Imagine a camel trying to fit through the eye of a sewing needle! It is impossible. Or, so I always thought as a kid in Sunday School whenever this lesson rolled around. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:25). I usually told my parents on the drive home from church, ”We need to give up all our possessions.”
One day,my mom shared Emmet Fox’s little sermon on the subject. It’s not impossible, she explained. It’s just a lot of work. “…Every important city was surrounded by a wall for defense. When a laden camel arrived after sunset,” after the large gate had closed, “…the only way it could get in was to be unloaded of all merchandise, whereupon it would squirm on its knees through…” a low wicket gate known as the needle’s eye. (Around the Year with Emmet Fox, p.133)
As a newlywed in the 1980s, I was very interested in gaining possessions to furnish our new home and to keep up with our peers. I devoted a lot of time, energy, and thought toward this. I began having a reoccurring dream. I was always waiting in line to board a lovely aircraft for an exciting journey to a new destination, where I really wanted to go, from which I would never return. As my turn approached, I worried about where I’d left my purse, my keys, my suitcase, that new vase, the little oriental rug I loved. An overwhelming need to bring these items along always sent me running from the line, hollering, “Please wait! I’ll be right back!” I always missed the plane. I always woke up very perplexed.
I mentally practiced walking away from these things. I got the house where I wanted it, then moved on. I went back to school. I stopped comparing our home to others. I started caring more for friends and family. The reoccurring dream remained a constant warning. Then, one night I boarded the plane. I have no memory of what happened after that, except I awoke with the most peaceful feeling. I never had the dream again. I’d like to think I’ve found the way through that needle, by devoting more thought and energy to friends and family, than possessions. Thank goodness I have not yet reached the other side!
A special thanks to one of my favorite blogs for reminding me of this lesson. Yes, life is simpler in the wilderness, (another lesson from Memory Lake). http://malcolmscorner.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/how-many-things-dont-you-want/