Contemplating Life


This Great Smoky Mountains ephemeral, after-the-storm panorama marked the close of another day. The scene evoked a juxtaposed, sobering/joyful contemplation of life’s unknown brevity, and breathtaking beauty. As dusk fell, the confident wisdom of a beloved preacher comforted my thoughts:

What is your life? You are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”

James 4:14

This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

I’ve read the last chapter of Revelation, and we win .”

Billy Graham

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!

Three Final Choices


Hiking through the Great Smoky Mountains I wandered upon an old cemetery. Treading in a hush of reverent silence, I carefully meandered among the grave-sites reading tombstone inscriptions. Three thoughts surfaced . . . no pun intended 😊

Old Elkmont Cemetery
  1. The uncertainty and brevity of life – several tombstones marked the graves of infants, who left and returned to Heaven the same day.
Infant Tombstone

2. ‘Have and Have Not’ disparities remain until death – among those tombstones artfully engraved with poignant parting thoughts were those marked with simple, anonymous stones.

Tombstones

3. After eight decades, I’m forever grateful to still be able to fog a mirror – odds on, I’ll be taking up residence with this quiet congregation sooner than most still above ground.

The World Economic Forum reports the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in society has grown during the pandemic and continues to widen.

  1. For 99% of the global population, incomes have fallen and over 160 million more people have been forced into poverty.
  2. This inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people a day. Every four seconds one of the inhabitants we share this planet with perishes through hunger, lack of potable water, lack of access to life-saving healthcare, and other basic life needs. 
  3. Since 1995, the top 1% have captured nearly 20 times more of global wealth than the bottom 50 % of humanity.

Few reside in the rare stratosphere of the 1% . . . if you do, please call me . . . Collect! 😊. However, few of us can recall the last time we were truly hungry; parched for a sip of clean water; without access to health care; homeless without shelter, etc., etc., etc. Bottom line . . . as Americans we are richly and undeservedly blessed!

Someday this world’s playing field will be leveled, no more disparities, and we will all face the final quintessential disparity . . . Heaven or Hell. Our Creator has graciously narrowed Eternity’s destiny to 1 of 3 final choices each of us must make, no abstentions allowed:

  1. Accept
  2. Reject
  3. Ignore

Jesus

Salvation is found in no one else. for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”. –  Acts 4:12

My prayer remains we’ll share Heaven together with Him.

Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

WORRY


Worry is no joke! Its stress causes serious problems. Worry’s stress hormones in the brain have been linked to shrinking brain mass; lowering IQ; heart disease; cancer; premature aging; predicting martial problems; family dysfunction; clinical depression; and making seniors more prone to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Some 500 hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened. In 2015, long before Covid added to this world’s worried stress overload, an article published in the now-closed Huff Post reported on a study that confirms Montaigne’s humorous, but sadly spot-on quip.

In this study, subjects were asked to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify how their perceived misfortunes actually materialized. The results were as follows:

  • 85 % of what subjects worried about never happened.
  • With the 15 % that did happen, 79 % of subjects discovered either they could handle the difficulty better than expected, or the difficulty taught them a lesson worth learning.
  • This means that 97 % of worries consists of self-inflicted, mind punishing, fearful exaggerations and misconceptions.

That leaves just 3 % of legitimate worries that most likely will happen just as imagined, regardless of whatever mitigating interventions may be implemented.

Perhaps there’s a tad of subtle credibility in Mad Magazine’s smiling, half-wit icon, Alfred E. Neuman’s motto. . . What, Me Worry? However, Alfred’s humorous motto is unrealistic, wishful thinking.

Truth is, some 2,000 years ago, One who carries the worries of each of us stated worry’s ultimate, one-day-at-a-time, remedy:

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:31

Peace . . . Hope . . . Joy . . . Love


Clouds abated today and sunshine peeked through, a welcome respite from a lengthy stretch of stormy weather . . . and I heard the mountains calling.

John Muir once said, “You are not in the mountains. The mountains are in you” . . . and today they moved in.

High among mountain cathedrals’ majesty, blanketed in pristine virgin white, He silently whispered to my soul in the solitude . . . Peace, Hope, Joy and Love . . . so thirsted for in the world below me.

Scripture tells us that faith can move mountains . . . climbing mountains always moves my faith to greater heights, wishing I could linger longer.

I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Chugach Vista
Contented Footprints
Talkeetna Vista

Seasons Exchange


Snows receding from the mountains . . .

Trumpeter swans nesting on the lake . . .

Spring relinquishing to Summer . . .

Seasons exchange in the Land of the Midnight Sun

 “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

                                           
Keep Looking Up . . . His best is yet to come!

Giants in the Clouds
Trumpeter Swans

Farewell Flowers


Otra dia, otra adventura is a Spanish adage that translates . . . another day, another adventure . . . every day exploring Creation is.

Got in one last Great Smoky Mountains wander today before jumping on the jet to the Last Frontier tomorrow. As always a new adventure awaited, two colorful blooms not yet seen this Spring . . . a kind of farewell mini-bouquet from Mother Nature.

But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers“.

Matthew 6:29

Lord willing, my next hike will be roaming the Greatland’s vast forests and magnificent, snow-capped mountain cathedrals . . . stay tuned.

I M Blessed . . . May U B 2

Woodland Pink or Indian Pink
Honeysuckle

Teardrops and Raindrops


Creation’s Tears

Tears of joy, and those of sorrow

We know not which will fall tomorrow

Raindrops upon a flower’s bloom

Prompts dismissing teardrops’ gloom

Our tears of grief, and those of loss

Were all once shed upon a Cross

He knows our grief, our pain and sorrow

And saves each one to dry tomorrow

You know how troubled I am; You have kept a record of my tears” – Ps.56:8 GNB

He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or cry or pain”.  – Rev. 21:4 GNB