Opa is German for Grandpa. My Opa’s name was John, one of 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls. He grew up farming with horses. His influence in my life still casts a shadow. (Hence the picture of the tree) In his prime, he stood 6 foot 2, weighed 240 pounds. One of the gentlest, most soft hearted men you would ever meet. I heard it said more than once, there was not a person Grandpa didn’t get along with….that’s probably where I get some of my disposition. There were a couple of times however he didn’t get along with everyone. :-) Keep in mind he was a farm boy in his early twenties. One Saturday afternoon he stopped by the general store to collect a donation from Bill the store owner. 4 or 5 young men were hanging around the general store waiting for a dance to begin. Opa said “hi” but was greeted by grunts. As he walked out of the door a few minutes later, one of the young men hit him on the back of the head. I’ll let Opa tell you what happened next….”As I came out the door of the store someone hit me from behind, the next thing I knew I had 4 or 5 guys piling on top of me. After my initial surprise I got up and started swinging. By the time I was done the last boy had run to his car and was crying like a baby.”
Lesson from the farm : If you mess with the bull, you may get the horn.
Sara Groves sings a song simply titled Generations … “Remind me of this with every decisions Generations will reap what I sow I can pass on a curse or a blessing To those I will never know “ Powerful words.
How does this story from the life of my Opa cast a shadow? Would you allow me to share with you a second story?
When my dad (Opa’s oldest son) began attending country school, (age 5) he was teased mercilessly by one of the other kids about his last name. His name was Munk. The bully was calling him “monkey, monkey” It got to the point where dad didn’t want to go to school. Either the teacher didn’t know what was happening or refused to deal with it. Again, I’ll let Opa tell what happened next: “I made an appointment with the teacher and told him, ” My son does not want to come to school. His name is Munk, not monkey. Either you deal with it here at school or I will go to the father (of the bully) and beat the @%$# out of him.” End of discussion. That’s all it took. The teasing stopped. I always wondered about that threat….why was he going to beat up the dad?
Personality wise, I am a lot like my Opa. I hate conflict. Sometimes, because of the world in which we live, we don’t have to go looking for trouble, sometimes it finds us . At that moment, we have a choice….get the tar beat out of us or stand our ground. Sometimes Christians have this notion we are always called to “turn the other cheek”. I would disagree. There may be times when that is our response, and there may be times when I say “Enough is enough”.
I don’t think Opa should have just laid there and allowed the young men to beat him up, and taken his money. I don’t think anyone would have been better off, had he not confronted the bullying…..who knows how that would have affected my dad long term.
Is there ever a time to fight, speak up, defend another…or as Christians is “turn the other cheek” your primary response to agression? You already know what I think…I would love to hear your thoughts on this one. Again, thanks for reading.