“How many times have you heard someone say “If I had his money, I could do things my way”?
But little they know, it’s so hard to find 1 rich man in 10 with a satisfied mind.” (Johnny Cash, circa 1978)
Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old… or a friend when you’re lonely… or a love that’s grown cold.
April 15, 2013, Monday, 2:49 p.m. , this date will probably soon be forgotten by many of us, but for thousands who were there on this day in the Boston Marathon, it will never go away.
Television and radio and maybe movies yet to come will keep alive this terrible event, hoping that this will not occur again. In the “course of human events” it is impossible to promise that this will ‘never’ happen again.
Those who survived , some were fortunate enough to be out of range of the explosions, look back and say that they are glad to be alive. There is no mention of the loss of wealth or the possibility that lawsuits could occur, just the ” I am glad to be alive!” and said by some who lost legs, “I am glad to be alive!”
Our country has always tried its best to keep alive the memory of those caught in these events. The list is a long one from World Wars to the Trade Center and to the present time when tragedy seems to become local. We love closure and set up monuments and even wooden crosses along the roadside to make sure that those gone are remembered.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? … Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. – Psalm 2
This seems to be our heritage. What is the answer? (I knew you were going to ask!)
Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]. – James 4:14…Amplified Bible
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
After a torpedo attack on the convey, A sailor is anxious… his friend answers-
“Why is the Captain slowing? He always does, to pick up survivors!” C.S. Forester’s character is so like JESUS, who will always be there for survivors in our lives. (THE GOOD SHEPHERD,1955)
The Cracked Acorn: Teardrop
If you want fickle weather, try the Alaska Aleutian Islands. Rain, snow, high winds, and even a bit of sunshine go through the daily blender of some of the world’s noted fits thrown by Mother Nature. I know. For the better part of a year in the 60s, I headed a team that did passive satellite photographic operations (SATTRACK). Since outside work required a clear night sky, we often had lots of time on our hands. I became very acquainted with the airmen that were barracked in the composite building that housed the mess hall and recreational activities.
We had one clear day a month when we could go beach combing on Shemya Island. At water’s edge, you could find what looked like round gemstones. These were really pieces of Coca-Cola and Clorox bottles left over from the WWII occupation of the island. The whole island was a treasure of junk and stuff left behind by the thousands of military and their dependents. A daily magnet was run over the island’s roads to pick up nails. Flat tires were very common. You never carried a spare but had the motor pool come out and install a fresh tire.
One of the airmen at our daily coffee table had picked up a Bering Sea polished piece of Clorox bottle. He called it his Australian teardrop; he thought it was washed up on that side of the island. It was very pretty with a tiny trapped bubble inside. He had taken it to the gem shop and mounted it in a necklace. His roomie wound up with it, never told of its ancient history. I remember the morning that we were shown stateside photos of the roomie’s fiancée. She was posed in her best with the teardrop around her neck.
We kept the secret and knew that the two airmen had never conversed about it and the seller was obviously not going to do any talking. His roomie was strong and when he came out to change a flat sometimes stripped the wheel’s lug nuts. He liked to tear out the last pages of your novel if he found it unattended. I suspect that at an early age he was tearing wings off live butterflies. Of course, we used every occasion to ask the perpetrator to get us more coffee and bring us a doughnut or two. The silence was golden.
I wonder today where the teardrop is. It may have become an heirloom or in an antique shop. If a jeweler has looked at it, he would know instantly it was just a piece of glass. No one knows that this once worthless stone has gone through 20 years plus, where it was polished by the world’s worst turbulent weather.
Christ saw the multitudes that followed Him like so many teardrops. This is seen in Matthew 5:1-16. He knew their hearts as He knows ours today. Life will polish us and if we are faithful to Him, we shall become that polished stone that has lasting beauty.
