Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Small Lighs of History

It is only through an unfolding of the people’s histories that a nation’s culture can be studied in its full meaning.  Each discovered United States family history becomes a newly revealed small piece of American History. The history of a country is only the selected histories of all of its people.                                                     Alex Haley

In the opening paragraph of Vladamir Nobakov’s memoir, he states, “There is a common sense that tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. In the context of cosmic and human history, each life is but the briefest flash of an eternal strobe light -- so brief that it may be little noted nor long remembered.”  However, when each crack of human light is linked with other little cracks of human light, they illuminate the history of the world, the history of America and the histories of our families. Our own little crack of light is the sum of all those little cracks of light that have flashed before. 

A new century and a new millennium begins. The end of a century signifies the closing of a volume of ongoing history, each word written by the thousands of people who lived it, each year forming a paragraph, each decade forming a chapter, ten chapters in all, each with a title, and then bound together as The History of the Century. For whatever reason, the turning of the calendar at the end of a century always seems to serve as an eternal beacon for the history of the world -- a turning point.  At the end of the eighteenth century, America was a feisty child reaching out to find itself.  The country’s geography and institutions were still incomplete and unexplored.  The end of the nineteenth century found America rapidly migrating from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy brought about by technical innovation and invention.  America had survived the brutal war with itself and had begun to think that it had a “Manifest Destiny” to spread its great experiment to others in the world that needed our salvation.  With the backdrop of our piece of the twentieth century firmly embedded in our memories, we can only wonder what the next hundred years might bring. It is a positive act to look to the future, but it is a mistake to not look to the past, for it is on those bricks of history that America and its citizens will build the future.

The study of history is too often seen as a boring recitation of events, dates and bigger than life people that must be committed to memory in order to pass a test. This approach leaves history in a fading light, too weak to illuminate the richness of its human stories. The lives of ordinary people are often seen as statistical data on genealogy charts, government records or weathered tombstones in ancient graveyards -- born, married, died, buried.  The cold facts of our life’s journey are linear, but we don’t live our lives that way.  At best, life is a jagged journey filled with turning points. Turning points can be viewed as fate, destiny or simply part of God’s plan for us. Their true meaning can only be assessed after time has passed.  These points in our lives can be good or bad, fulfilling or disappointing, lucky or unlucky, and sometimes hidden in a closet.  It is the human stories behind the statistics that are the living history of America, our families and us. Our ancestors, both living and dead, are or were real people and elements of their blood rush through us. Our ancestors, just as we are, were good and bad, tragic and triumphant, adventurous and mundane, warriors and pacifists, leaders and followers, dads and moms, brothers and sisters and grandpas and grandmas. The history of America is forever interwoven with individual stories of its people.

Not the end. The beginning.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Signs of Comfort!

God speaks to us in many ways and sends His messengers in many forms.
For some it may be in the form of Angels.  For others... Birds, and yet for others it may
 be something else, but always something significant or special to that individual, so they may understand and gain knowledge of the never ending depth of His Love.   

An amazing sign from God," says Janice Hurst of Baton  Rouge  "One day after my 17-year-old son Cory had been run over andkilled in a hit and run incident, I was sitting on my porch sobbingwhen I noticed several beautiful red birds gathered under the tree.
I asked God if he would send a red bird to me as a sign that my sonwas okay and with Him.  I felt kind of embarrassed asking for such athing because I couldn't imagine a bird just coming up to me.Meanwhile, the mail came and I had a small package in which was a
letter from Reader's Digest.  I have never ordered anything fromReader's Digest so therefore I thought this was rather strange. Inside the package was a small note saying, 'I'm sorry for not beingable to fill your request, but as a consolation gift I have includeda small gift.'  When I emptied the package I was so shocked to see astained glass red bird and will treasure this little red bird as reminder that even when we think God is not listening to our prayers,
He is.  Thanks be to God!”
A woman lost her father to cancer. The next day and days, thereafter, a red bird came and sat on her deck rail. When her father later passed away, the next day she noticed that another redbird had joined the first. God works in amazing way. She always knew it was a sign her father and mother were together again.

Humming Birds are another sign many people see as symbols of loved ones who have passed.  When my nephew was in the Hospice his mother noticed a humming bird who was around everyday. She told a couple of bis friends about it. When he passed away, a couple of his friends who lived in Phoenix, immediately saw a humming bird at their house.

I lost my son at age 35 in 2013. I have two symbols that bring up the memory and the grief I feel for him. One is a wisp of a white cloud against an azure blue sky. I watch as it floats by and then the warmth of the sun takes it away. The other I find at the Rock Church. On the ceiling during the worship time there are images floating on the ceiling like a disco ball. I visualize them as angels among which is my Marky

                                      Mark Angel in the Sky!

                             Wispy and white in the sky so blue
                             Was an angel I thought that I knew.
                          Could this be my Marky just floating by
                            Checking on his old dad from the sky?
                       The warmth of the sun is taking you away.
                               Oh how I wish you could stay.
                      I miss you every day, but what can I do?
                  Look to the sky for the next time you are in the blue.
                                            Good to see you.