Monday, May 30, 2016

Memories of Former Days

First today, I pause and pray with gratitude for those who died for my freedoms. I pray for their families who suffered so much that I might live in a land where I can freely worship and thank God openly. In many places, that is not allowed.

Behind us, in the photo at the top of this blog, is the world's largest stand of rare spider lilies in the Catawba river. Last year, I kayaked through those incredible mounds of water-encircled flowers. Yesterday, due to my recent mastectomy, I had to content myself with seeing them from the trail. Navigating the rapids by kayak only four weeks out from surgery would be foolish. They were still breath-taking.

After gazing at the glorious lilies for quite some time, we continued on the Canal Trail, which snaked beside the old Lansford Canal. The remnants of the canal were quite beautiful. It had been raining all morning and threatening to rain more, so the normal crowds that come for the brief blossoming of the lilies were not there. We had the trail largely to ourselves.

When we came home, Lucky had shown us how he felt about us leaving him alone.
I don't know if you can tell in the photo, but he had dumped his food bowl, and scattered his food all over the kitchen floor. The past two days, he's done the same thing, only with his water bowl. This is new behavior, and clearly a doggie temper tantrum.

We can't bring him on walks anymore because he is very stiff and goes lame after short walks. I do walk him to the corner of our street and let him sniff and remember the good old days.

I can relate to his angst. I loved seeing the Spider Lilies, but did so with a tinge of sadness. They only bloom for about two weeks each year. Last year, I kayaked through them with my daughter. I was a little frightened, as there were small rapids the entire way and I am not a white-water kayaker. My daughter found the rapids tame. She could have just been acting cool since that's what teenagers do. Now she's married, and off on her own. I wonder if she remembered that kayak trip through the lilies with the same fondness I do.

As I stood on the trail path yesterday, sidelined by the mastectomy, I looked at the water lilies but remembered the things that are past now, and will never again be. I understand Lucky's dismay, left behind because he can no longer manage what he loved so much.

It is easy to fall into melancholy over what once was, but can no longer be. The Bible warns us that this is not wisdom, to compare the former days with our current situation.  Our situations will change, and both the past and present will pass away. Our focus should never settle on the things that were never meant to last forever, but on the One who will. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Take comfort in that truth. Let the memories of the past be pleasant, but never a substitute for the true source of delight.

Hopefully next year, all will be well, cancer behind me. The water lilies will bloom again, and God willing, I will kayak in their fragrant midst again. If not, I will remember that He who made the lilies that only flower for two brief weeks, made me for eternity. You too!

Ecclesiastes 7:10 

Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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