: "Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel."
What more can be said.
I'm not a great golfer(truly the understatement of the year), but on this day, in my new shoes, I noticed my swing was better than usual. Not great, but better. My girlfriend, Karen (an experienced golfer) commented that I did a good job of keeping my feet straight and still. I attributed this to my new, cleated shoes. In my sneakers, I was probably moving my feet ever so imperceptibly, which was affecting my golf swing. No matter how hard I would try to keep them still, my sneakers were not offering me the stability required.
I thought of this while listening to a sermon recently. The speaker mentioned the passage in Ephesians regarding the armor of God which got me thinking of the part that says "as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace".
Honestly, I do not live the gospel of peace. I get caught up in the shoulda, coulda, wouldas of life and they rob me of peace. Though I know better, I still try to regulate my life with lists, achieving spiritual acceptability through good deeds, etc. but like golfing in sneakers, a life of legalism and salvation by works throws off my spiritual swing and I never reach where I'm aiming. The gospel of peace (through the grace of God through Jesus) keeps my feet and therefore my life steady and straight. I could donate thousands of dollars and hours to charitable works and live the letter of biblical law, but without those "cleats of peace" my feet unintentionally slip and send me into a spiritual rough.
It amazed me at what an impact such a small investment in golf shoes could make on my golf game. Accepting the gospel of peace costs even less than those shoes. God's provided the appropriate footwear and they fit perfectly. I just need to take the time to put them on.
There are milestone markers for children to measure their progress - their first smile, when they're able to roll over, etc. There are also "milestone markers" for more advanced ages, as well. And I haven't seemed to have hit any of them.
While most people learned to drive in their teens, I didn't learn until I was 27 years old. While the average age of a college graduate is 22, I'm still working on my Bachelors degree at 48. While most friends my age have been married quite some time, have children and even grandchildren...well, we know where I rank there.
I'm overcome by a sense of never ever being able to catch up. I'll never reach "my full potential"; my life is half over and it's never really begun.
a) I'm able to check out new authors without investing in valuable and treasured reading time.
b) I like listening to speaking voices more than I like listening to the music on the radio.
c) And more to the point of this post, no trees were injured in the making of the CD.
when I find a book I like, I wind up making unnecessary trips just to progress further in the book.
Yesterday, I went for a 60 mile drive in order to finish listening to Michael Connelly's "The Overlook" (the first but not the last of his books that I will listen to/read, btw) - greenhouse gases be damned. Not to mention that at the current price of gas, it would have been cheaper to buy the paperback.
Birds fly away...unless it's a flamingo or an emu. But I don't think flamingos or emus sing a sweet song as the birds of flight. And I don't like the idea that hope can easily flit away.
So why a bird???
Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune--without the words, And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet, never, in extremity, It asked a crumb of me
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me
That my soul cannot resist:
A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.
Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.
Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.
For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life's endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.
Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;
Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.
Such songs have power to quiet.
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.
Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow