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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Many believers only look for God’s activity in the midst of crises. As long as life runs along smoothly, the idea that God is or wants to be involved in life is the farthest thing from their thinking.  At least, this seems to be the way I live most of my life.  The unfortunate thing about this way of living one’s faith is missing the ways that God surprises us in everyday, simple things.

When my young family and I moved to Quilcene, Washington, I had the joy of exploring the many local lakes for fishing. The settings are very beautiful; the fishing good.  Unfortunately, much of the shoreline of the lakes is unapproachable.

Many times I took my son along with me. He would patiently hold a fishing pole waiting for a fish to bite.  However, as any young boy would, he soon grew bored and would explore other things around him.  One day, after a great time at a lakeside but no fish to show for our efforts, I breathed a simple wish more than a prayer, “Lord, it would sure be nice to have one of those two- or three-man rubber boats to haul to the lakes.

My life did not depend upon getting one and neither did my fishing. My son, Gareth, and I could continue going to the lakes without one.  It is just that it would make the experience a little more enjoyable and, perhaps, successful.

A few days later, I met with the pastor from the Presbyterian church in town. Everyone called him Pastor Ray.  He was well into his 70’s and he and his wife, originally from Southern California, were temporarily filling in at the small town church.  We had a habit of meeting regularly two or three times a month.

As I was getting ready to take my leave after this particular day’s conversation, Pastor Ray stopped me and asked, “Do you do any fishing?”

I replied, “Yes.  I like to spend my extra time at the lakes around here and often take my son with me.  Do you do any fishing?”

I used to,” he sighed with longing.  “I’m getting too old to go out anymore.”

That’s too bad,” I offered.  “The lake fishing around here is great.”

Well, me and my wife have a small rubber raft stowed in our RV we want to get rid of to make room for other things.  Would you like it?” he asked.

How much do you want for it?” I tendered, supposing that he would want to sell it to get something in return for it.

“Nothing!  If you want it, it is yours.  Otherwise, I’ll find someone else to give it to,” he said.

Sure!  I’d love to have it.  The other day I was wishing I had one,” I told him.

A short while later, Ray brought by the raft. It was a nice, large three man raft (though it said four, they must have meant midgets).  I thanked him profusely.  It had everything necessary: pump, oars, cushions, and quarter inch plied wood piece to fit the bottom.  It even had a mount for a motor.

I wasted no time in getting it into the nearest lake to try it out. It was a lot of fun and I could get into some choice parts of the lakes.  Fishing definitely improved.  Gareth liked floating in the raft.  Rowing it was not too bad.  But I often wondered what it would be like if I had a little electric boat motor to get around.

Hyas Lake Valley, Washington State, September 2010

Hyas Lake Valley, Washington State, September 2010 ©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

A few months later, I showed my prize “boat” to a good friend. He was impressed but commented, “You need to have one of those little electric bass motors for this.  That would be great!

Yeah,” I responded.  “Maybe someday.

Bass Pro Shops

Image via Wikipedia

The next day, my good friend returned to my house with a Bass Pro Shop catalog. He handed to me and said, “There some good electric motors in here I thought you’d enjoy looking at to fit your boat.”  With that, he got back in his truck and left.

Cool,” I thought and looked forward to looking through it later.

That evening, I picked up the magazine and flipped through the magazine. There was something for every outdoor sportsman.  The fishing section was huge.  Finally, I got to the electric motors.  The pages had been marked with a paper.  The paper, it turned out, was a check for one of the motors and a battery.  Stunned, I looked at the check and then looked at the motor and battery my good friend had circled in the catalog.  A note scribbled in his barely legible handwriting said, “Enjoy this gift.  My wife and I wanted to do this for you.”

I recalled how just a few weeks ago I had breathed a desire toward heaven for something as insignificant as a rubber raft to fish and enjoy the out of doors. Now, here I was with both a boat and a motor.  It dawned on me then and continues to roll through my mind even today that the Creator delights in giving us the desires of our heart at times to just surprise us.

