Measuring My Days

November 2008
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Thank God for duty – that mighty anchor!  Thank God for the providence which decreed that only in the sweat of his brow should man eat bread.  Thank God for the tasks that give you something better to do than brooding and introspection.  Thank God for the sheer hard toil that keeps the seven devils from getting into the swept and garnished house.  Thank God for the things that must be done, even though the heavens should crash and fall.  Thank God for duty!  It will hold the ship until the day break and the shadows flee away.”  James Stewart, in a sermon “Anchors for the Soul”.


       We went back this year, my twin brother and I, to our sister Lill’s grave in Wheeling, seventeen years after she had died.  That poignant visit last month gave me reason again to dwell on my blessings in a very special way.  It was sister Lill who would read books to us as children when she was twenty and we were just five, teaching us not only to read but also to love the wider world that books opened to us.  So I credit her with those beginnings of wanderlust that would lead to my several careers that took me to the far corners of the globe.  These armchair adventures would be reinforced  in fourth grade when teacher GeorgeAnn Carpenter spent a great deal of that year sharing slide shows of her summer travels in Mexico.  Again, when time came to leave home after high school, I chose an Air Force career, followed by a Red Cross career, then a Peace Corps career, altogether requiring duty, travel, and  work in some 86 countries of the globe by my last accounting.  How rich and rewarding those years, expanding my world, bringing with them lasting friendships and meaningful work for a better world.  Likewise, I find myself giving thanks to God for protecting me all those millions of miles in dangerous places, for the measure of good health that has been mine, for the intangible sense of security, accomplishment, purpose, and survival all these years.  Perhaps Charles Schultz’s Great Pumpkin metaphor in his Peanuts cartoons will convey something of those manifold blessings coming from heaven.  How splendid the pumpkin as a reminder of the Great Benefactor to whom hearts, knees, and souls are bent in a special way at Thanksgiving or any time of the day or year.  On that first American feast of thanksgiving in 1621  with praise and gratitude to God, governor Edward Winslow wrote to friends:  "Although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty." The goodness of God was often on the minds of those early Pilgrims.. Though they had suffered great loss and hardship, they also were aware of God's bountiful blessing: the produce of the land, peace with the natives, the joy of life, and homes snug for winter.


"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise. Be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting;and His truth endures to all generations." (Psalm 100:4-5)


"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness" Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)