At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say "Come
out unto us". Under these circumstances life can become like a room in a clutter.
There is crowded confusion. Amid the clamor of many appeals there is need
for a high degree of selectivity. Only the person who has a capacity for discrimination,
and who has a genius for essentials, can prevent the good from becoming the enemy of the best.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Now once again comes August, the sultry month
of abundance here on our quadrant of the globe. Roadside markets in our Shenandoah
Valley now are laden with the bounty of summer gardens... sweet corn, squash, tomatoes, radishes, and more. Where mostly Mennonite farmers haven't mowed the hay fields, meadows are abloom with wildflowers. Scattered fields of ubiquitous wild blue geraniums counterpoint the flowing fields
of clover, soybeans, and corn. Waving sunflowers welcome travelers along the
roadsides, some of which have been purposely planted to complement natures own. It
takes concentration, I believe, to fully appreciate the magnificence of summer or perhaps a reminder of the bleakness of what
it might look like six months from now at midwinter. I yearn to perceive it all,
to take it all in, commit this magical time to memory and make it mine for the duration of my days.
Eva DeCourcey reminded me today of a story making the rounds about a group of new arrivals touring heaven. The tour guide, venerable Saint Peter, was prevailed upon to tell them about an immense building
that looked like a warehouse. Reluctant at first but relenting, Peter opened
the doors to let them see inside. Row upon row on shelves to the cavernous ceiling
and as far as they could see were packages wrapped in magnificent colors and ribbons.
"What's in them?" he was asked. "Those were gifts from heaven," he replied,
"offered but never perceived, never accepted."
Preparing envelopes to mail this month's page of my journal,
I found myself crossing out the names of five readers in my address book with the annotation:
deceased. It was a reminder
that, as my pen pal Leo Buscaglia once wrote, We dont have forever. Whatever
we can do for others we should do it now. Whatever we can do to improve ourselves
or bring more of heaven to our troubled world, we should do it now. But even
the motivation to do so has its genesis in heaven, the most lavish and gloriously wrapped gift of all.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.
Ralph Waldo Emerson