Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Memorial Day week-end and everything is beautiful here. The sun is out early but it is not too hot—just right for lolling out on the sand. Though not quite June, it is a rare day in May. So many people are away on holiday trips that the free and open roadway is not as crowded here as it might otherwise be on such a day, providing clear easy paths for the cyclists and strollers in bright beach togs. As this day unwinds it’s leisurely hours each one appears better than the last and seems, in it’s own way, perfect for all God’s Memorial Day children—but there is a rift in the lute!

Like the fellow who keeps making silly blunders said, “I am not at all well”. Confined to quarters on this beautiful Military Remembrance Day with an undefined and so far unnamable ailment for three days now, my undisciplined creative bent has brought vividly to my mind many incurable and interminable ailments, some quite unknown to medical science, and all sure to result in great pain and suffering. Which, by the way, I already have some of, and since my sanest guess is that I harbor a strange kind of food poisoning I eat only packets of oatmeal cooked with water. For three days. I would describe my symptoms but they so far elude description; when I think of the task of telling a doctor what they are I realize immediately that I am probably beyond help, because I have never heard of some of those vague, ill defined aches and pains either.

But I have still wanted to somehow make use of that venerable phrase “a rift in the lute’ for no other reason than because I am fond of older English words and expressions. This one roughly means that one false or omitted note may ruin the whole cantata, and dates at least from the Sixteenth century—(Alfred Lord Tennyson also used it in a longish verse called Vivien’s Song). So just here, amidst my moaning and groaning comes, quite appropriately, the flash-back that a wiser one than I wrote one of those “Hee Hoo” adages, as I choose to call them, to wit: “He who is not grateful for the good things he has would not be satisfied with what he wishes he had.” And there you have the “rift”; before your very gaze I have spoiled the beauty of this day the Lord has made, and have yet to be really glad in it. Do you out there think that Forgiveness is too much to ask?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Bright, clear and airy, the shores of beach and bay appear freshly laundered this morning: “If seven maids with seven mops swept for half a year, do you suppose, the Walrus said, they could sweep the seashore clear?” I don’t remember if the Carpenter, who was reportedly walking close at hand, ever committed himself on this point, but something very much like it seemed to have come about. No maids or mops were in evidence, but all the old sand, water and sky we had endured throughout the winter and sultry grey spring were washed to a shiny newness.

This day had all the earmarks of a truly new day; to contemplate its ending, or imagine shifting its venue to unhappy hospital wards for example, seems unthinkable at the moment--where one goes or what one does on this day is irrelevant; being in it is everything and the response of choice can only be gratitude “ be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:23, 24). Do you doubt? “…you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires,… But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness”. (2 Peter, 3:3,13.).

Yet by now the nostalgic afternoon shades begin to extend across streets and walkways and this day is beginning to look like so many others. It will surely go where each day is lost to eternity, although this one has brought a message of prophecy and hope. One can be very grateful for that.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Though it is dim and muggy this morning I thought surely, as I stepped outside, that the seasonal rains were over and now I can walk freely about the neighborhood on a daily bssis. I noticed some chalk-marks on the pavement near the red no parking strip on the curbing and at closer inspection they clearly read “Wet Pain”! In my reclining years, (not wanting to use the less delicate “declining years), I have had some experience with pains of various sorts. To my knowledge there has never been anything I could refer to as ”Wet Pain”.

The street was a bit wet, perhaps from the night before, and it occurred to me that these words were a weather report of sorts, some impromptu observation from a vaguely disgruntled neighbor perhaps. On the other hand, who am I to brush aside a pain that one day may be my own; just how it is dealt with could be crucial. Such a pain may be, like that well known thorn of Paul, (2 Cor. 12: 7-10), which enabled him to say “In my weakness I am strong”, in the Lord, of course. My guess is that such a reaction does not come automatically and may need some practice—it is never to soon to begin.

Musing as I walked, thinking maybe it is something experienced only in the bathtub, I noticed what you have already guessed; all the red curbing up and down the street was clearly marked “Wet Paint”. But I am alerted and prepared now for something that could occur to me at any time in the future, Praise God.