I received a package this morning and it made me think of a similar package from many years ago.
While this may not seem that remarkable, for me it was a journey back in time to the first clothes that I bought for myself some forty years ago. Last week I went to the store to buy some new work jeans as my current ones were starting to wear thin in a few places in a way that was becoming more and more noticeable as the outdoor temperature keeps dropping. What I discovered was that the work jeans display at the store had shrunk considerably and they no longer carried the style and size that I wanted (needed). After checking another store with no luck, I went online and found what I wanted so I ordered them and today I have new work jeans to wear.
While there is a lot of talk in many circles about online shopping causing the demise of so many “brick and mortar” stores, today’s package reminded me of a time when the “brick and mortar” stores were much smaller and many of the goods we have come to expect stores to stock were purchased for delivery from a store’s catalog . . . at least that’s the way it was in the rural America I grew up in. In fact, to a young boy on a farm, there was little that brought as much excitement into life like a certain mail delivery could each year. A delivery that brought a catalog, but not just any catalog, “The Catalog”!
This catalog each year was the beginning of many dreams and more than a few disappointments. It was also from a catalog like this that I filled out an order form and sent in a check in order to have the first clothing I had ever purchased on my own delivered to the mailbox at the end of our drive. It wasn’t anything fancy, just some pants and shirts, but it was something different from the homemade and hand-me-down clothes that most of my wardrobe consisted of at the time.
And so today brings me full circle, almost. While the print catalogs have nearly disappeared, an online catalog did for me what the catalogs of years gone by had done — brought me the goods I needed that a local store didn’t stock. Technology has brought changes, but in some ways; the more things change, the more they remain the same.
It seems a moment ago, or perhaps maybe two. We stood face to face and we each said, “I do”. And the journey began as we stood hand in hand. With no real idea of all God had planned.
Through the ups and the downs, the happy and sad. We kept moving forward with all that we had. Yet, through days that felt slow and years that seemed fast. All of a sudden, thirty-seven years have passed.
So, Happy Anniversary to my beautiful bride! Life’s so much better with you by my side. And whether walking a trail or some peaceful shore. Here’s to the moments of thirty-seven more!
While some said we were too young and it wouldn’t last, today my wife and I celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary! As I reflect on that accomplishment, I have to say it was God who carried us this far together and it is only He who can successfully carry us into the future. And while I don’t know if either of us have another 37 years of life on this earth, we can always count on our walks continuing on a more beautiful shore once our time here is done!
We woke up that morning in the usual way. With usual plans for our usual day. Our minds were quite filled with the usual things. As we were prepared for what a usual day brings.
For some, change was instant with life gone in a flash. Yet others were changed as toward the rubble they dashed. Some called their loved ones, as they would soon die. Others were gone with no chance for good-bye.
Some ran away, but there was no place to hide. Some ran toward trouble to help those inside. Some rushed the men who intended such harm. And found their life over on a Pennsylvania farm.
And through all the horror on an unusual day. The nation did mourn and gathered to pray. We prayed for each other, we prayed for those lost. We prayed for the families who paid the great cost.
Yet time has a way of changing our view. When the heartache and loss are no longer new. The prayers that we prayed on those nights long ago. Are no longer intense for those we don’t know.
And slowly, but surely, I think we’ve arrived. To a usual day with our usual drive. And our usual mindset that looks far ahead. With no thought of preparing for when we are dead.
So, I ask for a moment on this usual day. You stop and remember, and take time to pray. Pray for the families of those who were lost. Pray for the helpers who still pay the cost.
Pray for your own life and ask God today. If you were to meet Him, just what would He say. Pray for your neighbor, wherever they may be. And live with compassion so that Jesus they see!
I think the events of September 11, 2001 are etched in the minds of many of us to such an extent that we couldn’t forget if we wanted to. Yet, most of us woke up that morning with virtually no thoughts of anything but a “usual” day. The horrors of 911 should not be the only thing unforgettable. The heroes and helpers of 911 should be unforgettable. The national leaders gathering to mourn and pray should be unforgettable. The gatherings of people seeking God for help and asking for His forgiveness and protection should be unforgettable. Yet outside of the anniversary date of 911, how many of us go about our “usual” days forgetting how quickly “usual” can turn into “unusual”. I pray that you and I would not just remember the events of 911, but that we would always remember to turn to God in the midst of everything!
Since this summer family adventure was only a week’s vacation with the weekend attached to each end, day nine of our journey was the “heading home” day. 😦 But we weren’t about to let the vacation slip by quietly, so we left Bay City, Michigan and headed for the Lake Huron shoreline to photograph a few lighthouses before finishing out the day driving home. As we were driving some back roads to the first lighthouse stop, something on top of a telephone pole caught my eye and I said, “Hey, there’s a snowy!” After turning the truck around when it was safe to do so, we went back and sure enough there was a snowy owl sitting on top of the pole keeping watch on us and on the field.
After enjoying the beauty of the owl, we made our way past a lot of sugar beet fields en route to our first lighthouse stop of the day, Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse.
From there we continued our way down the shoreline with stops at three lighthouses that were quite different from each other. The first, Harbor Beach Lighthouse, was at the end of a pier and our only view was across the water from the end of a different pier. The second wasn’t on our list so we weren’t expecting it. In fact, we drove past it and I had to turn around to see if it really was a lighthouse I had seen. It turns out that the White Rock Light is a house/lighthouse that an individual built to commemorate the lighthouse history of the area. The third, Port Sanilac Lighthouse, is now a private dwelling but we were able to manage some decent photos from the areas surrounding the property.
We finished our photo stops for the trip a the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. While it was the last photo stop of our adventure, it wasn’t the last stop as we took a slight detour on our way home to stop in Goshen, Indiana for ice cream at The Chief. All in all, it was a great family adventure and I hope these blog posts have helped you to see at least a glimpse of the incredible beauty God surrounded us with throughout this nine day journey . . . and throughout life!
Day eight of our summer family adventure was the beginning of the end as we made a quick drive back through the Seney National Wildlife Refuge and a quick stop at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse before making our way to the Mackinac Bridge to leave the Upper Peninsula for the mainland of Michigan. The wildlife were still very good at hiding in the refuge but the clouds reflecting on the water was beautiful and the swarms of bugs at the lighthouse kept us moving along rather quickly. 🙂
The next stop on our journey was just across the Mackinac Bridge at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse where we were able to photograph both the bridge and the lighthouse. Before we left Mackinaw City to continue our travels, we stopped at an interesting restaurant near the bridge and since their lunch special was a homemade pasty (pronounced with a short a sound), we tried them and had a delicious lunch . . . not sure why they can’t just call it a meat pie, but it was very good!
The rest of the day we worked our way down the shoreline of Lake Huron on our way to Bay City for the night. On our way we stopped at the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse, the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse, and the Tawas Point Lighthouse. We were able to go up the lighthouse tower at Forty Mile Point and photographed the other two lighthouses from the ground.