Monday, June 29, 2009

Of Politics, Philosophy and Foxglove

I am not a political major nor have I ever held any kind of office except President of a Quilt Guild for one year. So, that I would venture to have anything to say politically is risky. But here goes!!
We hear those in power in one political system talk of 'winning the hearts and minds' of the people in another political system. At the same time the second political system blames the first political system for 'meddling' and in so doing is the cause of a failed election. I visited Englend many years ago and rode on a boat down the Thames and witnessed a billboard which read, ###### Unemployed. Will England Ever Work Again. A few years ago I visited Germany and witnessed the difference in the landscape, the difference in the number of delapidated buildings and so on from East to West. At the same time, I sat in with a group of prior East German teachers who had lived under the Communist rule for most of their lives. They were quick to talk of the good life they experienced under Communism. They had jobs, were guaranteed vacations, didn't have to think about who to insure their automobile with etc. This morning the man who 'madeoff' with the life savings of so many was to be sentenced for his greed but that will never bring back what his victims have lost. I watched one day as the politicians in the country that I live in yelled and screamaed at each other in an attempt to bring the government down but at the same time not quite bring it down because the opposition party wasn't in the right financial position to win a new election. I listened the other day to a medical expert give advice to the forty or so million people who live with no medical insurance and their access to medical care is in an emergency room after hours of waiting. To shorten that wait the advice was if one knew anyone who worked in that hospital be sure to drop their name. That would shorten the wait!! There was no suggestion to the people who had already waited for hours, who watched as their position in line was shoved further back by the namedropper.
Here's the philosophy. I have concluded from the little spot where I sit on this spinning globe that no political system will work without a myriad of flaws and failures unless the Golden Rule is practised. Likewise, there is no political system that would not work if the Golden Rule was practised That sounds easy, doesn't it? And it only took me a second or so to type it. The only problem is that the concept stretches far beyond the halls of Parliament or Congress or........
Saturday was a beautiful day on the shores of Georgian Bay. The man I live with deems that a very necessary part of our physical possessions, in order to live successfully on this part of the Great Lakes, is a fishing boat. Since the fish always seem to be sparse, I have found another good reason for this monster to take up most of our garage. In a little town about eight miles by water, there is the best ice cream parlour you can imagine. So on Saturday, with son, daugher-in-law and two grandchildren along that is just what we did. This particular ice cream store has no inside seating but two picnic talbes outside which gives a nice place to sit and lick before the half mile or so walk back to the boat. But on Saturday the tables were full. I felt irritation if not anger when I saw this. After all, we had come a full eight miles!! I was the one elected to stay with the dog outside. A minute or so into my wait the one table emptied. What I went through to try to position myself so that I could save this whole table must of been funny to watch!! The ice cream came after a while, we all had a place to sit so life was good!
It was on the ride back home that I became aware of just how far my actions and reactions were from the Golden Rule. What I had proposed as a solution to the failures of the governments of the world I was not able to put into practise with my own family at an ice cream parlour.
I think I hear someone suggesting, 'Yes, but that is only human nature' or 'God's grace covers those kinds of lapses.' The latter is true and I am so thankful for it but let me share what my phlox is telling me.
I have a phlox blooming beautifully in my garden just now standing tall at about seven feet. It is hard to form an accurate judgment as to the height of a phlox when from my five foot frame I drop my head back as far as it will go and the top of the phlox looks wa-a-ay up there. Why it is so tall I know not for sure. But I suspect, that from Phil Phlox's shady spot in the garden, he stands just as tall as he can to be nearer to the SUN. In the simple segments of a life's journey, like going to an ice cream store, I wonder how much happier we would be if we stood just as tall as we could in order to be as close as we could to the Son who, without failure, practised the Golden Rule.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What Was Is!

