Chalet Labri, June 1, 2003...acg
Summer comes a bit reluctantly here in the Shenandoah
Valley while chilly rains extend spring into June. Remembering the drought of
last summer when all the wells were going dry, only whimpers of complaint are heard.
On rare mornings when sunlight gets through the clouds, a chorus of birdsong greets my day. Fledgling phoebes begin life under my side porch, an encore performance.
The erratic drill of woodpeckers in the back forest reminds me that life goes on and that summer is here no matter
the weather. Also, there is ample evidence that either deer or rabbits have dined
sumptuously in my flower garden.
Lately Ive been reading books about great sea adventures, some of which for the second or third time. Among them are Robin Lee Grahams Dove, the
story of his five-year journey around the world in a 24 foot sloop begun when he was only sixteen. Also, Joshua Slocums classic adventure Sailing Alone Around the
World. Just now Im reading Apsley Cherry-Garrards The Worst Journey In the World, named by National Geographic last year as one of the greatest adventure stories
ever written. I suppose I am drawn to this genre because of my own travels and
my journey around the world in 1999, most of the way as a lone passenger aboard a modern freighter. It is to Robin Lee Grahams credit that the book is still in print after 31 years and that it is among the
classics recommended for home schooling young people. In the last chapter of the book, still uncertain of his future, he writes
that he and his young wife, Patti, began to read the Bible together: Our finding
a belief in God becoming Christians was a slow thing. We want to work out our lives in the way God intended us to. In reading the Bible together we were fascinated by the prophecies made two thousand years and more ago,
prophecies which seemed to be coming true. We have no idea where these new thoughts and ideas and practices will take us.
But we are open to whatever direction God will give us. Our belief is simple. It
is the belief that so many of our own generation are discovering a belief that God isnt dead as some of the older generation
have told us. In a world that seems to be going crazy we are learning that Jesus
showed men the only way they should live the way we were meant to live. Grahams
voyage brought him a measure of fame and immense intangible wealth -- a companion
for life and the wisdom of discovering a Shepherd for all eternity. Highly recommended.
Also, the Lawsons invited me to watch the movie 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anne Bancroft, Judi Dench, and Anthony Hopkins. It is the amusing and touching true story of Helene Hanffs post-war correspondence with a London bookseller that blossomed into a warm and caring friendship and exchange
of gifts across the Atlantic. I had read the book twice, but seeing the movie
prompted me to read it again. Superb!
Memorial Day was officially
celebrated a week ago, but out of tradition I still think of May 30 as the day to remember the honored dead. Recently, I read Lincolns Gettysburg Address again and realized
why it stands the test of time as among the greatest prose ever penned. Here, in part, from the last paragraph, is a timeless reminder:
It is for us the living,
rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather
for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall
not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the
people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.