As you may know, I recently led a three day revival down at First Christian Church, Belvedere, South Carolina. It was a long drive, a busy weekend, a lot of work in preparation and I enjoyed every minute of it (except for the long drive down and back part). The minister of the congregation is a friend of mine who used to be a member at Central Christian Church in Augusta, Georgia. I want to thank our Board for making me available to lead the revival.
One summer long ago I needed to make some extra money. I was a young twenty-two year old minister in training, making $65.00 a week with housing provided and although Mary was working full time for the University of Kentucky things were tight. We budgeted pretty carefully but had very little left over at the end of each week. As summer hit full stride I was asked if I wanted to “cut tobacco”. Having grown up in the suburbs my whole life I had no idea what that involved but the pay was darn good and I was young and could do anything. It has been a long time but as I remember I was paid twenty-five dollars a day and worked from around seven or so in the morning until three or four o’clock in the afternoon. It was hot, dirty, demanding, tough work.
As recent as a couple of years ago travelling on Layhill Road toward Norwood Road was a reasonably pleasant driving experience. Layhill was a two lane country road that was criss-crossed with any number of side streets, none of which posed any particular problems from a traffic point of view. Driving north you soon passed several holes on the front nine of the Northwest Golf Course which present a beautiful manicured view of the fairways, greens and several tee boxes. After passing the intersection of Norbeck Road you were pretty much in the country passing the historic Red Door country store, an old historic mansion which is now a headquarters building for the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, and the beginning point for a wonderful little jaunt on the Underground Railroad trail of civil war origin. All those beautiful places remain but two changes in the road alignments have changed the pleasant, tranquil drive into one of competition, driver’s more base tendencies and well, just plain not fun to drive anymore. The name of the game has changed. It’s now “beat your neighbor”.
Jamie Coots was a Kentucky preacher who took Jesus literally when he said that he gave his disciples the power to tread on snakes and scorpions and that nothing would hurt them. Yep, it’s in the Bible alright, look it up. You will find it in Luke 10:19.
Our yard backs up to a small creek about a 100 yards or so from the back of our house. It’s all woods with a mixture of hardwoods including red oak, white oak, tulip poplar, maple, hickory and other trees. It’s all down a grade that results in a quiet and secluded bottom land through which the creek flows. Some years ago a large old oak fell down during a storm and as it fell it landed over the creek.
While driving to church the other day I caught a glance of an old fence post in an overgrown field along the road. It was just an old fence post, one of those we have all seen which are the remnants of a long ago time and place. There wasn’t much of it left and the fence was long gone. It was just a remnant from the past. Most of the time we just pass an old fence post by and don’t give it a thought, yet this time I thought quite a bit about that old post. I thought of days long when the road was probably a smaller one lane country road, maybe even not paved and some farmer had put up the fence to keep his cows in or maybe his goats or whatever he was raising in his land. Or, just as likely it was part of the old fence line meant to define the boundaries of someone’s farm. Now it was just the remnant of a long ago time, a different time and a soon to be gone forever reminder of that which came before us, of a way of life that is no more and of the inevitable march of time.
It was late in the evening on a perfectly pleasant day. Mary and I had both been involved in physical therapy at the same place and as we departed I decided it was too late for Mary to go home and cook dinner and I wouldn’t know how to cook dinner, no matter what time it was. Thinking about how much pain I was in from the therapy and how Mary surely felt as badly I did I suggested we just get carry-out from a restaurant in Olney. I dropped Mary off at the door to go in and place our order and I pulled into a parking space to wait for her return.
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.” – Winston Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission
I read the above quotation in the book “Known and Unknown” by Donald Rumsfeld. The part that caught my attention was the reference to not being able to measure or anticipate the tides and hurricanes one might encounter on a strange voyage. Who knows what the future brings?
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