Today is raining a light mist as I sit here at the computer in my warm room. In looking out at the bluffs in the distance, I see the beginnings of fall revealing itself by the turning of the trees. As I look at the falling leaves, I think also of the last week and ponder over events that have just taken place. Like the turning of the seasons, we too go through the changes of our lives.
In the spring we are born to the newness of life and all the treasures that it holds, and soon summer approaches, challenging us with all the complexities of life. Our bodies we see too are evolving and we sense a newness of change upon us again. We are starting to act and think as the adults around us, wanting so desperately to be like them, to leave our childhood behind us. We want to dress like adults and to seek the avenues of our life's work, just like our parents and the grownups we admire. Soon we discover that the years have gone by so fast in raising our children and saving for our retirement. We begin to look back at life rather than ahead, and we sometimes wonder that if we would have done this or that, would our lives be different today? We think of our old friends and acquaintances and wonder what might have happened to them, did they fulfill all their dreams that they told us about so long ago?
On these cloudy days we might feel a little sad and think of loved ones and friends that have died so unexpectantly. Why did this happen to them, they did not get the chances we were given, why? We feel regret and a little sad for them and for ourselves for the gaps they have left in our lives. We go back to our home town and realize as we stand at the graveside of our friend or family member and look around us and think, " I have more family and friends lying out here than in town!" We feel somewhat lost and lonely, sometimes perhaps feeling a little left behind and wonder," why?" Life brings with it changes that sometimes lift us up to the heavens above and again there are times that we feel so sad, that it may seem impossible to see through tomorrow.
These are the times that I am choosing to believe that even though I cannot see through the clouds of life, I know that beyond that, is the sun. An elderly close friend named Gerry who is now 85 has been such an inspiration to me. He still golfs several times a week and works about one to two days a week at the furnishing store that he once owned. He cooks for about 30 men every Wednesday at his church's Bible study, and as well, he gets up at 3 a.m. every day to read God's word and pray. He helps his 88 year old wife in many chores around the house, since she is very incapacitated and he feels that his place is to make her happy and comfortable as much as possible. He is a man that has lost one of his two sons, several years ago to cancer, and yet, as he tells me, he knows that he will see him one day in heaven. Gerry has a positive attitude about most things and he has a smile for anyone he meets. Eating breakfast with him each Saturday at HyVee, I see many people come up to Gerry and they talk about many things that are taking place in their lives with him. Gerry is a good listener who genuinely cares about the people he meets every day. His life is spent in God's service either at work or in his private life. He prays for many people everyday and does so privately. Once in a while, I find out about Gerry's life by asking questions of him, in wanting to know more about this wonderful man. God has brought us together as friends, and we are only separated by years. I feel so honored to be able to call him, my friend.
I kidded with Gerry one day on the golf course recently, I told him that I appreciated his friendship and wanted to be just like him when I grew up. Secretly, I do want to be just like him. He looks ahead, taking little time to look back, but when he does, it is in only doing so with the desire of wanting to be a better person. Gerry is humble and hardly ever speaks of himself, and looks at life realistically, seeing his own limitations, but not letting them hold him back. He chooses to see life as exciting and does not let the bumps in the road keep him from using these to better himself. He bares his grief, but has learned to give it to God and ask Him to take it, realizing that it is too heavy for him to carry alone. Gerry has learned to let God take his shortcomings and shape him into a humble, kind and gentle soul that he is. God has also taught Gerry that, "A bruised reed I will not break." He has learned from our Savior that all fall short of God's expectations and only Jesus can help him to be the person He wants us all to be.
I am reminded of the seed that grows through the soil, it must break the hard crust above before becoming the plant it was born to be. But, in pushing hard to enter its new life, the roots have formed during this struggle in giving it the strength it needs to push the hard surface soil away. And with this extensive root system formed, it later provides the nutrients that the plant needs to survive as it enters its new phase of life as a full grown plant. Likewise, our own struggles are there to help us grow and become the person God wants us to be and become, that is, if we invite our Lord to help us. I am reminded of the children's song from Sunday school, . . . "I am weak but you are strong". . . I am weak dear Jesus, be my strength today, for you have said that you will carry our burdens if we ask."
Gerry has learned this wonderful secret that God has kept from the world who are not seeking Him, that God is our strength and wisdom, when we seek him out.
Have a wonderful day and week ahead! Augie