L'Abri Journals...ACGray

August 2002
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Bounteous Gifts


At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with emphatic trifles.  Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock at once at thy closet door and say "Come out unto us".  Under these circumstances life can become like a room in a clutter.  There is crowded confusion.  Amid the clamor of many appeals there is need for a high degree of selectivity.  Only the person who has a capacity for discrimination, and who has a genius for essentials, can prevent the good from becoming the enemy of the best. 

                                       Ralph Waldo Emerson.



     Now once again comes August, the sultry month of abundance here on our quadrant of the globe.  Roadside markets in our Shenandoah Valley now are laden with the bounty of summer gardens... sweet corn, squash, tomatoes, radishes, and more.  Where mostly Mennonite farmers haven't mowed the hay fields, meadows are abloom with wildflowers.  Scattered fields of ubiquitous wild blue geraniums counterpoint the flowing fields of clover, soybeans, and corn.  Waving sunflowers welcome travelers along the roadsides, some of which have been purposely planted to complement natures own.  It takes concentration, I believe, to fully appreciate the magnificence of summer or perhaps a reminder of the bleakness of what it might look like six months from now at midwinter.  I yearn to perceive it all, to take it all in, commit this magical time to memory and make it mine for the duration of my days.

     Eva DeCourcey reminded me today of a story making the rounds about a group of new arrivals touring heaven.   The tour guide, venerable Saint Peter, was prevailed upon to tell them about an immense building that looked like a warehouse.  Reluctant at first but relenting, Peter opened the doors to let them see inside.  Row upon row on shelves to the cavernous ceiling and as far as they could see were packages wrapped in magnificent colors and ribbons.  "What's in them?" he was asked.  "Those were gifts from heaven," he replied, "offered but never perceived, never accepted." 

Preparing envelopes to mail this month's page of my journal, I found myself crossing out the names of five readers in my address book with the annotation:  deceased.  It was a reminder that, as my pen pal Leo Buscaglia once wrote, We dont have forever.  Whatever we can do for others we should do it now.  Whatever we can do to improve ourselves or bring more of heaven to our troubled world, we should do it now.  But even the motivation to do so has its genesis in heaven, the most lavish and gloriously wrapped gift of all. 


All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.                                            Ralph Waldo Emerson


The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.

                              William Shakespeare