“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit
of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent
of the governed…” from the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
July begins with warm memories of other 4ths in distant parts of the world in
my Air Force, Red Cross, and Peace Corps travels. This year, I will spend the
holiday peacefully at home on a high ridge in view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking eastward from the Massanutten. From my study window I watch blue jays, woodpeckers, wrens, chickadees and finches
all dine sumptuously these summer days on suet cakes at my feeders, sans striped sunflower seeds. What a delight to see them partake at my table. I added a
hummingbird station too this season, though it is out of my sight hanging below the porch.
Newly arrived at L’Abri is a family of chipmunks that scamper beneath the feeders and race elusively from flower
beds to hidden burrows. Always somewhere on the front or back lawn are the ubiquitous
squirrels. Blessed be these creatures sent for my entertainment and amusement!
Added to my flowerbeds are both red and gold
yarrow, coreopsis, and purple ageratum blooming gloriously and profusely (with the aid of Miracle-Gro.) These in turn are attracting bees and butterflies, savored immensely and more deeply in knowing summer
will pass too swiftly -- always with its emotion-filled commentary on the rapid passing
of all our days. This caterpillar, too, will become a butterfly! Savor every treasured moment, I remind myself.
Wafting through my soul these days have been the lyrics to a spiritual song popular in the ‘60s:
There is a river that flows from deep within.
There is a fountain that frees the soul
Come to these waters, there is a vast supply.
There is a river that never shall run dry…..
is a river that flows from God above.
There is a fountain, that’s filled with His great love.
Come to the water,
there is a vast supply.
There is a river that never shall run dry.
A number of people for whom I’ve been praying have
told me in subtle ways they too are thirsting for things eternal. “ Anything that is not eternal” wrote Jill Carattini,
“ is eternally unable to satisfy our deepest thirsts. The voice of Christ cries out, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and
drink" (John 7:37). Generations of thirsting pilgrims
have prayed that all would find their way to the deep waters of Christ:(Paul) "And I pray that you, being rooted and established
in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (Ephesians
3:17-19). When you know the longing is real, bring that
restless thirst into your pursuit of God. Then with joy you, too, will draw deeply from the well of salvation, and be satisfied
by Christ the King.”
Somehow, in an enigmatic way, these streams of thought connect.
The founding fathers knew The Founding Father of us all. They likewise
knew intuitively that for those who seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, none can be found without first having
found that Fountain that never runs dry. Malcolm Muggeridge discovered this truth
Thus in the turmoil of life without, and the black despair within, it is always possible
to turn aside and wait on God. Just as at the center of a hurricane there is
stillness, and above the clouds a clear sky, so it is possible to make a little clearing in the jungle of human will for a
rendezvous with God. He will always turn up, though in what guise and in what
circumstances cannot be foreseen – perhaps trailing clouds of glory, perhaps as a beggar; in the purity of the desert
or in the squalor of London’s Soho or New York’s Times Square…..For every situation and eventuality there
is a parable if you look carefully enough. (Malcolm Muggeridge, Conversion -- The Spiritual Journey of a Twentieth Century Pilgrim.)