Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Harvest...

Gratitude Journal
1. Last harvest of autumn
2. Beautiful foliage of fall!
3. Pumpkins
4. First frost on windshield
5. Flannel shirts

But the seed in the good earth - these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there's a harvest. Luke 8:15 (The Message)

These is something bittersweet about the Autumn season! Watching leaves turn from green to red to brown in a matter of a few days. Watching as they descend slowly to the ground. Hearing their crunch under foot. Feeling a soft breeze turn cool. Although welcomed after a long, hot summer, the change can also bring a reminder of the cycle which all life experiences: birth - growth - strength - decline - death...

Something about the fall as precursor of winter and cold days with roaring fires, brings promise of quiet opportunities for reading and reflection. An abundance of sunlight has always meant a faster pace, activity and movement; that seems to slow down with shorter daytime hours. I look forward to some quiet.

The older I get the more I desire to reflect on the journey. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the journey, but I haven't always spent enough time in 'thanksgiving' for the path. Nor have I spent much time considering the seeds I have planted along the way!

As I take some time to plant daffodil bulbs for springtime, I pray that God will find delight in previous 'plantings' I have made (both conscious and unconscious) and forgive the blunders I've made and redeem and bring forth the appropriate fruit in due season.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Old Photos - Gift of Memory

Gratitude Journal 10-11
1. Movies that touch my soul
2. The return of a precious memory
3. Cousins and other relatives
4. Friends that are close as family
5. The gift of forgetting...

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end...
Rev. 22:13

A recent rush to complete a family photo-album project required quick decisions to be made regarding holding onto old family pictures. Some were over 100 years old. Others were more current... BUT, for me to say current, the photos were still old!

I am reminded of Robin Williams character in the movie: Dead Poets Society. He took a group of young men to a display case filled with trophies and old photos of school athletes. He whispered over their shoulders into their ears. He told them to look hard into the eyes of the young faces in those old photos. He challenged them to see the bodies full of vigor and ready for combat on the football field of long ago. Then he said, 'the young men in the photos are now dead and time is fleeting.' He whispered to his young students that they too needed to seize the day - Carpa Diem!

As I looked over my own past - school photos of long ago, pictures of family members and ancient reunions, images of church groups and homes we lived in during formative years - I was there all over again. In those moments I was able to go back. I could remember not just the persons, but the emotions that filled my days and nights. I could visit rooms and smell my mamma's cooking. I could see the wrinkles in my grandma's face. I revisited joyful times with my favorite pets.

My childhood from the outside, was blessed. AND I do indeed have much to be thankful for. Good parents, a sister and a large extended family with good friends, enough of the basics of life to never be physically uncomfortable. But, there were scars and wounds that few knew about in those early years. I was emotionally abused as a child. Not intentionally, but with all the love and care that wounded parents could provide me!

One staple for me was God and the gift of a Christian community of faith. While there have been some very lonely periods filled with deep regret and pain, I have never gone for long without the loving heavenly Father touching my path or guiding my way. I have experienced 'the dark night of the soul' on several occasions. But there have always been pastors, or friends, or even strangers that appeared at just the right time to offer hope and healing.

So, as I continue to look at this project and hold old photos of days long ago... as I feel the experiences flooding over me with waves of emotions I thought were packed far away... I give thanks all over again. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. Not just for all of creation, but for the gift of my life and my life's journey.