Monthly Archives: March 2015

Preserving the Past

From our deck, I sometimes gaze up at the great trees that surround us. Towering white pines and red oaks. A giant sugar maple. What scenes have they ??????????witnessed during their century and a half of life? First nations’ warriors netting rainbow trout from our stream or hunting deer in the surrounding woods? Forest fires? Pioneers felling neighbouring trees to make room for fields? A bulldozer pushing a road through the woods.

The rings of wood they’ve laid down record their history: drought, rain, fires, or insect infestations. A skilled biologist may be able to re-construct their story by taking a sample core.

Mom's wedding picWhat of your family or mine? Will our grandchildren or great grandchildren be able to read about the ebb and flow of our life stories?

I regret having little knowledge of the early lives of my parents. What was their childhood like? How did they meet—and court? How did they endure the separation wrought by the First World War? I have some of the letters they wrote when my father went to France to fly surveillance of the enemy. But how did he survive when most pilots perished?

Pop Wright in Military U Since I was much younger than my three brothers, I knew little of family lore and Dad seldom talked about his life. I feel a great sense of loss and a concern that our grandchildren will have no idea about our past beyond our own lives.

Perhaps it’s neurotic to express concern about the past. After all, it’s gone, never to be repeated. We should live in the now; look to the future. Be optimistic. But wait, haven’t we been warned that he who forgets the past is doomed to repeat it? And nations in the 20th and 21st centuries keep repeating the same unbelievably horrific atrocities.

Pop's biplaneWe must not forget the two world wars, the Holocaust, the Cold War, Korea, Viet Nam, Uganda, Cambodia, and China’s cultural revolution. Did the people of St. Louis forget Selma? Have we forgotten the atrocities committed against our aboriginal people? Has humanity learned nothing?

Remembering is important whether on a national or a personal scale; whether it be of secular events or spiritual milestones. The feasts of Israel were set up so that the nation might remember their deliverance from Egypt, the wilderness wanderings, and other events in their history. “Do not forget the things your eyes have seen…Teach them to your children and to their children after them”(Deut. 4:9).

At the core of our Christian faith is a need to remember. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper to remember the death of Christ for our sins until the day He comes again. “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me”(Luke 22:19). Plus we have Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, to name a few special Hall clan...days.

On a cosmic scale our family memories may seem relatively unimportant, and yet they are! Will our grandchildren understand the importance of our conversion experiences, our calling to Christian ministry, the providential circumstances that led Mary Helen and I together, the amazing way God provided for our needs again and again and again?

We should all do what we can to preserve our stories so our families don’t forget to give thanks to God for His grace and leading. They might also learn from our mistakes!

[Pelican ebooks remain free for download until Easter! See: http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=index&manufacturers_id=145

Love in a Time of Ice & Snow

Thick coat, check. Scarf, gloves and toque, check. Bundled up to brave the stinging cold, I head outside to shovel the sidewalk. Brr. We’ve just endured the coldest month on record in Southern Ontario!

It makes us thankful for the inventor of forced air furnaces and the technicians that keep them going. For hot water heaters and those who invented stoves and microwaves and toasters and coffee pots. How wonderful it is to brew a hot cup of coffee or warm up a cup of soup on a cold winter day.

Winter cold will not last. And who wants a furnace blasting hot air through the house in the middle of summer? But there is a kind of warmth we can’t do without—the warmth of love. Loving relationships make the winter much easier ???????????????????????????????to bear. “These three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”(1 Cor. 13:13 ). Our world needs love so very badly.

The other day, friends suggested we go out to lunch together. During the meal we caught up on events in each other’s lives and learned even more about what makes each other tick. Then just a few days later new friends invited us to their home for dinner to help them celebrate an event in the husband’s career.

Although much younger than us, this vibrant family refreshed our hearts immensely. Loving friends ease one’s way through life. With our own snow blower broken, one of our neighbours suddenly appeared one evening during a snow storm to clear our driveway. He then left his machine with us to use while he was out of the country on business. Two weeks of unrelenting snow storms bracketed his absence. What would we have done without his thoughtfulness? Jesus said, “love your neighbour as yourself,” reminding us to look for ways to be kind to those around us.

Winterloghm, cropped“Love you, grandma.” “Love you, dad.” Few things are as wonderful as the love one receives from one’s children and grandchildren. How grateful we are for every call, every text, every email, from our family. How sad we feel for those estranged from family love.

Church gets a lot of flak, but we look forward to the weekly meetings, not just to hear the Word of God proclaimed, but to connect with God’s people. Here is a group with which we have eternity in common. Christian love offered and received makes the winter much easier to bear and spreads warmth throughout the community.

In the design of God, the love between a husband and wife transcends all other human loves. And when, through God’s grace, it lasts as ours has for half a century, we lift our voices together in eternal gratitude. What is winter when we can encourage each other and snuggle together through the storms?

But of all the loves that make life rich and winters short, none exceeds the love of God. As the hymn writer declares,

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.

Truly, love makes the world go round!

(For country books and others by Eric E Wright see http://www.countrywindow.ca)