GET UP MOODY!
How she got the name, I’ll never know. She certainly didn’t earn it. “Moody” was remarkably even keeled. It had to be a joke, like in the movies where “Big Mike” is small, and “Tiny Joe” is actually a giant. Still, “Moody” was the name assigned my grandmother, and she wore it proudly. Sometimes she would use it when speaking to herself. One of her favorite phrases was, “Get up Moody!” She’d often say it after she’d had a brief rest. It was her “get back to work” phrase. Ironically, “Moody” was the hardest working person I knew. So, much like her nickname, I didn’t understand her use of that phrase either. She was familiar with grueling labor, and therefore well entitled to unbridled rest. But with that one line command- “Get up Moody!” she’d reset her whole attitude. She'd plow through her tasks as though she was punched in on the time clock of God Himself. Indeed, she was. That is what I didn’t understand then. I understand it now.
Time is among our most valuable resources. If we are not deliberate with how we spend it, we will waste it waiting to “feel like doing’’ something before taking action. It’s a trap. How often do we feel like doing hard things? Rarely, if ever. Plus, life gives us many reasons to sit down. Those lacking motivation, focus, or discipline will stay down. I am sure there were days my grandmother wanted to. Instead, after tending the fields, the livestock, and the land, she cared for children and grandchildren, fed neighbors, and assisted friends. She delivered babies, and acted as a mortician too.
"Moody" did what her spirit believed was good and right, even if her abled body protested. “Get up Moody” was an assault on the urge to remain at rest. It was my grandmother’s way of letting her body know, "My feelings don’t run me, my will does. I'm committed to what's best, not what's easy." She pushed beyond her body’s desire, and led her flesh. Her “little phrase” was her spirit speaking to a body that didn’t “feel like it.” A confrontation between desire and will. Moody wasn’t super human, she simply refused to be controlled by anyone or anything, even if that thing was a part of her. If rest wasn’t best, she didn’t take it. If work was difficult, she didn’t run away from it.
In all these negotiations she did not complain. She was calm. To lose control, or serve begrudgingly would’ve negated the victories she scored over her body. It would have given her flesh the final word. It would’ve had no impact on me.
The lesson I learned was huge. How we feel should not be the criteria for what we do. Something greater must determine that. Good. Need. Love. Truth-something absolute. To be led by feelings is to remain in perpetual infancy. No mastery. No maturity. That’s not a life well lived. That’s instability. That’s bondage to the emotions chosen by our body. Spiritual death.
Four decades later, this grandchild, and witness of radical self-discipline, finds herself borrowing from the wisdom and strength found in the order, “Get up Moody!” When I start thinking, “I’m just going to lay down, binge watch a show, surf YouTube, or stay down a while;” I hear those words:
Get up is my encouragement to you. Resist “I don’t feel like it.” You have the power to do that. You don’t have to feel like it to do it. Do it because it is right, not convenient. True fulfillment does not live in your flesh or feelings. Your best intentions all exist in the spirit. They are manifested by the work of your hands, the work of body. It’s largely what separates humans from animals. In our spirit we can purpose to do good, and cause our bodies to follow. Life is disastrous the other way around. If the body rules, we’ll be inconsistent, and unfaithful. We’ll stay down. Defeated. The most effective use of the body is its obedience to the spirit, and a mind alive to truth.
I don’t know your mood, or your name, but as long as you’re alive, you have a chance. Things may not be easy, but hope lives. Good is possible. Easy is just a road to certain failure. Don’t chase it. Maybe you are tired, and you need a break. Rest, but don’t stay down. The same grandmother who said, “Get up…” and “Hard work won’t kill ya” also knew the importance of “sittin down” to rest and refresh. Work made rest necessary, and meaningful. Cherished moments.
Moody died at 97 years old. She was right. It wasn’t due to hard work. She had a full life, and without the benefit of a formal education she left a mighty legacy. She was a small woman, about 5’4 on tiptoes. But she was honorable and faithful, with a character that gave her the presence of a giant. She was a fierce ally, and a truth teller to others, but most importantly to herself. Get up Moody! Was just one of many ways she did so. For the record her real name was Sarah Elizabeth Knowles. She lived the life of unbridled humility. She battled this world with uncommon kindness, and exceptional grace. It is my great honor to be the granddaughter of a warrior.