“Master, the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness, No shelter or help is nigh; Carest Thou not that we perish? How canst Thou lie asleep, When each moment so madly is threat’ning A grave in the angry deep?” The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will, Peace be still! They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, Peace, Be still! Peace, peace, be still! (from SACRED SELECTIONS) – Mark 4:39
The Cracked Acorn: Departure
Sooner than we think, the air will seem cleaner and crisp. Early on weekday mornings, I might hear the train whistle at the Haymarket crossing. It’s that lonesome sound that reminds me of my youth when trains stopped in every town to pick up mail and passengers.
When I was maybe 5 years old, I was with my mother when she took my aunt to nearby Auburn, Kentucky to catch the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) to Louisville. We waited in the station room until we heard the whistle and the clanging bell, smoke, and steam as the train pulled to a stop at the station’s back door. We are all familiar with airports but I don’t think many are with train stations. At the airport, it is a quick hug and then off but with trains, it seems you have an eternity to say “good-bye”. You can wave at boarding and even while the train gathers speed to leave for the big city. (I hid my tears by holding mother’s leg!)
The Hawaiians’ “aloha” may be a better word which means hello and good-by or farewell. Aloha says thank you for sharing your life, energy, and breath with us, and thank you for making us aware that we are all family. Good-by, so I found in the dictionary, is an alteration of God be with you, suggesting an unknown break of time till we see each other again, and during that period we will need God’s protection and assurance that all will work out for those leaving and for those who remain.
Acts chapter 20, tells us of Paul’s good-by to the elders at Ephesus, 36 Having so spoken he bowed his knees and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept freely; they fell on Paul’s neck and fervently kissed him.38 They were grieved especially over the remark they would not see his face anymore. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
SACRED SELECTIONS #456 has some beautiful thoughts also about “good-by” – WITH FRIENDS ON EARTH WE MEET IN GLADNESS, WHILE SWIFT THE MOMENTS FLY, YEA, EVER COMES THE THO’T OF SADNESS, THAT WE MUST SAY GOOD-BY. NO PARTING WORDS SHALL E’ER BE SPOKEN IN YONDER HOME SO FAIR BUT SONGS OF JOY, AND PEACE AND GLADNESS, WE’LL SING FOREVER THERE. WE’LL NEVER SAY GOOD-BY IN HEV’N, WE’LL NEVER SAY GOOD-BY FOR IN THAT LAND OF JOY AND SONG, WE’LL NEVER SAY GOOD-BY.
And not to forget these lovely verses from Ruth chapter 1:
14 At this, they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Did you know that before too long, 20 percent of the American population will be over 65 years of age? Those of us at this moment who are 80 or over have a good chance to be 90+ years old. In the last few years, the number of our citizens reaching 100 has doubled. I have joined the 80 elite groups and it was brought home when the grocery checkout lady asked me if I needed assistance to get my groceries to the car. I only had about 5 small items in two bags.
THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING OVER 80
1) Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2) No one expects you to rush into a burning building.
3) Things you buy now won’t wear out.
4) You give up trying to hold your stomach in.
5) You can sing along with elevator music.
6) Your secrets are safe with your friends who soon forget them entirely.
7) Uncle Sam will never draft you.
My observations have been: You never run to anything, because you can’t move that fast. You seem to get the wrong ideas about technical devices like the low battery chirping of your smoke alarm could be the voice of a departed loved one.
You think the world is out to get you because – I have never been able to take the top off a prescription bottle that reads, “Push down while holding tabs and turn counterclockwise.” A young lady holding a clipboard came down the drive and asked me for money to clean up the Bay.” I tried to tell her I never messed it up! I have noticed that a child of 5 can quote the payload weights and liftoff speed of the space shuttle is fawned over with all kinds of sugary remarks; grey-haired ones who try this can clean out a McDonald’s in five minutes. (A good movie on this is THE WRONG BOX-rent it for lots of laughs.)
Older people “love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, leaves in the wind, pictures of their friends, birds of the world, honest open smiles, kisses from a child, tomatoes on the vine, winners when they cry, little fuzzy pups, slow-moving trains and music when it’s good and rain.” (thanks to Tom T. Hall)
The Bible has not left you without encouragement: Study these few verses – Deut. 5:33, Genesis 25:8, Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 3:13,15,16,9:10-11, Titus 2:2-3, Isaiah 46:3-4, I Timothy 5:1-2.
