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Measuring My Days

October 2009
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“Writing offers at least the opportunity for us to be more personal and giving than we are able to be in the quick and casual conversation which seems to characterize our hurried days.  And the written note, letter, word can be held and re-read, treasured and returned to for inspiration and renewal.  There is an intimacy and inspiration we often achieve when writing that we cannot bring to our speech. …I also believe there are things we can better say written, things more reflective and of deeper feeling, less driven by the emotionality charged moment.  Words to the heart that can be pondered, read and re-read.”  Gilbert Bowen, in a sermon “Living Letters”.

     

The real meaning of our days here may lie not in our careers or causes, but in the intimate and personal relationships that are near and often taken for granted.  At least it did with Jesus who at the last settled in with a close circle He trusted to fulfill His mission.”  

                   Gilbert Bowen in a sermon “Making Meaning.”

 

Now comes that special time of year when all our world north of the equator transforms from the green of summer to the multi-color magic of Autumn.  Scientists probed the mysteries of plant life and gave us the term photosynthesis.   The lyrics to that old song become intensely meaningful:  “the fundamental things apply, as time goes by.”  Prepare.  Consider the ant.  Rejoice in your sufferings with echoes of Paul’s letters in the Old Book: “…can anything cut us off from the love of Christ – can hardships or distress (or even death)?  No, we come through all these things triumphantly victorious, by the power of Him who loves us.”

            This special harvest time I find myself almost on the other side of yet another passage, counting my good fortune in having found a buyer for my Chalet L’Abri.  From the beginning prayers were delivered up that the move and transition might be made with minor annoyances and so it has been.  Deeply grateful for my new down-sized quarters in this small college town.

The calendar turns. October arrives and poetry that is autumn.  “Oh look,” wrote Walt McDonald, “old Galileo whispered, look, we move.  And burning, burning in the sky, the sun stood still.  Earth turned and spun and whirled about the ball, but no one else believed.  Not then….”  But now we know.  What is important and what may we let the autumn wind blow away?  “So teach us to count our days…” and in doing so we learn that we are not in control and accept that the Eternal is intensely real.  Some things are more important than others.  Wrote Blaise Pascal, the great scientist and saint, “A monstrous thing to see people raging and despairing over mere affronts and inconveniences, while

being indifferent to things of gravest import.”

Robert Morneau serves up a savory banquet:  “In October the smoldering leaves scent the air with mysterious odors, summer dreams are finally buried, marsh ponds become international airports, football widows realize the permanence of their situation…an early snowflake arrives just to check future lodging, a spring kite decides to challenge the autumn wind, one hour in the woods is worth a week in the city; and death cannot be denied its rhythm.”

The golden rod is more intensely golden this season and more abundant along the byways of our central Shenandoah Valley.  Maybe it’s just a fluke of my imagination.  Somewhere I read that no two of us see our world in any identical way.

“Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars, and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful.  Everything is simply happy.  Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have a bank balance.  Look at the flowers for no reason.  It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.”  Osho