I have not always gotten everything I have wished for or prayed for in my life. I have yet to figure out the secret of getting everything I want from God.  I suppose he has other plans.  However, there are plenty of people who seem to want to treat him like some kind of heavenly vending machine or divine emergency exit from trouble.

Whether gifts of blessings or escapes from trouble, God’s help seems to always come as surprises: unexpected, in the final moments, and only at times that seem to have some hidden divine agenda. The surprise itself may be the point of the lesson.  It makes the times that God blesses or intervenes unforgettable.  And we all know that one of the greatest of human failings is forgetting – our blessings, life’s lessons, times of help, and those who care.

This may be the importance the old song intended when we sang,Count your blessings, name them one by one…count your many blessings, see what the Lord has done.”  Our faith buckets are leaky and our memories undependable.  Regular times of giving thanks for all of life’s events and what God has done in them can help us.  The Thanksgiving Season is a great opportunity to do this, though I doubt that very few actually do.  One thing about it, God will continue to surprise.  Perhaps we surprise him when we actually remember.

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

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Prairie Grass in the Wind, North Dakota, 2005

Prairie Grass in the Wind, North Dakota, 2005 ©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

September leaned into fall
clinging to the remnants
of summer’s warmth
remembering the distant blooms of spring’s color collage.

September resisted fall’s
persistent march toward winter
a deceiving warm invitation to
a cold death
costumed in ice and snow.

September announced change
to earth’s seasons
its harvest rains preparing life’s fruit
of blood, sweat, and tears for picking.

September called to us
and its night sky planets aligned
the moon rose and moved
east to west
while mars traveled
its easterly course.

September offered up memories
of seasons past and lost
as it rained
surrendered its future
by marking the end
by its rain.

September declared change in
its winds and skies
and it rained
to wash the land
and like tears
cleanse the soul
and like rain
wash away the dust
of a hot, dry season.

September tears rained
upon us as we celebrated
the ripened fruit
of our lives and bodies
and hungrily consumed
the fresh produce
of what we lovingly tendered.

Like harvest rains
mixed with dirt and sweat
September tears came
bitter and salty at first
leaving a thirst for something more
the reward of a good harvest and
a long Indian Summer before
winter’s first chill.

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

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Pink Buds and Flowers, Bush Garden House, Salem, Oregon, 2009

Pink Buds and Flowers, Bush Garden House, Salem, Oregon, 2009 ©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

You taught me to dance
perhaps not on purpose
but by chance.

We two lives were bound together
by vows that tether
and blend forever.

The beginning steps we made
halting, faulting, sometimes crazed
creating stops and starts

Our bruised and hurting toes
left our tender egos
cautious about the next steps.

Still we clasped each other
embraced the choice we made
and danced on bravely.

A step forward followed
then a sidestep ensued
with the next step subdued

With joy we whirled
or in frustration twirled
only to each other return.

Now here we with much practice
step and sweep lightly
across life’s great dance floor.

Whether by choice or chance
or some divine providence
it is you who
taught me to dance.

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

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Ron Almberg, Ron Frantz, Ray Canterbury, July 2007

Ron Almberg, Ron Frantz, Ray Canterbury, July 2007

How do you measure
two lives entwined?
Like twine twisted,
two lives like strings roped,
do you measure
the beginning
or the end?

How do you weigh
two lives’ treasure?
Like precious pearls,
memories like jewels roped,
Do you weigh
them each
or them all?

With the twine still twisting,
the rope yet unfinished
with the treasure still collecting,
the string of pearls yet incomplete,
I am content to know
that as our years grow
we are still in the middle,
yet to define the end
give perspective to the beginning
and find joy in the
beginning,
middle
and end.

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2010)

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Just saying the words, “New Year,” breathes hope into the heart and soul that the next 365 days will be different than the last.  We hope that there will be new opportunities of course.  But it is much more than that really.

