Faithful friends

St. Augustine Beach

“The friends whom the freshness of your grief has gathered around you, will forget your loss much sooner than you will; and the force of their sympathy will have spent itself, long before the tide of your grief has ceased to flow. Few, very few, are the faithful friends whose tender interest is as long-lived and as deep, as our tribulation.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841

I am blessed to have friends who still gather around me. They call, text, invite me to lunch. Their sympathy has not spent itself. I am thankful for their tender interest.

How tenderly

“To the widow of the departed Christian, there is another ingredient in the cup of her sorrow, another aggravation of the loss she has sustained, and that is—she is deprived of her own spiritual comforter and companion…How tenderly did he solve her doubts, relieve her perplexities, and comfort her in her sorrows. How sweet was it to take counsel with him on the things of the eternal world, and to walk to the house of God in company…but that tongue is now silent in the grave; those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841

Chuck was very tender when it came to handling my questions, my complaints, my sadness. He was patient with me.

I find I can walk into the house of worship alone, but sometimes I can’t make it through the service without tears. But, I did today, so it was a good day. I keep responding that I have good days and bad when people ask. It seems to have become strings of good days and strings of bad days.

“…those holy hands are now no more lifted up to bless the household; that mild scepter of paternal rule has dropped.” I found this to be so true during this first Christmas without Chuck. I had hoped to step into his place and lead the family in scripture reading and prayer, but it just didn’t happen. And I felt like a failure. I don’t know how to be the spiritual head of my family. This is part of the cup of my sorrow.

Avetts in October #25: Today’s the Day

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Redwoods- 2018

Today is The Avett Brothers concert in Pelham, Alabama. As hard as it is to listen to sometimes, I sure hope they play No Hard Feelings.

 

“Why does it seem so often to be a human quality to forget those who have done good things for us, and to remember those who have hurt us?” – from Sold Into Egypt by Madeleine L’Engle

 

“Even as a tiny girl, she would just absorb the meanness of people around her, and as that strange girl slapped her,  Margaret literally turned the other cheek. ‘I just took it,’ she said sixty years later. ” – from Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg

 

Avetts in October #21: A Sock Without a Boot

 

“And Tiller? Without you, I’m just a sock without a boot” – Sairy from Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

Sharon Creech is one of my very favorite children’s authors. Her books are full of endearing characters and heartwarming stories. Just like The Avett Brothers’ Songs.

Sairy’s words to her husband, Tiller, remind me of these lyrics from I Wish I Was.

 

I’m not a song

I am not a sweater

I’m not a fire

I am something better

I’m a man in love writing you a letter

Will you take it

Will you keep it

Will you read it

Believe it

I love you

I’m sorry

 

I love watching the thought process as the song is put together. As a poet I can so relate to this.

 

Thoughts from Great Expectations #1

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“…I have often thought that few people know what secrecy there is in the young, under terror. No matter how unreasonable the terror, so that it be terror.” – from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I have come to understand this more the older I get. Last year our grandson went through a long patch of waking up afraid in the middle of the night. It wasn’t an easy fix, because it was difficult to understand just what was going through his mind. No matter how unreasonable his terror may have seemed to an adult, it was real to him.

Last week I experienced the crushing heartache of a young boy gripped by a real fear. His aunt had overdosed and was not expected to live. Here he was at school, with all the ridiculousness of middle school going on all around him, and he was worried, afraid, and grieving for someone close to him that he may not ever see again. She was miles away in another town and he was helpless.

I’ve had students who have lost siblings and parents while under my care. I’ve known some who have attempted suicide and others who have been tugged through a messy divorce.

As teachers, we are a part of a student’s life for hours on end. We can make the most of our relationship with them by being more perceptive and understanding. But most importantly, we can take them to the Lord in prayer.

Conversations

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The conversations we have at the water cooler, coffee machine or lounge can be used by God to transforms people’s lives. People meet Jesus in unusual places all the time. ” – Woodrow Kroll

Think about the woman who met Jesus at the well, or Zacchaeus who was summoned down from the tree where he had climbed. Or the fishermen who were called away from fishing to follow Christ. Jesus preached in the synagogue, but He didn’t stay there. He went to where the people were. That’s something to think about.

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house’ – Luke 19:5

The Salt of theEarth

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Notes from 9/14/14 and today

Salt enhances flavor. I’m learning this more and more as I’ve been cooking a lot of beans lately. Too little does little good. Too much can burn. Applying this to the idea of Christians being salt in this world, it makes a lot of sense. We are not to be over zealous, especially in the way we talk. We are to be gentle and meek.

Do I give flavor or suck the flavor out? The gospel itself is offensive to the lost, but my character should not be offensive. Salt also creates thirst. So, too, should my life cause others to thirst after Christ.

If I am the salt of the earth, then the earth is being seasoned by me – one of His people.

How salty am I? How consistent am I? How intentional am I?

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” Mathew 5:13

Religious?

Image   I took a “Social Attitude Test”   online today. Not sure what to think of myself. It says I am a tender-hearted  moderate conservative. It also says this is the profile one might associate with a sincere clergyman! I am “Trusting of religion and have a compassionately humanistic attitude toward humanity in general”. Hmm.

I’m also said to be economically right-wing. And politically I’m an idealist with few strong opinions.

So, what in the world does this gobbledy-gook mean? I like the part about being tender-hearted. That’s a nice way to think about myself.  I’m no clergyman, but I hope I AM sincere.

 It’s the trusting of religion part that bothers me. If I go by most of the world’s thoughts on religion, that could mean a lot of things. I don’t want to be religious in the Webster’s dictionary sort of way which says “relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity”. God is so much more than an ultimate reality.

But, the Bible does give us a definition of religion in James 1:27:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

So, if someone calls me religious, I would hope it is for this reason. I am a Christian, and this is the kind of religious I want to be. 

(Ilustration “Love” by graur razvan ionut)