How to prepare for old age - practise a serene spirit and a grateful heart before your God.
I just came in from the Nursing Home and almost without exception I can say it is my favorite thing to do. Louise, from her Alzheimer riddled brain was busy getting ready for Christmas - the family was coming home. When I was ready to leave she said, "Oh,no! Don't go. I have made you a pie and put clean sheets on the spare bed" - indicative of her life. Though I only met her two weeks ago I dearly love her.
Then I went to see Verna who is strapped in her chair until someone puts her in bed. The position they lay her down in is the position they will find her in when they get her up to sit in her chair until the next bedtime. In our conversation today she said this to me. "If i have been able to draw someone closer to the Lord since I had my stroke, I would gladly have another one."
It is not possible to share in exchanges like this and not be lifted up, not come away desiring to be better than one has been. And so I look forward to Friday when I will again share a couple hours or so of my afternoon with the dear folks in the Nursing Home.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What I Learned From A Farmer

I met a farmer about a week ago. At least, he was! He was busy running his Ontario farm, raising his boys, loving his wife when things suddenly changed. He went out one morning to do the usual morning chores but this morning, when he returned to the house his wife was blind. I can only imagine the concern and confusion that ensued. Doctors appointments and tests followed and the diagnosis for his wife was MS.
What to do now? The farmer and his wife decided that God had some plan for their lives that they knew not of at the moment, but they would entrust their lives to Him and see what happened. As he told his story to us we were amazed! The details of how everything happened that happened I either didn't hear clearly or can't remember but I know they ended up in Africa working to share the story of Jesus with the tribal people in Senegal.
My husband asked, "Which denomination were you with?"
His response, " No denomination. I just taught holiness."
He told us how he never asked for a dime in all that he did but had their needs met anyway, he told of delivering medical help to the people though his formal education hadn't gone far past Grade 8, he told of purchasing an airplane for $400 which he used, without training in how to fly it, to take needed help to the tribal villages.
My curiosity could be contained no longer. My question, "What do you mean, you taught holiness?" His eyes teared up, his voice cracked as he said, "I taught the wonderful gift of Jesus, I taught how much God loves us, that He wants to dwell in our hearts but can't except through the amasing gift of His son." At this point, he waved his arms to encompass the town and shared his sadness because he doesn't feel that most churches are focusing to the poing they should on that great gift. His passion for the atonement I won't soon forget.
His wife? Somewhere along the way in her more than three decades in Senegal, her sight was restored. The MS? I don't know. I know she lives today in the Nursing Home that I visit weekly. I read a line a few days ago: "There is no reality except God's reality." I thought of that line when I visited her. She has Alzheimer's. When I found her she was sitting in the Common Room, a huge clothes basket full of face cloths, dish cloths etc beside her. The contents of the basket she was folding and refolding over and over again. I spoke to her and said, "You are very busy." Her answer, "Yes, the children need these for school." We talked for a while, her in one sphere of reality, me in another. When I witnessed the serenity in her face, in her tone, in her movements I was not sure whose realsity God would take as His own. I said I will come and see you again. She said that would be nice but be sure and ring before you do. We might not be home.
I will go and see her again. I will ring before I do!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jonah Or Not?

It was great fun to be with our children and grandchildren yesterday for our grandson's graduation. However, besides the downpouring rain that dampened our enthusiasm a bit at times, Grandpa lost a tooth off his denture just after he finished his dinner. This morning he was able to find a denturist who, for $96.00 glued it back on (Crazy Glue would have been cheaper). He did come home with, besides the glued in tooth, a story that sweetened the loss of the $96,00 just a bit. The denturist has it that a fisherman was fishing and got himself a nice catch. When he cleaned the fish he came upon a set of dentures. For some odd reason these teeth had a man's name on them. Said fisherman was able to track down the man to find out that his teeth had been missing for five years. A fish tale or a Jonah story?? I'll let you be the judge!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


A new blogger I am. I am not at all sure I have done any part of it right. But here goes!
Several years ago I watched as a mockingbird picked up a small tufted titmouse in his beak and twirled him around unmercifully. I watched that same mockingbird or one of his brothers do similarly mean things over and over. I couldn't help but wonder how he could be so mean. Then seemingly, I knew. He had no song of his own!! When I did a little looking on the internet on mockingbirds, I found they , indeed, do have a song of their own but seldom sing it. Rather they mimic the songs of the birds around them.
There seemed a 'faith' lesson in this to me. Perhaps we Christians fuss and fight, dicker and divide, because the faith song we sing is not our own. I want 'the song that I sing' to be my own, my relationship with God to be deep and personal, the experiences of my life to have 'growth' meaning for me and perhaps for others. Hence, the name - 'A Song of My Own.' Hopefully, the notes will become sweeter as I go along.