What we want is not just more “new” of the same kinds of things.  Deep down, I believe, what most of us want is “new” different kinds of things.  We want new beginnings – fresh “start overs”.  We want different results from for our efforts and hard work in the professional and personal realms.  Some may want a new job (personally, that is on my short list since I have been gainfully unemployed now for over a year except for a few weeks in construction and a short writing assignment).  Some may want a new lifestyle or way of living.

hooked on phonics

When we say “Happy New Year”, then, we may not really know what we are wishing upon the persons we greet.  New more of the same kind?  Or, totally new of a different kind than they one they knew and experienced?  I have a sneaky suspicion that most people really want a new of a different kind.  I may be wrong and would readily admit it.  Perhaps this is born out of my own experience and constant dissatisfaction with the status quo.  I’ve never been happy with the stagnant, same ‘ol – same ‘ol.  I like to see progress and movement forward in my life.

However, I do not think that I am unique in this manner.  I think many people want their lives to be different.  I offer up as my evidence the perennial “New Year’s Resolutions”.  Most lists that I have examined, besides my own, consist of how things are going to be different in the New Year.  It may include lifestyle changes – lose weight, stop smoking, attend all my AA meetings, go to the gym more often, keep the kitchen clean, start and maintain a savings account among other things.  It may include spiritual changes – pray regularly, read the Bible everyday, start tithing, give monthly to missions, lead a small group, journal every week among a host of other things.

We want our future to be different. That means that we must become different, right?  Yeah, most of the time.  However, I do not think that any New Year’s Resolution will create a new me or new you.  What we really need is not more different but more of the same but right things in our lives.  All the ingredients for a Happy New Year are already in the cupboards of our life.  We just need to focus upon those ingredients and have more of them added into the daily mix.  In other words, we might not need a different recipe but just use what we have differently.

Want a New Year? Then add more of what is already available to you.  You already have God in your life?  Then add more of him in it by increasing his presence through prayer, praise, worship, and fellowship with like-minded believers.  You already have church fellowship and friends in your life?  Then add more fellowship and friends in your life be intentionally involving yourself in a serving or leadership role.  Already have family in your life?  Then add more through personal presence with them and heart-to-heart communication.  Already have a good job?  Then add to the joy of your work by doing it well and learning to be indispensable to others.  I could go on, but you get the picture.

As 2009 closes and 2010 opens to us, the one thing you can determine for this next year is how much “happy” and “new” you will have in it.  Sure, there will be trials and disappointment.  There may even be a major set back or two.  But remember, all the things you need for this New Year to be brand new and joyous may already be in your possession.  So, with that, I wish you a “Happy New Year”!

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2009)

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Fall Leaf in Howard Amon Park, Fall 2009

Fall Leaf in Howard Amon Park, Fall 2009 ©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2009)

Every once in a while
someone needs to help me
define reality.

Blinded by urgency
I cannot see outside
my space time.

Figures move too quickly
events come and go swiftly
right by me.

Someone who’s been here
sees from another perspective
my experience.

A view from where they stand
clearly enables me to better
define reality.

©Weatherstone/Ron Almberg, Jr. (2009)

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Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach ©Weatherstone

Anyone who has lived long enough to regret their mistakes in life has come to realize that life is more like Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” than a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys novella where every adventure always turns out all right and all problems are solved by book’s end.

This is probably why the Peanuts comic strip character Charlie Brown gets more sympathy from us than Linus or Snoopy.  All of us have a bit of Charlie Brown in us.  I suspect that think we all at one time or another must have felt like Beaudelaire orphans on a misadventure.  That is, if we are brave enough to admit it.

Those who are wise enough to learn from these experiences almost never repeat them.  Not everyone is that wise, however.  I have met people who seem to relish going through the same unfortunate events over and over.  Like a badly damaged compact disc, their lives keep resetting to the beginning of the same misadventure.

For myself, I appreciate a new misadventure or unfortunate event now again.  It keeps my life interesting.  Afterwards, it provides material for loads of laughter with my friends; all at my expense, of course.  After all, what is the use of these unfortunate events if one can’t use them for comic relief later in life?

For example, a friend of mine, my son, and I headed out to the Olympic Peninsula Wilderness area on the coast of Washington State…

For the rest of the story go to my page… https://weatherstone61.wordpress.com/a-journey-of-misdaventures-begins-with-one-step/

Gareth and Tim at Cape Alava Trailhead

Gareth and Tim at Cape Alava Trailhead ©Weatherstone

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