Tracks in the Snow

Pepper, our eleven-year-old black Cocker Spaniel is my walking partner. In any other season, she is also my protector. It’s a comfort to have her along as I walk back our country road when bears are lurking about. I’m not sure how I think she would protect me, but it’s a mental mirage that I have.1214160820

Recently, we had a beautiful, fluffy snowfall and I knew we needed to walk. The morning was picture perfect: blue sky, nip in the air, and chilly temperature. The snow was clinging to every branch and weed. This one was really doing its part!

When we reached the end of our road, storm clouds were gathering in the west, but the sun was still shining in the eastern dawn. The effect was stunning:1214160821c

It’s such a peaceful spot, and I couldn’t help put praise God for the beauty of His creation and His loving kindness in allowing me to be here.

On our way home, I happened to notice our tracks. I’ve noticed this before as Pepper tugs at her leash, nose to the ground, dashing to and fro!

 

1214160822We leave two very different sets of tracks. While on our walks, mine are the straight and steady ones. Hers zigzag back and forth across the road! But I have to wonder if my “life” tracks are more like hers as I zigzag back and forth on little rabbit trails of life. I can so easily be sidetracked off of God’s purpose for my life! Does my heavenly Father look down and wonder at my trail? As I tug against the restraints that He has graciously put upon my life—safeguards against disaster—does He tire of my tugs? No, never. What an amazing, loving God we serve! His patience is incomprehensible!

One of my goals for 2017 is to “keep in the middle of the road.” Our church men sing this African-American Spiritual every so often. Its message is clear—as clear as tracks in the snow!1214160823

Children, keep in the middle of the road
Children, keep in the middle of the road
Don’t you look to the right
Don’t you look to the left
Just keep in the middle of the road.

I hear those angels a calling loud
Keep in the middle of the road
They’s a standin’ there in a great big crowd
Keep in the middle of the road.

Chorus:
Then children, keep in the middle of the road
Children, keep in the middle of the road
Don’t you look to the right
Don’t you look to the left
Just keep in the middle of the road
In the middle of the road
In the middle of the road.

I can see them standing around a big white gate
We must travel along before it gets too late
For it ain’t no use for to sit down and wait
Just keep in the middle of the road.

I ain’t got time for to stop and talk
Keep in the middle of the road
‘Cause the road is long and it’s hard for to walk
Keep in the middle of the road.

I’ll fix my eye on the golden stair
And I’ll keep on a goin’ till I get there
Cause my head am bound that crown for to wear
Just keep in the middle of the road.

When your feet get tired and your song don’t sing
Don’t look at the world full of sinful things
Don’t lay down in the road for to die
Put on your wings and get up and fly.

 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13,14

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Your Living Legacy

defaul17Our lives are ordered by the Lord, and He does this through people and circumstances which He sends our way. This week has been a flurry of activity in a kaleidoscope of directions, which is probably true for most of us; however, dealing with death does not drop into the schedule every week.

A dear friend from our church died yesterday. Her life was a constant challenge to me. She was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage, and her husband left her. She has been in a wheel chair for years in a little apartment filled to the brim with penguins—she loved penguins! Whenever we would visit her, we came away with a smile. Dannah had a mission to make everyone smile.

While sorting through her things last Saturday, my heart was heavy. Life would soon be over for Dannah. In many ways, that was a relief. For the past six months, she’s been in and out of hospitals and on death’s door often, constantly in pain.

Is it by accident that I’m reading through Ecclesiastes right now? I think not! Chapter one says, One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (4) Chapter two has these words of wisdom: For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! (16 NKJV) These verses capture the sense of Solomon’s struggle. Is there anything new under the sun? What is the meaning of life? By chapter three, he’s changed his direction of thinking: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: And by the end of the book, he’s gained the right perspective: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (12:13)

But as I sit here today, looking back over my activities of the week, I have to wonder, or ponder, or think through that big question: What is the meaning of life? Does it lose meaning when it seems to be all drudgery, monotonous, or mundane?
I have found that it helps to think about my grandparents. They were farmers and gardeners, carpenters and housewives. They never traveled much or were “movers and shakers” in their communities. They lived, worked, raised kids and corn and cows, and died. That doesn’t sound very complimentary, but believe me, I’m glad they did live and raise kids, or I wouldn’t be here!

