Reflecting on Military Service….

Four years ago my daughter’s middle school class offered a touching and memorable ceremony to honor our veterans. We live near Washington, DC, so many active duty military were present. A letter was sent home asking if family members would like to be included in the ceremony. That day I did not ask to be remembered, although I served 11 years on active duty and another 6 in the reserves. Instead, I asked my father to be remembered for his time in the Navy during World War II. My father’s health was declining and he had limited energy on the best of days. Yet he chose to stand through most of the ceremony, to honor the children who chose to honor him. The band played patriotic songs and a medley of service marches spurred a friendly rivalry. Then a number of students took the stage one by one. Each student briefly offered their particular hope or dream, to become a doctor, or a fire fighter, or ballet dancer. Then they thanked the veterans for giving them the chance to live out their dreams. My father had admired a number of quilts that lined the walls, each block made by the students to reflect an American value. Much to his surprise, he went home with one of those quilts, deeply touched by the personal nature of this tribute. We did not know it at the time, but that was Dad’s last Veteran’s Day. Take time today to thank a veteran for serving our country, for wounds seen and unseen. Consider the impact of their service and sacrifices on your life, each and every day. And remember to pass on the stories of those who have gone before us, for we stand on the shoulder of giants. Photo by David Buckwalter © 2011

Reflecting on Connection….

It’s another misty morning here in Virginia. On days like this, it’s easy to understand why our mountains are called the Blue Ridge. So I was drawn to this amazing photo taken by my friend David. While the sky clears and the sun sets, fog still clings to the rolling hills. Our area is bisected by tall towers that carry power to Pennsylvania and beyond. The towers raise more than a little controversy, and most folks mention their presence with disdain. Yet David entitled this photo ‘Electric Angels’. In what others find a nuisance, he finds reassurance. He is not alone. Another friend, Bryan Jacobs, sings ‘Jesus on the Mainline’, as the last track of his blues album ‘Remington Steel’. Both men express our deep seated need to connect. Our hearts crave connections to one another, and to God. When we lack that connection, we don’t just lose God, we lose ourselves. The tiniest frustration becomes devastating, and we are paralyzed by the smallest setback. Yet all it takes is a single sigh, an upturned look, a muffled cry. Christ is always there, whether we know it or not, waiting for us to plug back in. We may feel as though we have been sidetracked, but Christ calls us back onto the mainline, the central artery of life. Take time today to tap into God’s power line. Call out to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart and feed your soul. Join Jesus on the mainline, and leave your blues behind. Photo by David Buckwalter © 2011

Reflecting on Resilience….

The clouds are darkening and we expect thunderstorms later in the day. Folks are checking for damage from Tuesday’s earthquake here in Virginia, still marveling at the unexpected. Older buildings didn’t fare as well, with the downtown district in Culpeper suffering the most impact. The newer buildings held up, stronger and more resilient than our historic homes. So I was drawn to this photo of a dragonfly, taken by my friend David. This insect looks more like a jewel than a living creature. The light plays off his wings and the surface beneath him. This photo captures the feelings often evoked by a dragonfly, a sense of mystery and rare beauty. I have encountered dragonflies in the oddest places. Often when I am stuck in traffic, one will land on my windshield. Just when I am at my boiling point, fed up with being stuck, I am reminded there is so much more to life than my current frustration. To see such beauty in such an unexpected place is a great gift. While Christians favor the butterfly a symbol of resurrection, many cultures prefer the dragonfly. This insect is considered a symbol of rebirth and triumph over adversity. Their eggs can live up to six years before hatching. Dragonflies winter over, choosing which season to hatch. The mature dragonfly only exists for about two months. The elegant and illusive beauty we cherish is also fleeting. Yet like a prima ballerina, this insect is both beautiful and powerful. Dragonflies gracefully move in any direction, with wings 30 times more powerful than any other insect. Yet what I find most incredible is their eyes, which allow them to see in all directions. Take time today to look beyond your current frustrations. Drink in the unexpected beauty of your surroundings, looking past the cracks in your life and soul. Consider ways to be more resilient, to triumph over adversity. Trust that God is in control, even when life seems out of control, and allow the healing power of awe and wonder to transform your view of world. Photo by David Buckwalter

Reflecting on Creation….

We are enjoying a bit of a break from the heat, with a nice breeze today. What we really need is rain. We have had a very dry summer in Virginia. So I was drawn to this photo of a dew drenched bee, taken by my friend David in the wee hours of the morning. David and his wife Carole spent all night taking photos, resulting in many truly amazing pictures. Yet the early morning photos caught my eye. Take a good look at this bee, at the intricate detail of his body and wings. The bee almost appears furry, with delicate wings that seem at odds with his sturdy body. Each part is uniquely formed to serve its function, as this tiny bee and the rest of his hive travel from flower to flower collecting nectar. While we continue to sleep, the world around us is vibrantly alive. We rest in the assurance that all shall be well with the world when we rise, that the earth continues to rotate on its axis, that the atmosphere we take in breathe by breathe is still in place, secured by gravity and a hundred other intricate and interwoven mechanisms of nature. All these things, both large and small, work together for our good. Our all powerful God, whether called Yahweh, or Allah, or whatever name you chose, offers us life, one breathe at a time. This sovereign God not only creates the largest of things, but also deigned to create this bee, one of the smallest of things. If our all powerful God can take the time to wantonly lavish such detail on a creature as small as a bee, what more can God do for each of us? Take time today to consider the sovereignty of God, and let go of what burdens your heart. Make room for the author of creation to craft a solution to what seems impossible, trusting that whatever you ask is but a little thing for the same Lord that conquered sin and death on the cross. Photo by David Buckwalter

Next Newer Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 224 other followers