And this is the remarkableness of love I write about. Love that goes both ways, equally supporting the other. Too often we see love as physical attraction… But as I learned in church youth camp by Rev Elzine Strong:
“Beauty is on the skin, ugly is to the bone…Beauty fades away, but ugly stays on!”
“Your teeth shine like the stars! They come out only at night!”
I believe true love is found even when our physical self repels. True love comes from that inside person that shines forth regardless of looks. True loves comes from the heart and pays no attention to our “ugliness”.
In fact, I believe true love trumps our own failings. We may have holes in our character, but love fills in the blanks.
The Apostle Paul helps us with this concept – filling ourselves with “true” stuff both in teaching and example.
Php 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
God help all of us love truly … Just like He loved us.
I took a few moments at a favored place of memories…
San Jacinto Monument
The Battleship Texas (here since 1948) and the “San Jacinto Moument” (since 1931) – both found on the banks of The Houston Ship Channel. Each located in this place of honor for different events – one to commemorate the Declaration of Independence from another nation. The other to honor those who fought in several wars.
My earliest memories of these treasures include one of the first memorable experiences of snow, family movies made and even enjoyed in present times, picnics, climbing those big…uh…little steps, elevator to the top of the tower, and pretending to be shooting the guns on the ship…
Hours and hours spent here are immensely enjoyed in memories, and only an hour yesterday…
Of course, the ferry crossing was always fun. Seeming to dodge tugs, barges, and cargo vessels. Banks lined with fishermen, crabbers, and lots of shorebirds.
Have you ever gone back in time by memory or present visit? I tried to remember all the good times. We’re there every any bad memories?
I’m not sure all memories are real… Heat, mosquitos, crowds, and other probable disappointments are missing. This made me think about the things we remember, and don’t. I seldom remember the negative, and dwell seriously on the positive. Maybe this is what makes me a unique and friendly personality!
Even God promises to remember our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34) and if God has this kind of power perhaps I can control the memory process like He does with those things that are “at odds” with him!
These several days with my mother-in-law begs an answer…
Should something happen to you, are there people who will see to your well-being? Any number of options may be available, but without some careful planning the stress will load someone down. That care person may be stressed past their own resources. Who picks up those loose ends?
Who helps the helper?
Generally that’s where family pitches in … But if there are not enough family members to share the load, then what? The government has some options, but are they the right ones? What will it cost? Who pays? What to do when there’s not enough money?
Who gets to make all these decisions? While it may be true there are forms that give others the power to make decisions, but if money is the issue…. What then?
Each generation faces these same questions. How did they handle this 100 years ago? Perhaps the answers are found in demographics … More single wage earners, families consistently contains multiple generations living under the same roof (think Waltons, Andy Griffith, etc.) As we see our family units shrink, our modern times demand smaller homes, finances are stretched and pinched, everyone works….
Wow. Who is there for the needs of our families?
These questions keep me asking? Who helps, and who helps the helpers?
I remember from younger days a friends dad had a stroke. For over a year it seemed he sat in the living room, unresponsive. Details are fuzzy, but Mother, daughter and son all worked their roles hard, yet he finally passed and I attended his funeral in Liberty, Tx…
I wondered then, and now, were the “T’s” crossed, “I’s” dotted… How did it all end out?
We live in a complex, and expensive, time. Basic needs are barely met with all the resources at our fingertips. Throw in a couple of medical challenges and we end up floundering in the deep end. No safety net.
How old someone ages from visit to vist? From one trip to the next visit you notice aging effects.
Makes me pause. How we quickly wanted to be an older age when young, and younger when our faces reflect that age we once considered mature.
As a youngster I often imagined this later life differently than lived today. It’s like I’m feeling the age I never wanted to experience.
Oh, how changes can be cruel to some, tolerant to others and with a few it seems to leave them blessed with good experiences.
This has not been a reflection of only loved ones, but of everything! Homes. Businesses. Street corners. Personalities. Even my once new truck seems to be a tired image of its youth, especially compared to that new rental we picked up the other day!
Think today what tomorrow holds in potential for you. Prepare for the inevitable. Don’t desire to age too quickly, it will catch and overtake you at its own speed.
