Monday, July 25, 2016

Guarding our children's innocence is the highest call of a parent. I love the way Martineau makes this point.
  "Let the fresh dew lie undisturbed upon the young child's soul: only by drinking it eagerly in during the early hours can it bear the noonday heats and lend an unwithered smile to the evening shades." Martineau. 

 "The active devotee of any harmless object is better than the passive critic of all; and the dullest man who lives only to collect shells or coins is worthier than the shrewdest who lives only to laugh at him.
And if his pursuit, instead of fastening on a mere dead product of nature or history, attaches itself to some human object, if it be the pride of a father in a child, or the guardianship of a mother by her son, it redeems life from the curse of sterility, and enriches it with many spots of gentle beauty: it turns the soul out from its own close center and gives it the free air of disinterestedness: it imparts strength for wholesome self-denial; and smooths out the hard lines upon the features with the softening touch of pity and of joy." Martineau. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

  "For my part I am almost contented just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion: it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever. I like to taste leisurely of bliss: devoured in haste, I do not know its flavor." Charlotte Bronte.

  Arthur Benson relates his feelings after a walking with a dear friend   in a mountainous area. He describes the influence of his friend as they discussed "ultimate causes and conceptions. Oh, that each of us would have such an impact on another!

  "And so, out of my breathless ramble among ultimate causes and conceptions, I cam back to the world with a great sense of zest and relief; filled with a sense of far-off possibilities, and yet more sure than ever that we must neither idle nor despair, but walk swiftly and patiently and help each other along. On those cloudy hills I had gone astray as a sheep that is lost; and then suddenly there was a sense of the Shepherd walking near me -- the Shepherd Himself! -- For the philosopher was only a lesser kind of angel bearing a vial in his hands; the blessed sense of being searched for and guided and tenderly chidden and included in the welcome fold."

Friday, July 22, 2016

  As we reach adulthood, we see the future with great hope and expectancy; and we see little of its demands for suffering and sacrifice. Youth has its cushion of optimism. The following quote by Charlotte Bronte, describes how reality makes itself known. I had to read this over a few times to really appreciate her insights but I think it's right on target; and I love her last line.

 "At that time -- at eighteen-- drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us and the shores of Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant: they look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them. In sunshine we see a greenness beneath the azure, as of spring meadows; we catch glimpses of silver lines, and imagine the roll of living waters. Could we but reach this land, we think to hunger and thirst no more: whereas many a wilderness, and often the flood of Death is to be crossed before true bliss can be tasted. Every joy that life gives must be earned before it is secured; and how hardly earned, those only know who have wrestled for great prizes. The heart's blood must gem with red beads the brow of the combatant, before the wreath of victory rustles over it."  

Thursday, July 21, 2016

  A young woman, in her mid twenties, came in the mission doors and approached the food table timidly and unsure of what she could have; I explained she could have one of each of the foods offered and as I did she looked me right in the eye with such a haunting look. Her eyes were blood-shot and I'm sure she was on heroin because of her halting walk and appearance. Her face, which was overall pleasing: but oddly, she had tufts of facial hair on four places that were prominent, and any girl her age would have normally removed. She never said a word and was very slow in her movements, she took the food and left.
As she left I felt the Holy Spirit's love for her welling up in me. A little later she came back through the line again and this time I tried to be extra friendly and, once again, she looked me right in the eye, which is unusual, most people have their heads down and just look at the food. I wanted to reach out to her in some manner, but couldn't find a way. As she left I  was overcome with emotion and went in the back room for a minute to pray for her. A little later she came through the line again, this time I felt compelled to do something, so I asked her if she would mind if I prayed for her; she nodded okay. I drew her aside and prayed over her although she made no noticeable reaction, but simply looked straight in my eyes again, never saying a word, and then took her food and shuffled out. Now, my heart was breaking for her; I wanted to sweep her up in my arms and take her straight to Mother Teresa, my heroin where unconditional love and sympathy were always available, and have her lavish waves of love and care for her and steal away all her hurt and lead her to happiness and wholeness. It was a moment, like so many, where I am impotent to cause any noticeable change. So, I write this to solicit your prayers and to remind me of her. Her name is Sarah.

Power of influence

When I read the following piece I am inspired to be a better role model and use whatever influence I may have for high and lofty things and not get bogged down in mediocrity.

  "I was young; I had good health; but pleasure and I had never met; no indulgence of hers had enervated or sated one faculty of my nature. Liberty I clasped in my arms for the first time, and the influence of her smile and embrace revived my life like the sun and the west wind. Yes, at that epoch I felt like a morning traveller who doubts not that from the hill he is ascending he shall behold a glorious sunrise; what does it matter if the track be straight, steep, and stony? he sees it not; his eyes are fixed on that summit, flushed already, flushed and gilded, and having gained it he is certain of the scene beyond. He knows that the sun will face him, that his chariot is even now coming over the eastern horizon, and that the herald breeze he feels on his cheek is opening for the god's career a clear, vast path of azure, amidst cloud soft as pearl and warm as flame. Difficulty and toil were to be my lot, but sustained by energy, drawn on by hopes as bright as they were vague, I deemed such a lot no hardship. I mounted now the hill in shade; there were pebbles, inequalities, briars in my path, buy my eyes were fixed on the crimson peak above; my imagination was with the refulgent firmament beyond, and I thought nothing of the stones turning under my feet, or of the thorns scratching my face and my hands." Charlotte Bronte.