Thursday, September 13, 2012
Front Porch Musings
It's fall again... no surprise there. Happens every year about this time. Actually here in Alaska it happens sooner than in the lower forty-eight. About mid-August you wake up one day and feel the chill in the air or while you're out walking you notice that some of the leaves on the ground are tinged yellow and brown. You try to ignore it like that first twinge of a toothache. Maybe if you don't pay it too much attention it will go away. "It's not time yet." you declare, but like the first grey hairs that show up one day or the wrinkles that makeup won't cover, change is happening, like it or not. Fall is a time of reflection for me. On the day I took this picture it was an ideal fall day. The sun was warm, there weren't any bugs bothering me, I wasn't thinking about fishing or charter boats or how aggravated I was with the politicians. I was just sitting in one of those comfortable chairs rocking back and forth enjoying the sunshine and reflecting on my life. It isn't often that I think of how blessed I've been. My natural tendency is to complain and once you start down that path there is no end to the things you can find to complain about. Just yesterday I was out fishing at Point Sophia. I'm trolling about forty plus leaders with thirty some years of experience behind me. All my gear is color coordinated so that if the fish find something they like all their buddies will find the same stuff and climb on. I was fishing close by a fellow who is running a hodge podge of gear- no two flashers or hoochies alike, it looks like he has maybe a dozen leaders total and has only been commercial fishing for about two years. Every time I looked over, he was cleaning a fish. I caught one- all day! Perhaps I should change the name of the boat to The Bonehead and troll three lines baited with green olives, Cheetos and Nutrigrain Bars. Who knows, it can't be any worse than what I was doing. Maybe my ego needed a good jolt and God was letting me know that blessings come from him. They're his fish and he gives them to whomever he wants. Anyway, as I was saying, once you start down that path of complaint, you never reach bottom. I actually have relatively little to bitch about. We have a friend who is visiting Hoonah right now. Her and her husband used to pastor our church. She desperately wanted children but couldn't conceive, so they adopted two boys, both from the same family I believe. They moved to Colorado but her husband was unable to find work and ended up working in Iraq where he has been for the past seven years or so. Shortly after he left she was diagnosed with cancer. Her older son got involved in some goth type movement and her younger son was involved in a shooting and is in jail right now. In the years since she's left here she's undergone several more cancers and the unbearable treatments and side effects and at present has an implant to control the pain. She gave the word on Sunday. In a nutshell she said all these things would appear to us to be bad, bad things. (I couldn't agree more) But, we are seeing things from a limited perspective. We have blinders on. We have little spiritual peripheral vision. Good things have come from what we would perceive as bad. Her husband started several churches while in Iraq and has had a positive impact on a number of people. Her son in jail has turned his life around and is leading a praise team in prison. I don't know what the other son is doing, but his chapter is still being written. Today I was reading in the book of Job. I know I've written about this before, but I think it bears repeating.Those who know that book know that Job was a righteous man who was inflicted with all manner of terrible loss- his children, his property and finally his health. To add insult to injury, his wife suggested he curse god and die, and his friends who were supposed to be comforting him ended up accusing him of having secret unconfessed sins as the reason for all the suffering. Finally, after all the accusations and rebuttals, Job hears from God directly... Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said, "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid out the earths foundation? Tell me if you understand."
Of course it goes on as God lays out his wisdom and power. In the end Job is blessed more after all the trouble than he was before. That's not to say that all those who suffer will be blessed because of it in this life. I can't see beyond the present so I can't say what tomorrow will bring. Maybe a boatload of fish to salvage the season, maybe an engine failure. In my limited capacity I'll surmise that whatever the situation I find myself in, it will either be good or bad, though, like Job, I really don't have the wisdom to make that call. So, I will leave you with this. As the fall approaches and the days grow shorter, enjoy each day as much as you can. Visit a friend, love on your spouse, call your mom and maybe take some time to sit on your front porch and reflect on your blessings. They're more than can be counted.