Bringing Home the Treasures

Ships Returning Home

by Max Ehrmann

We are all ships returning home
laden with life’s experience,
memories of work, good times and sorrows,
each with his special cargo.
And it is our common lot to show
the marks of the voyage,
here a shattered prow, there a patched
rigging, and every hulk
turned black by the unceasing
batter of the restless wave.
May we be thankful for fair weather
and smooth seas, and in times of storm,
have the courage and patience
that mark every good mariner.
And over all, may we have
the cheering hope of joyful meetings,
as our ship at last drops anchor in
the still water of the eternal harbor.

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My response to today’s WordPress prompt: fortune

Note:
In spite of all the tales about its ancient origins, the Desiderada was also written by Max Ehrmann, 1872-1945.

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Ten Years From Now

Ten years from now, they say,
it won’t matter anymore.
I’ll be healed; the agony I feel
will be forgotten, they assure.

This throb will be a shrouded silence
in my memory, a faint scar, I’ll see
a growth mark inside the person
I’ll be then. Stronger, smarter.

Of course it won’t hurt, they declare;
ten years from now — perhaps only five —
this sting of betrayal, those words you said,
forgotten like the schoolgirl’s scribblers
a few years after Graduation day.

I’ll be thankful then, they tell me,
I learned the lesson in my youth
and in a few years — or a month or two —
my eyes, drained of tears, will see the wisdom.

Like a prof’s lecture, their words fill my head
but there’s a loose connection somewhere;
my brain can’t order my heart to numb. Maybe
in ten years I’ll be rewired.

In desperation I carry the ache I feel
to the Source of all relief. The One who
created pain — and comfort. He Who rules
today — and ten years from now.

— Christine Goodnough —

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I posted this on Swallow in the Wind to show how ineffective platitudes can be.

But I also wanted to point to our Divine Comforter, so I added the last verse. Do you think it sounds better with, or without?

I have found that when I’m in the middle of a deep heartache, if I sing hymns of praise, such as “Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,” it helps me to get a grip on the transience of this pain. I become more aware of the overruling hand of the One Who loves me, and that in itself brings comfort. And I remember there will come a day when He shall wipe away all tears from His children’s eyes, “whosoever believeth in Him.”

What do you do to cope with sorrow, pain, or betrayal?

She Fought the Good Fight of Faith

This morning my husband had some book-keeping business with one of his clients, then he went into our nearest big town to pick up the brochures and posters for the His Imprint Writers Conference. This is coming up April 26th and since I’m the secretary it’s my responsibility to mail most of these out. So I’d best start addressing envelopes right shortly.

Tomorrow morning I’m meeting one of the other ladies in the group and we’re going to look at the church our group is renting for the event, decide how much room we’ll need, etc.

Verla Ginther Laid to Rest

This afternoon we attended the funeral service for Verla Douglas Ginther, held in our church building. She died Thursday at the age of 76, having spent almost ten years in Parkridge Center suffering from Alzheimer’s.

She was born Verla Mae McRostie in July 1937 at Russell, MB and married Fred Douglas in 1960, but this was not a happy time of her life. I gather her husband was a drinking man and very hard on her. The children don’t have very many good memories of those years. He died of cancer 16 years later, leaving her to raise her four children alone.

She became a Christian in the late 70’s and a church member in 1979. In 1992 she married widower Abe Ginther and moved to this congregation. They were so happy together, the children say. They had twelve years together before Verla’s Alzheimer’s got so bad she had to go into Parkridge Centre in Saskatoon.

Bob Klassen–the same minister who baptized her back in 1979 – preached her funeral service. After the funeral and interment, we had a lunch and then a time for sharing memories. Her daughter in Germany listened by phone; both of her sons and her youngest daughter and their families were here and shared memories of their mother. Several of Abe Ginther’s family also spoke, as well as different friends who knew her, some of whom had watched her development from a totally irreligious person to a child of the King.

Lots was said about her direct manner, no beating around the bush. Verla was what she was, not a lot of polish, but friendly to everyone. She had a sense of humor, an expressiveness, a way of saying things that put folks at ease and gave many a chuckle. Three months after Abe married Verla he told friends, “I haven’t laughed so much in my whole life as I have these past three months.” She got Alzheimer’s and he passed away in 2006; now they can join the saints and enjoy the beauties of Heaven.

Altogether it was a very inspiring afternoon.

A Place Prepared

“Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

He was just a little fish.  What did he know?  Even if some inborn instinct told him that there should be more than this, his one-gallon fish bowl was the only world he’d ever experienced and he was content to live there.  He had no clue that I was preparing a better place for him.

I’d learned that betta fish deserve a better environment than a tiny fish bowl, so I was setting up a proper ten-gallon aquarium where he could enjoy life to the full.  He was going to have a heater and filter to keep his water fresh and pure.  Bliss, betta style.

This wouldn’t happen overnight.  An aquarium needs to go through a nitrogen cycle to develop the right kind of bacteria in the filter so it will purify the water passing through.  So the tank sat on the counter for over a month as it went through this cycle; during this time I added driftwood and various ornaments that would make his new world so much more interesting.  Meanwhile my little betta swam in his little fish bowl, totally unsuspecting.

Then one day his new home was ready for him, so I carried his bowl and set it beside the tank.  I scooped him out in a small ladle.  Now he was really confined and he squirmed and fought this new situation.  He was only a little fish; he couldn’t comprehend the big picture.

Though the transfer was uncomfortable and confusing for him, it was accomplished quickly.  I placed him in his new tank and his delight was obvious.  So much room.  So many interesting things to explore.  Constant warmth and pure water.  For a little fish this was paradise!

Most of us are fairly happy in this world.  Some content, some not so content in our little lives, but it’s the only space we’ve ever known.  Like my little fish, we’re not very willing to leave it.  And we’re not at all enthused about being carried out in a small box!  Our comprehension of what waits on the other side is so limited.

Unlike my little fish, however, we can know God’s plans for us.  Jesus has revealed them to His followers; by faith we can believe His words.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 15: 2-3

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”  Psalm 23:6