Life is good, even in the worst of circumstances. God is good and ALWAYS does what is right. I just finished reading Job, and certainly don’t want to be a “miserable comforter,” but sometimes we just need to “stop it!” (You need to watch this little clip of Bob Newhart, and you’ll understand!

God sends us through the valleys and then gives us the strength to reach the mountain tops! Then we rejoice and enjoy the view…and slide back down! (Or Satan pushes us!) But that’s okay because we are alive! We are living, and life is for the living! Enjoy it, make the most of it! Spend time with people, especially those under your roof! And know that quality time may look like a waste of time to you, like sitting and chatting with your two-year-old while he eats his lunch!

Make your living legacy count, so that when you’re at death’s door, you can look back down over the trail you’ve forged, and you can rest in the arms of Jesus with no regrets! Wow! That’s a tall order! How do you do that? …one step at a time!

This poem was written by Dannah in 1995.  She still had twenty more years of living to do!  Please, take the time to read it.  It’s long, but it’s a great perspective builder!

At The Road’s End

At the road’s end, there lies a peaceful rest:

A rest that is eternal and better than Earth’s best,

A place that’s sheltered and protected from unrest of any kind,

A place where pain and suffering you will never find,

A place that is cradled in the hollow of His hand,

A place where you can always hear the celestial angelic band.

A place where a medicine chest, upon the shelf so full,

Will never again cause havoc and treat the body so cruel.

Twisted, withered, and missing body parts will be restored,

And never again will I need my shiny transfer board.

The wheelchair that supports me and speeds me along the way,

Will no longer be part of me when I reach that happy day.

That place is surrounded by beauty and quietness,

where naked eyes and open ears will experience the bliss.

No crutches, nor braces, nor aids of any kind.

No surgery, no chemo, or such as the likes you’ll find.

There will be no death or loss of life,

There will be no stress or strife.

A place where true peace will reign among all men,

A place where prejudice and hate will n’er be round again,

A placed where the landscape is covered by pure white,

I can hardly wait to see it, t’will be an awesome sight.

A place that will be illuminated completely from within,

A place that will not be corrupted by death and sin,

A place that is both an ending and a beginning,

A place so perfect in all respects, it sets my mine to spinning.

A place where every race, gender, and nation

Will be reunited with each and every predeceased relation—

Oh, what a joyous celebration will be spread

Without a single worry, fear, or dread.

No need to look backwards over your shoulder,

No need to fret the morrow, for you shall never wax older.

Finally set free, no more irons, no more fetters,

No more hassles with bills, no more vile and hurtful letters.

Never another lonely tear from the corner of my eye shall fall,

As I open wide my eyes to see those dear ones, one and all.

As they approach me, surround me, and welcome me with glee,

I gaze into those loving eyes of the One who died for me,

And suddenly, and awesomely, I finally understand

Just why my grief and suffering was just a part of the Master’s plan:

For every teardrop, hurt, and sorry was tailored for that eternal gain.

And so as I travel those final few feet,

I draw my last breath as my Savior I meet.

Don’t be distraught, you’ll miss me I know.

Don’t be discouraged, instead let your faith show.

Be happy for me, I’m whole once more,

No wheelchair, no tethers, not one little sore,

Please excuse me, I much to explore!!!

Just wait till you get here, you’ll adore it I’m sure.

If you are wondering just where your prayers and thoughts to send,

I have forever established my residence in that place—AT THE ROAD’S END.

1/95 Dannah L Kegler