedom to download into it whatever we choose! What was He thinking???

Important point: He also entrusted to us the instruction manual, the Bible. But who among us likes to read directions? Again I ask, what was He thinking??? Choices! Choices! Life is all about choices! And he gives us everything we need to make good choices.

The psalmist says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”(Psalm 119:11) I find that learning God’s word by heart keeps the “manual” handy at every turn. No Internet access, no electricity, no paper or pens but in my heart, in my mind, ready for action.

So what was He thinking? I guess He was inviting us into an adventure, inviting us into an all-expenses paid journey, complete with every piece of equipment we could possibly need, but one that works and builds every muscle of faith!

Paul says in Philippians 2:5, “… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Jesus was on mission. He lived a life of purpose. He knew where it would take Him. The Greek word for mindset is “PHRONEO.” It actually means to exercise the mind! An inner perspective that shows itself in outward behavior – personal opinion fleshing itself out in action.

So to quote Dr. Seuss again, “You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”


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