Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Searching for gold

Since entering the "world" of blogging, I have had the good fortunate of meeting many other bloggers who really have something to say, aside from having something to sell, and it appears that relationships might be in the offing from the long lists I have accumulated.

It reminds me of experiences a friend of mine and I used to enjoy, heading out to parts of North Georgia where the current craze in those days was - panning for gold.  You probably know the rest of the story, after many such trips, we never did find gold.  But that eventually would not be our goal.  If you have never visited North Georgia in the foothills of the Great Smokey mountains, you need to make plans. The scenery is every bit as breath taking as many of the more heavily touted places in other parts of our great nation and I would highly recommend considering it for your next vacation.

But like the old adage - "take time to smell the roses", as we discovered that getting to know the folks in that area, at the gold mines, the restaurants, the lodging, etc.,we were meeting up with were the greatest treasures to be uncovered in "them thar hills' as it was those people who would become the source of our most treasured memories.

And so it is, with everyday life, if we would only just take notice.

Proof of the pudding, in my case, comes with a lady known by her real name, Rebekah.  Remember the name from the old Testament?  Wife of Isaac, mother of  Esau and Jacob.  Memorable stories. "My" Rebekah appears to be cut from the same cloth, a treasured jewel.

She visited me today by way of her blog, Sharing Redemption Stories, preparing her readers to "bounce", before you can bounce back.  Real wisdom, authentic applications.

How true that has been in my life.  I tried and tried to "bounce back" from the various trials and tribulations I had created in my earlier years.  I could not grasp the suggestions being offered by friends and counselors.   She offered the perfect answer.  In the problem areas of our every day lives, you need to grasp the gift of preparation.  Every opportunity, every problem, has a source and if you miss the need to properly prepare yourself, you are liable to stumble and fall.

Rebekah continues her essay, her contribution to successful living, by reminding us of the many other characters we find in the scriptures.  We often fail by convincing ourselves that their experiences took place - then, years, even centuries ago.  That is akin to ignoring the first step in a long walk.  If we stay where we are, we are not going to get where we want to go.  You cannot get on an airplane flight without first, purchasing a ticket.

Her summary, God provides!  Or, of course, He might not provide when He realizes, you are not headed for the success you might believe is inevitable.

Trust in the Lord and along the way, examine the lives of those who have helped you to get where you are today.  Lone rangers may have provided the material for successful TV programming, but in the here and now, we need one another.  It starts in the family.  God commands us to honor our parents and somehow, I missed that lesson.  He also commends us to honor those who help us along the way.  I finally realized how much my very first school teacher, Myna Mosher Armstrong, helped me to understand life from the standpoint of her own success and dealing with the problems she experienced along the way.  For years, she was an "old maid" and when she married a wonderful man, the neighbors were in a word, scornful.  Full of scorn, contempt.  Because she rose above the taunts of others, she was successful.  I know, she changed my life.

I did not get off on a profitable start in my military life.  I made a joke of my qualifications; what was a boy just off the farm supposed to say?   Then, opportunity was born because of the racial attitude of an officer who should have known better.  In stepped Master Sergeant Max McGee with a simple question - "Do you know the alphabet?"  Mrs. Armstrong had made certain that I did.  An opportunity was provided for me and a couple of years later when McGee moved on, he had prepared me to take his place and positioned me for a successful Air Force career.

Years later, I was in a drive-in theater with my girl friend and saw a familiar face (Howard Keel) show up on the screen with a song that still resonates in my heart.  "I will never walk alone,,," and that melody and most of the words still echo in my life.  I soon forgot the girl friend, but I will never forget that scene and the words that penetrated my heart of hearts. 

People, ordinary people, as ordinary as the Rebekah of old, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, each involved in life as it was, not necessarily what they might have wanted it to be, or become, but God took notice and made certain, their names would be inscribed for the ages.

"I don't want to set the world n fire,,," My uncle heard me singing one night, years and many years ago and out of the dark, where I would discover he .was sitting, he responded, "Don't worry, Sherwood, you never will."  He would never learn how he had penetrated my soul.  All I ever wanted to do is "start a flame in her heart" - my girl friend in those days.  I started out believing that my uncle - who actually loved me, who would never do anything to intentionally hurt me, had stunned me.

Then, came that day of all days, the one in which I heard these words, "By this will all men know that you have become My disciples, by your love for others,"   And I hurried to forgive my uncle and the others who had hurt me in the days before that great day.  It was one of those "180 degree" days, when you stop heading in one direction and turn conpletely around.

My prayer is simple, that you might find a Rebekah or others, cut from the same cloth, even today!

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