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Measuring My Days

June 2006
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Chalet L’Abri, June, 2006…  Measuring My Days….acg

Another turn of the calendar page and we stand on the brink of summer.  How did we get here so quickly?  The sages of old told us that as the years add up, more rapidly would time thrust us forward.  Each new day I confirm that old adage to be true!  The forest surrounding me here on Piney Mountain, where maples, oaks and tulip poplars are more numerous than pines, is gloriously now in full leaf.  A family of baby squirrels appears under the feeders several times a day as they patrol the premises hereabout.  Likewise, adorable baby rabbits adventure from their hiding places to suckle new-mown grass.  Squadrons of blue jays, cardinals, and grackles bully one another at the feeders.  Regular visits of regally adorned rufous- sided towhees confirm nearby nests for their newborn.  Brilliant intense colors of irises in my neighbors’ yards these days remind me of long ago times when Mom took huge baskets of them cut from our own yard to decorate the graves for Memorial Day.  Blessed be those memories and these halcyon days of June!

Two books have absorbed my thoughts and my imagination in recent days.  The life story of my own Kentucky’s Jesse Stuart, he of Greenup County whose famous stories and poems were a product of the Great Depression, is chronicled in his biography Jesse Stuart, The Heritage.  Reading his biography kindled a need to visit his poetry again.  This is among my most cherished:

Why Ever Grieve?

Why ever grieve for blighted bloom and leaf

When Winter fought the Spring to keep his crown;

His second coming was a time so brief,

But long enough to sow his death-seeds down,

Why ever grieve for all this bitter strife

Since Spring returns with certainty and pride

To frozen Earth with promise of new life

With nature her assistant and her guide.

The flowers that Winter killed will grow again

And cloaks of green adorn each naked tree

With Nature’s healing sun and soothing rain,

With wordless blueprints from eternity.

 

With a likely connection of blood lines, yet the family name spelled differently, James Stewart’s A Faith to Proclaim has given me wisdom notes to absorb and apply.  On the theme of forgiveness and all it means for Believers, Stewart writes of “God thrusting His forgiveness on a soul that would scarce believe it possible.”  Then he illustrates with the old story of Faust:

“Faust…gambled with his soul; and an artist has painted a picture – a game of chess, Faust at one side, Satan at the other.  The game in the picture is almost over, and Faust has only a few pieces left, a king, a knight, one or two pawns; and on his face there is a look of blank despair, while at the other side of the board the devil leers in anticipation of his coming triumph.  Many a chess-player has looked at the picture and agreed that the position is hopeless;  it is checkmate.  But one day in the picture gallery, a great master of the game stood gazing at the picture.  He was fascinated by the look of terrible despair on the face of Faust.  Then his gaze went to the pieces on the board.  He stared at them absorbed.  Other visitors in the gallery were startled by a ringing shout:  “It is a lie!”  The king and the knight have another move!”  This we know to be true of the human struggle;  this is implicit in our proclamation of God as the Father of Jesus Christ.  No matter how hopeless apparently the position, the King and the knight have another move….Even Judas – if at the eleventh hour he had gone to Calvary, if he had waited to see the Resurrection, if he had encountered the risen Christ – might have heard the word that came redeemingly to Peter:  “Lovest thou Me?” This (forgiveness…amazing grace) is the word which obliterates and masters and makes free.  And by Christ’s authority, this is the word we preach.”

“When we come to the edge of the light we know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, of this we can be sure .... either God will provide something solid to stand on or ... we will be taught to fly.”  Unknown author