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Girl Meets God

    by Melissa Mathews

Something to Cry About
Date Posted: June 4, 2006

It was one of the best lessons my dad ever taught me:

"Quit crying, or I'll give you something to cry about."

I have a clear, yet vague memory of this lesson when us four little Goins children were sitting in the back seat of the family car 30 years ago (back when back seats were big enough for more than 2 ½ people). I was particularly grieved about something that now I can't recall. It was probably something absurd like arguing with mean ol' Roger or not getting to sit where I wanted in the car. But at the time, it was a horrible, sobbing, tight-throated, tear-flowing issue. Then Dad gave the unreasonable command:

"Quit crying, or I'll give you something to cry about."

I would always think "How can he mean that? It's the most ridiculous, impossible request I've ever heard." But since my dad never said anything he didn't mean, and he never said anything twice, and I knew the "something else" was in my rear-end's best interest to avoid, I somehow managed to pull it together and stop the tears.

So last week, as I was getting in the car for a weekend trip with my husband to celebrate 18 years of marriage, and heard the news that my sister was moving "back home" and leaving me alone in California, my dad's words scrolled through my mind:

"Quit crying, or I'll give you something to cry about."

And though it seemed like a most unreasonable request, I somehow managed to pull it together, stop the tears, and have a wonderful weekend with my husband. Now, don't get me wrong. There will be a time for tears- like when the moving van pulls away or even now as I write this column.

On Monday morning after my wonderful-yet-bad-news weekend, my Southern colleague and I headed from our cars into a new week at Inderkum High School and debriefed.

"My husband and I had a great weekend, but found out my sister is moving back to Missouri. How was your weekend?" I asked.

"Pretty lousy," he said. "My wife's dad just found out he has 3-6 months to live."

"Well, relatively speaking, my news wasn't so bad, was it?"

Solomon speaks well to my friend and me:

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,...
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

So Dad, thanks for the lesson, and take care of my sister.

"'Winging It" from Stan Smith

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Biography Information:
I'm a preacher's kid, pastor's wife, and southern belle who married a Southern California boy. Can you say 'culture clash?' Scott and I have four boys - Max, Mark, Jackson, and Grant who keep us busy with homework and sports.

Scott and I have been married 22 years and currently live in Northern California where we are beginning year five as church planters. I also teach 12th grade English and love it.

I would love to hear from you. Email me anytime at
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