Oil Change

English: Australian 1962 Ford Falcon XL

English: Australian 1962 Ford Falcon XL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oil Change

160.002 miles on one and 113,500 miles are on the other.  It used to be every 3,000 miles but now I use synthetic oil and so changing the oil every 5,000 miles seems to work.  I once owned a 1965 Ford Falcon that had over 250,000 miles when I sold it.  As they say, the cheapest car you can get is the one you already have.

In less than six years Hugh and Tammy Pennington have driven their 2006 Silverado more than a million miles.  Irv Gordon’s 1966 Volvo passed the 3 million mile mark in July of this year.  He never ignores an odd sound, changes his oil every 3,000-3,500 miles, and generally babies that car.

My father’s 1938 Desoto was still running in 1972 and I can’t say if it still does.  I do know one thing though:  One day that 2006 Chevy, 1966 Volvo. 1938 Desoto and all the rest will stop running and end up in an automotive ‘graveyard’.

We too will all one day be there.  There has been no end of discussion in our nation over what has come to be called “obomacare”.  Instead of joining the fray, I would rather add this:  No matter how good or how bad, how cheap or how expensive our care is one day we too will stop running.  No matter how well we eat, how regular our checkups or how healthy our weight, we will one day end up in the graveyard as well.

Instead of fussing and worrying about whether or not I can get a million or three million miles on my car, I do the best I can but focus on the job at hand made possible by my 2004 Honda Civic.  Instead of fussing so much over healthcare laws perhaps we might make more progress by using the health we have to do the most good we can for as long as we can.  Whether we get 40, 60, 80 or even 100 years out of our bodies, the sights we see, the people and places we visit, the good that is done and the memories made are what counts.  May God grant us strength, purpose for living, light in our eyes and life in our heart all of days whether many or few.

Autumn Leaves

English: the forests in new hampshire in autumn

English: the forests in new hampshire in autumn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autumn Leaves

As I look outside my window I am struck by something. It is autumn. The leaves are falling. And yet- no one seems to be terrified! How can this be? Do we not understand that these leaves produce the very air we breathe? They absorb the deadly CO2 that keeps global warming experts awake at night and converts it into life giving oxygen. And yet- here they are – falling, falling, falling. Colorful and lovely to behold, but nonetheless, dead upon the ground. The ground has become a graveyard of death and decomposition as far as the eye can see. Surely an ominous sign. Can we be far behind?

Yet as I search the cable news networks, the newspaper, and the Internet for any mention of this impending calamity, to my amazement, I find nothing. Nothing but travel reports singing the praises of fall foliage. Recommendations of how and when and where to see the best and the brightest before it all slips away. In fact, it seems that many are willing to travel back roads and byways in order to make the most of the death spectacle all around us. Some will even board planes and fly to places like New Hampshire and Vermont just to witness the destruction. How can this be? What is behind this puzzling attraction to death, dying, decay, and destruction? Especially in a culture known for its singular dedication to youth, beauty, and an obsession with endless life saving measures designed to beat back the Grim Reaper?

It would seem that at some level we all understand the cycle of life and death – at least as it pertains to nature. Everyone knows that death must occur in order to give way to life. Autumn, and the ensuing winter, are essential to the glorious new life of spring and it is the certainty of spring which allows for the beauty of seeing the leaves fall and die. At some level we know that the trees really aren’t dead. They merely have the appearance of death….

As it is in nature, so it is with those of us who are in Christ Jesus. To every single person will come a day of death and destruction of the physical body. This physical death is a necessary act for the renewing of our soul in the next kingdom. It is in the Kingdom of Heaven that we will find glorious spring and rebirth. In the same sense that the trees feel no sense of loss as their leaves are stripped away leaving them bare and exposed, we as Christians should feel no terror at the inevitable loss of our physical bodies, because we know that by faith we have been granted access to glorious, rapturous spring for all eternity. Amen.

Two Shells

Shell Searching Not long ago, while walking along the beach, I found a beautiful shell. It was perfect to my eye in color and symmetry. I placed it in my pocket and continued down the beach. As I made my way further along, I noticed many more shells which I stopped to examine. These shells I found to be flawed with various imperfections such as chips and holes. I threw them over my shoulder and back into the surf……

As I continued down the beach, I noticed another shell seemingly full of imperfections. Yet, as if I had been given new eyes to see, this shell struck me as beautiful. It had a large hole in the middle and was worn ragged along the edges. The end of the shell was missing altogether. It was apparent to me that this shell had been beaten and tossed by the power of the ocean and drug along the bottom by many terrible storms before being washed up on the shore. Its very survival, though in a battered state, seemed to render it beautiful.

In retrospect I realized something about my quest for perfect shells. Shells, like people are judged by their external appearances. When weexamine people, we often judge them by their lack of imperfections. The perfect silhouette of a runway model, the striking smile of the cover girl, the immaculately dressed eecutive- all these we examine and judge to be good. Like beautiful shells, we judge them worthy and place in our pocket to keep. Others- the homeless in their threadbare garments, the elderly woman in the nursing home in her housecoat, the toothless gentleman who pours our coffee at the diner in the morning- these are imperfect and therefore cast aside unnoticed from our vista.

Could it be that the very people we cast aside like imperfect shells are the ones that are most needed to show us true beauty in this world? Oh that we might be given eyes to see the beauty of proven character! What a gift to be able to see the beauty of perseverance, the value of patience, the valor of submission, the radiance of longsuffering. God in His endless love and grace, has shown us perfection in the battered shells washed ashore at our feet. Our task is to see them for what they really are. Our job is to recognize their true beauty. Our calling is to deem them worthy and carry them home.