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L'Abri Journals...ACGray

January 2002
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A New Year Begins - 2002...

LAbri @ Massanutten, January 6, 2002

             I look out my study windows on winter at last.  The good earth is mantled in white as it was meant to be on this cold January day.  I have the blessed reprieve of silence; only the bearable whir of my heat pump fan and the click of my pellet stove invade my hearing.  No television, no stereo, no human voices to interrupt my inner sanctum.  Such times are rare and precious and gloriously satisfying and sorely needed in my noisy world, so I savor these moments with gratitude.

            This morning unmistakable flashes of white gave them away -- five graceful does were scampering in the deep woods back of the chalet, their white tails signaling their presence.  This was before it began to snow; intuitively, they must have known the snow was on its way.  How easily it would have been for me to have missed them, but Providence ordained that I should set eyes on them, a reminder of how often their kin had appeared in the back meadow at Arbreux, and once more the sober majesty and wonder of where I live and the blessing of life itself.

            Ive made only one New Years resolution:  to redeem the timeto find productive things to keep active my hands, my mind, my heartmy soul.   Thoreau at Walden Pond wisely concluded that the saddest commentary on life was to come to the end of it realizing that one has never really lived.  Theres a marvelous line from Auntie Mame:  Life is a banquet and most damned fools are starving to death.  Leo Buscaglia in one of his lectures told about a severe earthquake in Los Angeles when his living room fell in and the fireplace collapsed:  Suddenly it taught us the value of things; it showed us that things were stupid, that all we had was us.  I walked out of the house with everything falling around me.  It was just dawn and there was a streak of light coming over the sky.  I have a great big flowering peach in the back yard.  Well, there it was, flowering its head off.  And all of sudden, in a split second it occurred to me:  the beautiful world is going on, with or without you.You are all you have.  Therefore, make yourself the most beautiful, tender, wonderful, fantastic person in the worldYou can only give away what you have, and so you damned well better work at getting something.  You want to be the most educated, the most brilliant, the most exciting, the most versatile, the most creative individual in the world, because then you can give it away; and the only reason you have anything is to give it away.

            Leo Rosten gives me more inspiration for this new year:  In some way, however, small and secret, each of us is a little madEveryone is lonely at bottom and cries to be understood;  but we can never entirely understand someone else, and each of us remains part stranger even to those who love usYou can understand people better if you look at them no matter how old or impressive they may beas if they were children.  For most of us never mature; we simply grow taller.  Happiness comes only when we push our brains, and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capableThe purpose of life is to matter to count, to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we lived at all.

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
II Corinthians 4:16-18