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Alaska

We’ve had another good winter on the beach, in spite of illness and interruption.  Now it’s time to follow the compass northward.

But my growing (and surprising) wanderlust won’t stop in Ohio; we’re planning to return to the land of the Northern Lights.  I still cannot explain how I’m so strangely gripped by that frozen Valhalla.

“There is one word of advice and caution to be given those intending to visit Alaska for pleasure, for sight-seeing. If you are old, go by all means; but if you are young, wait. The scenery of Alaska is much grander than anything else of the kind in the world, and it is not well to dull one’s capacity for enjoyment by seeing the finest first.” Henry Gannett, “General Geography,” Harriman Alaska Series

O Lord My God…How Great Thou Art

 

 

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Toward Lent

Thomas Merton is one of the authors I study every morning.  The compilation of many of his journal entries are in a daily devotional format entitled A Year With Thomas Merton.  Here is his entry for today:

“It is on the Cross that God has known us: that He has searched our souls with His compassion and experienced the full extent of (our) capacity for wickedness: it is on the Cross that He has known our exile, and ended it, and brought us home to Him.”

Yes, when our guilt has carried us away from our sense of His presence, we are indeed in exile.  That was once my life: shunned, abandoned, and separated by what seemed like a vast, empty chasm from all that was good.  It was the dawning (or redawning) awareness of His suffering with me, born out of a love that I will never fathom, that ended my exile and led me home.

For all who are in that faraway land of darkness this morning, my prayer is that you’ll see the Cross of Christ as a sign that He knows your homesick pain and is holding out His nail-scarred hand to bring you back.

 

 

 

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Morning Thoughts

Welcome back.  Sorry I’ve been away so long; a lot of sickness this winter.  Congestion, weakness, etc.  They’re calling it “non-specific rhinitis, and I’m on some high-powered drugs that seem to be working but are accompanied by rough side-effects.  More sensitivity now for those with chronic breathing problems (I thought I’d already had that sensitivity training…more than a few times!)  Oh well…

Valentine’s Day.  How thankful I am for finding love in this world of broken promises and dreams!  When our love is grounded in God’s grace, forgiveness, and new beginnings, then we can give and receive what the Bible calls agape, that unconditional acceptance that we desperately need in order to be human.

Veterans, a huge part of your healing will be in making this discovery.  You will need to trust, and that may take a long time (as it did in my case).  I know you’ve put armor around your heart, because that’s what you were trained to do.  You had to steel yourself against all emotions in order to function in hard and horrid circumstances, but now is the time to “stack arms,” to find a safe place, and to try opening yourself to human affection.  It will require the same kind of courage you displayed while on active duty, and it may be a long hump (journey), but I know you can do it.

I’ll be praying for you…and for all who need to know beyond all doubt that they are loved, not for what they do, what they possess, what medals they’ve earned, but for who they are.