(Proverb 16:31-Grey hair is a crown of glory, it is gained by living a godly life. Proverb 20:29- The glory of the young is their strength, the gray hair of experience in the splendor of the old.)
AND WHEN I HEAR THE BOATMAN’S CALL, COME CROSS THE CHILLY TIDE; I SHALL NOT FEAR TO LAUNCH MY BARQUE, FOR CHRIST IS AT MY SIDE, HE BORE THE STING OF DEATH FOR ME, HAS MET MY EV’RY NEED; AND SO I SING THE SWEET REFRAIN, CHRIST’S LOVE IS ALL I NEED. (from #401, Songs of FAITH and PRAISE)
Rely on the love of God for us.- 1 John 4:16
The Cracked Acorn: Landmarks
It was a sad moment when I learned that the Tastee Drive-Thru Clown was gone! The clown on the Bowling Green, KY by-pass, was a victim of the velvet hammer of progress. The nearby medical center probably needed the area for additional parking. This was one of the last places that were really fast food. You drove up to the window, placed your order, and within a few minutes, your burger, fries, and the milkshake was handed to you. You drove a few feet into the parking lot and enjoyed your meal. It served me well during my college days. My family was treated there on several trips to visit my parents. I can imagine that the local people used this as a landmark- We live near the Tastee Clown-you can’t miss it!
The District of Columbia almost lost THE BIG CHAIR that was a trademark of the Curtis Brothers furniture warehouse. It stands nearly 20 feet high and again was the reference point for directions for over 40 years. Small restaurants that were mom & pop operations are about gone. Most have given away to high rises and office buildings. Mom is not around anymore to start the day’s turkey or chicken cooking. Forget about that slice of homemade pie you like for lunch with the blue plate special. The pie is now baked in a neighboring state and trucked into the area during the wee hours of the morning.
Those of us who were born about the end of World War II knew that times were different. My father was off to farm, and my mother made sure I ready to walk to catch the school bus. At one time, I had to walk a half-mile across three fields and back again in the afternoon. I looked forward to enjoying my walk home in the woods of tall walnut and hickory trees. The gravel road to the farmhouse wandered with several twists crossing two crude cattle bridges. It was not in a hurry to get you anywhere. I always thought I would have a house built someday in one of its curves.
This never happened. When I graduated from college, I went east to work in Virginia. At vacation times, I returned to visit the homestead. It was while I was away a property dispute arose, and it was settled by bulldozing much of the woods. The old road was gone. A straight new road running alongside a new fence greeted my return, the old road would never be there again for me in this life.
Two roads diverged in a woods,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by. (Robert Frost)
As I travel on life’s pathway, Knowing not what the years may hold; As I ponder, hope grows fonder, Precious memories flood my soul; PRECIOUS MEMORIES, HOW THEY LINGER, HOW THEY EVER FLOOD MY SOUL, IN THE STILLNESS OF THE MIDNIGHT, PRECIOUS, SACRED SCENES UNFOLD. (lyrics-Sacred Selections for the Church) – Psalm 145:7
(Jacob said) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and all that thou shalt give me I will surely give a tenth unto thee. (Genesis 28:22)
The Cracked Acorn: Dyes
Oh, my! It has happened again, sadly, I remember the gravy on the tie given to me by my piano teacher or the favorite ballpoint pen in my shirt that leaked at the wrong time. Take it to the cleaners and ask them to do their best and not always does a stubborn stain disappear. My father in the fifties worked as a knitter in a hosiery mill, making seamed ladies nylons. When they came off the machine they were white and had to be sent to the dyer. Here the hose was submerged in a vat for several hours to change the white to rose or beige or the latest colors that the market demanded. I was told that white nylon was the strongest and could be weakened by the dyes. Supposedly this art appeared in the Middle East about 5,000 years ago and our word “dye” in an English word.
In Biblical times, garments of beautiful colors were very expensive, both for the cloth and for the dyes. A garment signified importance or elevation in respect.
