Measuring My Days

August 2009
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Our Creator is the same and never changes despite the names given Him by people here and in all parts of the world. Even if we gave Him no name at all, He would still be there, within us, waiting to give us good on this earth.  George Washington Carver



Once more mid-summer has worked its magic on the byways of our Shenandoah Valley.  Along the five mile stretch of Spotswood Trail between where I live at Massanutten Resort and the town of Elkton blooms an explosion of wildflowers:  Queen Anne lace, black-eye susan, clover, yarrow, thistle, daisy fleabane, goldenrod and chicory – that delightful sky blue flower often called “ragweed”.  This magic  is just a preamble to the colors of autumn, which will soon be on our doorstep.  There I go again rushing the calendar along.  I say to myself:  Selah – pause and enjoy this moment in time, this place, and this interlude to whatever follows.

            For myself, I have a faint glimpse into what follows.    At the end of this month I shall be, Lord willing, moving to the Bridgewater Retirement Community.  It is a place for seniors like myself who have confronted their mortality, decided that less is more and to deal with the brevity of our years.  For me it is just another passage and a swing on the trapeze that has been the tether of my life.  “The main thing,” wrote Josiah Royce toward the end of his long life, “is to take the road fearlessly, to have courage to live one’s life.  Courage, that is the great word.  Courage is security.  There is no other kind.  The courage of faith.  You have the right to trust the future.  Myself, I believe there is some One to trust it to.”

            Courage, trust, faith….all are big words in my vocabulary and life these days.  Brennan Manning in his book “Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God”, tells the story of John Kavanaugh, who went to work for three months at “the house of the dying” in Calcutta.  He wanted to know how best to spend the rest of his life.  On his first morning he met Mother Theresa, and she asked “What can I do for you?”  Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him.  “And what do you want me to pray for?” she asked.  “Pray that I have clarity.”  “No, I will not do that.”  She responded.  “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.  I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust.  So I will pray that you trust God.”

            Gilbert Bowen in a sermon “As Time Goes By”, shares this wisdom:  “Finally, there is this strange phenomenon.  As we in the face of our mortality, learn trust rather than despair, learn perspective over confusion, we also begin to know a strange kind of deep down joy.  For what is joy?  Joy is the deep, settled enjoyment of whatever comes, grounded in the conviction that God and purpose, love and song will always be there.  In the face of its brevity, we learn to live life more intensely.”


“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”  Ephesians 5:15


“To see all of time in the light of eternity, to see every moment and every opportunity as a chance to glorify God, to receive life and experiences for what they are, and most of all, to be present.   That is to be present to others, in love, service, and availability; to be present in what I am expected to do, with diligence, care, and integrity; to be present when needed, as my workplace, friends, or community may need my contribution.”

                           Stuart McAllister, Ah, The Good Old Days.



When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.  George Washington Carver