You need to think things through, and then put them out in words, before you know what you say is what you mean.
Listening is sometimes harder than talking…
The first point comes from listening to a video talking about one of my favorite Radio programs by Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion. While chatting to some students at a dinner, he observed:
You do not know what you think until you put it into words
You do not stop with this process. Constantly, you input the words and their responses, think about it some more, put the words back into the listening and reading world, and then listen to response, think about it more… It is an ever learning and doing process.
The sadness about all of this, too many people stop the process way too soon. Their position is not firmly established because they have failed to finish the never ending loop… They are incomplete. Even when we feel like we have all we need to make intelligent decisions and conversations – knowledge keeps advancing, so I keep learning!
The second point comes from listening to a series of messages by my pastor and friend, Brett Jones. As I am a pastor and regular preacher, I always listen to good thoughts in order to help frame me in my own calling and responsibility. Choosing who to listen to is very important, and when you find the right voice in your life then pausing your speaking in order to listen is a must.
There have been several who are constant speakers into my life, My brother, some elder statesmen who have proven their effective words and leadership, and then some valuable message givers from complete strangers.
So, think about Pete and Repeat, who were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off. Who was left? Pete and Repeat….
When do you get to stop? You’ll know. It’ll be when you have reached the ending of your effectiveness with others and you simply fade into the sunset. Of course, your words of wisdom will be recited for a long time into the future!
It means different things to different people, but I like to think that heaven will be by a Glacier and not on the beach. Snow capped mountains. Fresh dusting daily. Chilled air whipping up the coals into flames, and the heat something enjoyed at leisure – instead of having it thrust on you like unwelcome hordes of mosquitos….
If it never got over 60 degrees Fahrenheit then I would be happy!
Oh well. Hope Texas gets a cold front this week! Saw it was nearing 80 degrees in a few days.
I had a musing thought this morning. In a moment of searching, I began to simply think through life. Where I’m at. Where I thought I would be. Are the two equal to each other? Or did I simply not have vision enough to consider the future? Did I simply not dream big enough?
On one hand there is so much to be accomplished where I am at, and I’m not satisfied that I have reached the ending of my future. On the other hand, it is time to think about the next generation coming along to pick up from where I’m at and take it on further down the road than I could possibly imagine it to be.
I would love to experience the far corners of the globe. Money. Time. Mobility. All keep me anchored to where my responsibilities lie. Did I ever think of visiting Europe, or the Middle East, when I was younger. Furthest thing from my mind. But, I’ve been there. What awaits? Africa. South America. Asia. Australia. Antarctica.
I would love to finish up some education goals that I acquired late in life. Money and Time are the biggest enemies here. Did I ever think of finishing college when I was younger? Furthest thing from my mind. But, I’ve finished a Masters program and wish for more.
I would love to be heavily involved in certain things of my religious leanings. Money and Mobility, throwing in a little Time (I’m now 60), keep me from considering future connections. But I can support those who are doing what I’m thinking about right now!
I would love to have large acreage in the middle of No-Where, with mountains, streams, pastures, forests, glaciers – but all three keep me differently focused. The introvert in me would like to never see another house (!!), but the extrovert in me wants a place that people would enjoy coming to.
Somewhere along the way of life, reality needs to set in and some of the things I’ve dreamed of when young stand face to face with the facts of present life – and sometimes I simply need to set aside those things and fully immerse into this present place… And Live It to the fullest.
From my favorite book of the Apostle Paul, I take one of my favored and oft quoted scriptures. Though possibly out of context and meaning of his words, I apply it to life for all those things that will probably never happen.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. (Philippians 4:11-12 NKJV)
Now, on to the things I KNOW I can accomplish. Writing more, being a faithful pastor, husband, father, and grandpa to my one and only (and to all those who relate to me in that role at church). There’s a book or two in me. There’s a tractor to get paid off. A barn to build. A house to remodel (sure need a large living room and fireplace). There are new people to meet, and many pleasant folks in my life to continue to serve and get to know better…. Education? Maybe… Time and Money will tell….