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:3,4)
The Egyptians were the masters of color and the Hebrews may have brought this to perfection when the tabernacle was built. The Lord told them to “make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet” (Exodus 26:1), “And they shall take gold, and blue, and scarlet, and fine linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.” (Exodus 28:5,6) and in the vail “And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fined twined linen of cunning work,” (Exodus 26:31) This vail was torn when Christ was crucified. (Matthew 27:51)
Purple was seen as a royal color and desirable to buy, one of Paul’s converts at Thyatira was Lydia, a seller of purple. Today, all these wonderful and bright colors are easily found on all our clothing. Some translators have attached meanings to certain colors, such as WHITE-purity and innocence; BLACK-mourning, affliction, a calamity; RED-bloodshed; PURPLE-royalty, luxury; BLUE-deity, sky, and heaven; SCARLET-war, valor; GREEN-life, youth, and abundance. The red, white, and blue are in our flag. The book of Esther is a “colorful” book of the Bible and worth the reading and re-reading especially the description of the palace of King Ahasuerus.
Our hymnal has two songs that reflect color. BEAUTIFUL ROBES OF white, Beautiful land of light, Beautiful home so bright where there shall come no night; Beautiful crown I’ll wear, Shining and bright o’er there, Yonder is mansion fair, Gather us there. and BEHOLD A STRANGER AT THE DOOR! He gently knocks, has knocked before, has waited long, is waiting still; you treat no other friends so ill. But will He prove a Friend indeed! He will, the very Friend you need! The man of Nazarene ’Tis He, With garments dyed at Calvary.
For us, older gentlemen who still wear ties -remember said, “If your children see you get a spot on your best shirt they’ll send you to a nursing home!” Once at work, I saw the cure for this, a gentleman in the cafeteria just tucked his tie inside his shirt while he was eating. Does not work for bow ties.
May the good Lord bless and keep you, Whether near or far away. May you find that long-awaited,
Golden day today.
May your troubles all be small ones, And your fortune ten times ten, May the good Lord bless and keep you,
‘Til we meet again.
The Cracked Acorn: Physician
Times are changing. Correct that! They have changed.
I have used the same physician for 30 years. In the beginning, an office visit was easily scheduled and welcomed. A session consisted of at least a half hour’s conversation in which we discussed my general health and pinpointed concerns that could cause problems.
In the first several years I could walk in, and wait for an appointment, or maybe telephone and talk to the doctor. Prescriptions were easily re-filled and medical advice freely given. I knew the receptionists and nurses by their first names. But lately, I find my medical visit may be days away. And when I finally arrive at the office I may have the nurse interview me and write a prescription. I know the doctor is still there, I hear them call his name, and he answers from somewhere in the bowels of the waiting rooms.
Once the office had a few waiting when I arrived, now it is full – they must have gotten up earlier than I. The doctor never returns my calls and the receptionist act as a go-between; it’s either “you better come in” or “do you need to see the doctor”. Are people sicker than ever or is this the result of good health coverage. Our old country doctor said that people only got sick after the sun went down – now it seems to be 24/7. I feel now that I should really have a serious problem before I take the doctor’s time or get in the way of people who may be sicker than I!
What I have experienced through the years with my medical doctor can so easily happen to our religious life. When we come out dripping from the baptismal waters, we are eager to continue our one on one talks with our Lord. As the years go by, circumstances can intervene to stunt our fervor and our prayers maybe “when it is convenient.”
Eventually, we are drawn away from the center and feel alone. It is difficult more than any other time in history to remain from the first day dedicated to keeping our family tie to the Lord; our Lord whom we confessed and were baptized into His Kingdom. This is why our Christian family is so important, encouraging one another as we see the day approaching(Heb.10:25); we know not when our Lord may return.
Remember: Matthew 4:24 – And His fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
Luke 4:40 When the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
Song: #291 – Songs of Faith and Praise, The Great Physician now is near
The Great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus!
Sweetest note in seraph song;
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung:
Jesus, blessed Jesus!