A fellow asked me the other day, "Where did you get your title for a blog?" and the first thing I did was to wonder why he was asking me this question. You have to know, I have provoked a few people with talk about my view of Christianity and I had to wonder, "Am I being set up for something more than just an innocent question?" Believing him to be sincere, my only response had to be, I write because I have been really privileged to live a long life, have been abundantly blessed by God and I want others to know about it. And while I am it, I need to quote the scripture that changed my life. You will find it in the gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 10: "The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy. I come that they might have life and have it - abundantly."
With that said, you need to know I will be turning to it more and more as we go along.
I was all set to remind you of an incident that happened a few years ago when I was interrupted by word of a new book, actually, a book that was new to me. Its title made me think of the title I use for this blog, "A Life Well Lived". It;s author, Leonard Sweet, is a Pastor who has written others and can be found on the Internet by using his name, followed by .com.
And when I hear about a book, before rushing out to purchase it, I go to www.amazon.com, type in the title of the book and click on the title when it comes up. That leads me to the book reviews and I read what others have to say. Here is part of one review, entered by a UMC Pastor:
"Sweet points out that somewhere along the way, humanity forgot how to play – or at least relegated it to the life of a child. Life became about pursuing a 5-year plan rather than an eternal Promise; following rules and regulations rather than chasing relationships; avoiding learning from mistakes to striving to never make a mistake at all. We have been so focused on successfully knowing/following God’s ‘plan’ for our lives (and in our churches) that we have forgotten how to enjoy God in every aspect of life."
Therein lies the reason I have for the title of my blog. I have made lots of mistakes and through them all, I have found God to be the more perfect answer to all, each and every one of them. He has taught me to be faithful - full of faith, as that is His nature.
Now, back to what I started out to write. Yesterday, Katie interviewed a woman you may not know. You certainly have heard of her husband as he was the demented soul who entered an Amish school house in Pennsylvania and eventually, murdered five of the children before turning the gun on himself. According to the testimony of his wife, there was nothing wrong on that morning. He hugged and kissed his wife and their three children and left for work.
But there was something wrong. Deep in his psyche he apparently harbored the loss of their first child who was dead as an infant. She thought that they had worked through that dreadful experience and were pleased by the three healthy, wholesome children that followed. Obviously, he had not.
You can read all about those years - and those hours, in a book she has written and is now on sale in our bookstores. The title: "One Light Still Shines, My Life Beyond the Shadows of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting".
I could tell you more about her testimony, but to me, the part i will never forget came about shortly after the shooting. She had moved in with her family and was looking out of the window one morning when she noticed Amish elders walking toward the house. Her father went to greet them and learned that they were there to express their condolences to the widow and offer their help to her as time moved on. You will have to read the book to understand all that transpired in that meeting.
Tears came to my eyes as I recalled the many times while driving through this area and would come upon one of the Amish horse drawn buggies and wondered how they could live in the world that is so independent of the "machinery" we require for our existence. I have gone to their roadside markets to buy fresh produce and noticed how efficient they were in carrying out each transaction. More often than not, there were no smiles, no words of greeting, just commercial exchanges.
I have visited their homes - on display, and often wondered, could I live in this world that they appear to be so content to eke out an existence? I have read of the youngsters who have left it to find whatever it was they were seeking in the "outside" world and often, the "shunning" that followed such occasions. I remember visiting a factory in Pennsylvania when an associate made a foolish comment to the receptionist and within a half hour, the whole plant shut down, waiting for an apology. The receptionist was the daughter of the plant foreman.
And I will never forget the hearts of the kin folk of those who were murdered came to express their sympathy to the family and the wife of the murderer.
You have heard this before, you will hear it again, the wisdom of my grandfather who taught me these words long before I would ever understand the thoughts, "God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform, He plants His footsteps in the sands and rides upon the storm."
I have this to ask of others, those who seem to enjoy debating their knowledge of the Bible versus the knowledge of others, how often have you walked up to the houses where those others live and inquire if there was any way you could serve their needs?