To Bravely Bear, and Nobly Strive

September 17, 2018


Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not to curse.

–from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter four


I like the word ‘noble.’  To bravely bear, and nobly strive.


I had a noble friend with whom I taught Sunday school and practiced yoga for many years. He grew sick and the last time I spoke with him face to face (this does not count hospice-time), he was bearing as bravely as he could.  Me too—we were ‘keeping our chins up’ by discussing what we would teach next, when he got better and came back to our class.  I suggested an exploration of the word ‘noble.’  There ensued a sprightly (for the circumstances) discussion of this word.  He wondered if I knew about the ‘noble gasses’ (he was a chemical engineer.)  I did not.  Now I do!  They are non-reactive.  Someday I may teach that lesson.  But not just yet.


There is a nobility about my eight-month-old granddaughter Amelia.  As you know, Amelia means ‘hardworking.’  She is certainly that.  Such determination to grow up as fast as she can and take her place in the world.  Yesterday she sat in a restaurant high chair for the first time.  Upright, at the table, in the circle.  She took her place with dignity, and with much emphatic slapping of the table.  We kept her space clear of water glasses and plates of food, for she strives to fill her hands (portal to her mind) with everything. After a time, she was placed on her daddy’s lap. I offered her a look at my bracelet of gold links, gift from her grandfather my husband.  She undertook a hands-on examination of this compelling object.  We waited.  Sure enough, like a flash she pulled bracelet and wrist to her mouth, for a closer examination.  I did not want the imprint of her two teeth in gold or flesh, so I withdrew to safety.  She took this well, without resentment.

Author: Phoebe Dishman

Phoebe H. Dishman was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother. An essayist and poet, she teaches adult Sunday school, compiles a monthly prayer calendar, edits the Big Thicket Association quarterly bulletin, and keeps a keen eye and ear open for birds.

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