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Measuring My Days

September 2008
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Everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.- Leo Tolstoy

    

          Rapidly now another summer hastens to an end.  Each year at this time I am given to musing about the brevity of our days, a  refrain repeated in these pages, with no apologies to my readers.  “The days grow short when we reach September” go the soulful lyrics to that melancholy old song.  Because each year I sense anew with greater poignancy the coming of autumn.  Now myself past seventy, the loss this year of two very dear friends to what they affirmed would be a more glorious kingdom, gives new purpose and meaning for writing my thoughts and sharing them with kindred minds.  The words of Psalm 39:4 sound with ever more resonance: ”Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days…”

          Ample evidence of summer’s end appears on every hand.  The glory of Echinacea in my flowerbed has faded from warm pink to toast.  Already the chill glory of chrysanthemums replace the warm glow of summer zinnias and black-eyed susans.  Arrowed flights of wild geese pierce the sky daily chattering their route to a more favorable habitat. Who taught them to seek a better world?  Roadside kiosks sell the remnants of garden produce -- sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini, and melons.  Sumac, tulip poplars, goldenrod, and ironweed now tint our valley with beguiling colors of old age.  Mystically, late day breezes are reminders that “the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes – so everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  As this summer’s pace slows serenely into autumn, let those comforting words from Jesus in John’s gospel simmer in my soul.

 

“It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”  G. K. Chesterton

 

Jesus asks that we consider the kingdom around us like little children, and thus, something more like God--finding a presence in faithful recurrences, grace in repetition, rumors of another world in the ordinary world around us. Morning by morning, the daily liturgy of new mercies comes with unapologetic repetition to all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another daisy, the encore of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul.  Jill Carattini

 

The greatest lesson of the spiritual life is that you have no strength in yourself to stand, no matter how long you have walked before God. You can never have a moment of strength to stand by yourself. Your strength comes out of weakness and your sense of dependence. Your sense of your constant need of God's strength is the only thing that will keep you.  Ray Stedman, from a sermon on Joshua.