Return to Radnor Lake

“There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature” (Henry David Thoreau).

Of all the choices and decisions I’ve made of late, precious few were any better than returning to Radnor Lake for a hike.

It’s been way too long since I last had a good long hike into nature and away from the things of man. I relish the quiet calm of nature, listening to my own thoughts, but more often listening to the still small voices of nature.

It almost seems like to speak would be to profane the sacred silence around me, so I often keep quiet and try to pay attention. Those two qualities work well not just on a hike but in any suitable occasion.

I counted 11 deer, plus countless squirrels, some turkeys, a swimming muskrat, and a busy little woodpecker. On the whole, the hike lived up to my expectations.

I often wonder if this current culture isn’t allergic to silence. You never hear dead air in any media format. People will fill any kind of silence with inane talk and chatter. It’s like we’re (me included) addicted to noise.

But there’s something curative and refreshing about peace, silence, quiet, and nature. I’m sure Thoreau was onto something with Walden Pond.

More Good Music

I recently rediscovered the early solo recordings of one Rod Stewart.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of just about everything he’s ever done, starting way back with the Jeff Beck Group and The Small Faces all the way to the present.

But there’s something about the Mercury recordings he did that are magical. I think most people will agree that Maggie May is a classic. There are plenty of other gems from this era, including Reason to Believe, You Wear it Well, and Mandolin Wind, among others.

I listen to these recordings and most of them sound fresh. Maybe it’s because they sound a lot like the Americana/Roots music coming out these days. Maybe ol’ Rod was ahead of his time.

It’s just good driving during rush hour/laying in bed with your headphone on/road trip/anywhere music.

Here’s the link if you’re interested:

Do Thou for Me

“Do Thou for me, O God the Lord,
Do Thou for me.
I need not toil to find the word
That carefully
Unfolds my prayer and offers it,
My God, to Thee.

It is enough that Thou wilt do,
And wilt not tire,
Wilt lead by cloud, all the night through
By light of fire,
Till Thou has perfected in me
Thy heart’s desire.

For my beloved I will not fear,
Love knows to do
For him, for her, from year to year,
As hitherto.
Whom my heart cherishes are dear
To Thy heart too.

O blessèd be the love that bears
The burden now,
The love that frames our very prayers,
Well knowing how
To coin our gold.  O God the Lord,
Do Thou, Do Thou” (Amy Carmichael).

There are times when we simply don’t know how to pray for a circumstance or a loved one. Try as we may, the words will not come.

I think even then God hears the groans and sighs of our petitions and knows what they mean. He hears the deepest desires of our hearts and knows best how to grant them.

Even when we have words, they aren’t always the best ones. Sometimes, we ask without such a limited point of view. Sometimes we ask selfishly. Sometimes we have too small a view of God and ask too little.

In Jan Karon’s Mitford series, Father Tim Kavanaugh always has his go-to prayer, or “the prayer that never fails,” as he calls it. The prayer goes “Thy will be done.”

You can never go wrong with leaving the matter in God’s hands.

I Wish You Enough

At an airport I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her plane’s departure and standing near the door, he said to his daughter, “I love you, I wish you enough.” 

She said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed good-bye and she left. 

He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes, I have,” I replied. 

Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing. 

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?” I asked. 

“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, her next trip back will be for my funeral, ” he said. 

“When you were saying good-bye I heard you say, ‘I wish you enough.’ May I ask what that means?” 

He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. 

“When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with enough good things to sustain them,” he continued and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory. 

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Good-bye.” 
He then began to sob and walked away.

[ Original story by Bob Perks, in Chicken Soup For the Grieving Soul ]

In Memory of Neil

In memory of the late Neil Peart, drummer for the band Rush, I’ve been listening to all of their albums from start to finish.

It’s like a trip down memory lane for me. So many songs stir up so many images and memories for me, especially from high school marching band days when I discovered the group.

I’ve confessed before that not all of my youthful musical tastes were good. I’d probably be embarrassed if I ran across some of the old cassettes I carried around with me on those band trips and vacations.

But Rush was among my better choices. They were musically and lyrically pushing the boundaries of what music could sound like. So many of their songs paint such vivid pictures in my mind.

Recently, their drummer Neil Peart passed away from brain cancer. Thus officially ends an era of my childhood. But the music has and will always live on for many generations to come.

Rock on, Tom Sawyer!

Kenny, Kenny, Kenny

“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always ‘me first,’
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, The Message).

A Lenten Prayer– A Little Early

“A lenten prayer to avoid entitlement from Richard Rohr:

‘Maybe we all should begin our days with a litany of satisfaction, abundance, and enoughness. God, you have given me another day of totally gratuitous life: my health, my eyes, my ears, my mind, my taste, my family, my freedom, my education, clean water, more than enough food, a roof over my head, a warm bed and blanket, friends, sunshine, a beating heart, and your eternal love and guidance.

To any one of these we must say, “And this is more than enough!'”

Boy, if I started out my days like that, what a difference it would make. There’d be less anxiety and more rest, less worry and more trust, less complaining and more gratitude, less bitterness and more joy.

Whenever people ask me how I’m doing, the answer I’ve been giving lately is “Better than I deserve.”

I believe Dave Ramsey has been known to say that as well, but I’m not sure if he’s the one who originated it. Whoever did was spot on.

I am always doing better than I deserve. If I’m honest, I know who I am apart from Jesus and it’s not pretty. Still, I get hesed — when the one from whom I have the right to expect nothing gives me everything instead (thanks to Michael Card for that one).

If you need something to readjust your attitude or reboot your way of thinking, that’s a good prayer. You can borrow or steal it from me anytime. I stole it from the best.

A Far Greater Grace

“yeah, so maybe the day didn’t go quite as planned, because, hey, let’s be real honest here, we aren’t what we would have planned. 
But, we can hear it, in all the noise everywhere, the grace of Your whispering Word right here: ‘All that matters? Is that I have loved you at your darkest. All that matters is that you are deeply loved in the midst of your deepest dark.’ Romans 5:8
So, yeah , we sit with that — sit with that for a good, long bit. That binds up the wounds. 
The grace in Christ is far greater than the mess in our crisis. 
That changes our world tonight…” (Ann Voskamp). 

#HonestPrayers #1000Gifts

Not every day is going to be your best day ever. Some days you can look back and say that the best part of that day is that it’s over.

But God has a a way of working even the worst of days– and even the most mediocre of days– into good. He is leading you into a deeper trust that you are loved and you are the Beloved, no matter what.

Beloved

Only what God says about you matters. Not co-workers or friends or family or anyone else. Not the naysayers or the flatterers.

Only God knows you perfectly. Only God can claim authorship and ownership. Only God knows your innermost secret thoughts and desires of your heart.

What does God say?

God said when He made you, “It is very good.”

God said when He sent Jesus for you, “I chose the nails for you.”

God says to those of His children, “You are my beloved.”

That’s what matters.