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L'Abri Journals...ACGray

June 2005
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“”Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, never traitor stand.  Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.  Every joy or trial falleth from above, Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.  We may trust Him fully all for us to do; They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.”

                                               Frances Ridley Havergal.

 

Rapidly now another year approaches the mid point and the seasons’ cycles will mark the year’s longest day for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere.  Officially summer begins here soon while winter beckons for my friends in New Zealand, Mozambique and others south of the equator.  Rich vibrant colors of summer zinnias, marigolds, and ageratum blossoms enrich my small trapezoid garden.  Bumblebees, wasps, yellow jackets, monarchs, and multi-color butterflies are pollinating the hayfields of our Shenandoah Valley, continuing the magic of enduring life.  I marvel at the accelerating speed of the passing seasons as my own years add up too hurriedly, an age-long lament of all those too aware of the clock’s ticking.  Blessedly, I have had mentors (and some remain still) who lead the way to what my friend Clara Cassidy labeled the “topmost years”.   She lived to be an active 99, using as her logo an empty rocking chair!

             

Recently one of my readers wrote that she was interested in “what questions drive your quests…universal questions that frame your understanding.”    In so many ways I have pursued life’s great questions, attempting to share in my books and these journal pages what has become for me the answers at least to some of those questions.  With each new day, I become more aware of how rich and marvelous has been my “passage”, the opportunities that have been mine to work and travel all over the world, at last count to some 86 countries.  Reminiscing on all that my eyes have beheld and my response to the vast chasm between my wealth and privileges as an American versus so much of the planet outside our borders, increasing gratitude marks my days.  The questions:  How can I live out this gratitude in meaningful ways?  How can I share the insights and wisdom blown to me by Providence from having seen and felt so much of our planet’s misery?  What might be the key to comprehending why the vast inequities?  Who am I that I should be so richly blessed with safe passage and good health through so many troubled places and times?  Francis Shaeffer’s question:  “How shall we now live?”  Rabbi Harold Kushner’s: “Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”  To all of these and more, a satisfactory answer comes as I fall back on the words of the Holy Book, and borrow a response from E. Stanley Jones:  the Christian faith and a penetrating look at Jesus on the cross turns all our question marks into exclamation points!!! Recently reading Paul’s letter to the Colossians, (vs 4:2), reminded me that gratitude and prayer go together.  I can sustain my faith so long as my prayers are coupled with gratitude.  How immense is mine….
 
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“I’ve grown suspicious of perfection, seeking not a perfect life but a full one….Our great challenge is to see God not only in the eyes of the suffering child but in the suffering itself.  To thank God for the sunset pink clouds over Red Hill – but also for the mosquitoes I must fan from my face while watching the clouds.  To thank God for broken bones and broken hearts, for everything that opens us to the mystery of our humanness… ..The imperfect is our paradise.  Let us pray, then, that we do not shun the struggle. May we attend with mindfulness, generosity and com-passion to all that is broken in our lives.  May we live fully in each flawed and too human moment, and thereby gain the victory. 

Phillip Simmons, Learning to Fall, The Blessings of an Imperfect Life.