Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Archive for July, 2022

The Two Most Important Days

A sentence (or variations thereof) often attributed to the American author Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) is “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” However, according to an entry in QuoteInvestigator.com, nobody quite knows who first said it.

An intriguing version of the quote is, “Our times call not for diction but for action. It has been said that the two most important days of a man’s life are the day on which he was born and the day on which he discovers why he was born. This is why we were born: To love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.” [Sermon by Minister Ernest T. Campbell, delivered on January 25, 1970 in New York City.] Note that Mr. Campbell states, “It has been said…,” so he apparently didn’t know the source of the saying, either.

The Quote Investigator entry goes on to note other variations by quite a few authors or speakers, including a later variation by Mr. Campbell.

Though I’m not commenting on every thought or belief of Mr. Campbell, I like his original continuation of the quote as to why we were born: “To love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves.” Though the Quote Investigator considers the quote to be by “Anonymous,” who knows? Perhaps Mark Twain did say it after all.

I Hang by a Thread

I hang by a thread, on the edge of a steep precipice;
I am weak and vulnerable.
Yet the Lord will rescue and deliver me.

I sit in the dark, not understanding;
I suffer from blindness.
Yet the Lord will bring His light.

I don’t know His plan for me,
Yet He said He has one.
So I hang in the dark, hoping and trusting.

“He who has begun a good work in you
Will bring it to completion
On the day of Jesus Christ.”
(Philippians 1:6)

With Broken Heart and Contrite Sigh

With broken heart and contrite sigh
A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry:
Thy pardoning grace is rich and free
O God, be merciful to me.

I smite upon my troubled breast,
With deep and conscience guilt oppressed;
Christ and His cross my only plea:
O God, be merciful to me.

Far off I stand with tearful eyes,
Nor dare uplift them to the skies;
But Thou dost all my anguish see:
O God, be merciful to me.

Nor alms, nor deeds that I have done,
Can for a single sin atone;
To Calvary alone I flee:
O God, be merciful to me.

And when, redeemed from sin and hell,
With all the ransomed throng I dwell,
My raptured song shall ever be,
God has been merciful to me.

[A hymn by Cornelius Elven, 1852, public domain]

Thoughts on Independence Day, USA

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people chosen as his inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12)

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

“…for what has been achieved we give you thanks, for the work that still remains we ask your help…” (from an Independence Day prayer)

For blood that’s been shed,
For many prayers said,
For all the tears cried,
Lord, be by our side.

Forgive all that’s wrong;
Lord, help us be strong.
Celebrate what’s good;
Increase brotherhood.

We give You our past;
Only heaven will last.
Go forward again,
Let divisions all mend.

A Year Since We Moved On!

About one year ago (June 27, 2021), my husband and I set out on our journey to move to Ohio from California. We chose to take nine days to do the drive, with our cat.

The trip here, and life afterwards have been an adventure, to say the least. For me, it’s been a bigger deal than for my husband. He grew up in Ohio, whereas I had lived in California my entire life, not even going away to college, not even a college within California (except as a commuter student, three or four times). Possibly, making a big change like this when you’re 67 might be slightly difficult!

We ended up in what I might call a semi-suburb. We are outside the limits, and on the east side of a large city. Our zip code is the same as a nearby small town, but we don’t live inside that town’s city limits. Although we have a sewer system rather than septic tanks, and other suburban amenities, it’s a very quiet neighborhood (development), which happens to have a small woodsy section in the center permanently preserved for wildlife. We often see deer, rabbits, chipmunks, squirrels, and many, many birds. On the other hand, my son and his family, who live within the west side of the same big city mentioned above, also see deer, plus have woodchucks nesting in their big yard, and other wildlife makes its presence known to them.

The people in Ohio have been wonderful. The biggest adjustments for me are climate (humidity and cold), bugs (chiggers are the most difficult so far), and poison ivy (rooting it out can take a lot of work, and you practically have to where a hazmat suit to work on it). Getting a new driver’s license (because of my unconventional birth certificate) and setting up new doctors were also challenging.

And the many good things: Abundance of natural life, plenty of water, dramatic clouds and thunderstorms, friendly neighbors who almost always wave, family helping each other, fireflies, a beautiful river just a few miles away and the riverside trail along it, etc.!

Thanks be to God and to all who prayed for us and made this journey possible.

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