D.H. Groberg's poem, "The Race," depicts a foot race amongst boys. As the contest begins, one contestant surges to the front, leading the field until he trips and falls. Encouraged by his father's shouts, he gets up with renewed effort to catch the group, who by now has passed him. As he pushes forward, he falls again. Once more, he jumps to his feet, following the encouragement from his father, to continue the race. Yet, as the young man is closing the distance he had lost, he falls for the third time.
Like most pastors, I often officiate funerals for people I have never met. This can be challenging, as funerals usually require a eulogy of the deceased's life. To help me prepare the service, I meet with the family to talk about the loved one regarding who they were as a person. Most often, I come away from this experience regretting that I had never met the departed. They always sound like a friend I could have had.
Memories need very little influence to become active. I recently saw a man riding a bicycle down the street, and my mind immediately transported me back to a childhood event. That is the way memories work — you are going through life, minding your own business, and suddenly you detect a fragrance, hear a sound, or see some random act, and you are suddenly recalling an earlier experience.
Should people question our long-held Christian beliefs? For many, there is something sacrilegious about this. Traditional beliefs should be embraced, not questioned. Yet we are told that the church's unwillingness to entertain inquiries is causing many of the younger generation to turn away from the faith. They have questions the church seems unwilling to answer.
As I write this article, it is the second week of April and another snowstorm is predicted to hit our area. Spring is a long time coming this year. One thing winter teaches northern Wisconsin people is patience. There is no rushing nature. Yet, every year, winter goes away and spring takes its place. I admit I do not do well at this time of year. There is something within me that moans with each wintry weather report; something that yearns for anything green. Even moldy food in the refrigerator captures my attention.
A man once asked me if I had ever seen a completed "Honey Do List." I told him, completed Honey Do Lists are like unicorns. Many people believe they exist, but no one has ever seen one. Forgive my sexist remark, but I wanted to introduce the idea of to do lists. Some people use them to bring order to their life, making sure the important things get done. However, the challenge is not found in creating a list, but completing it. We often write down more than we can do.
I know your children are or were perfect, but my children were somewhat of a challenge from time to time. They were basically good kids, but they could be frustrating; especially when they failed to meet our expectations. It is not that our demands were too high; their cooperation was a bit too low. Thus we found ourselves continually reminding them to pick up their toys, clean their rooms, stop fighting, eat their vegetables, take a bath, etc.
The following illustration is from the Rev. Billy Graham who died last month.
Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from the summer of 2014? Everyone was dumping ice water over their heads to raise money for the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association, in order to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. The challenge raised $115 million, which the association is using to fund 150 different ALS research groups around the world.
When we first moved to Superior, my family and I warily anticipated our first winter in the northern clime. We had heard horror stories from the locals of what awaited us; the minus 50 degree temperatures, hundreds of feet of snow, long and dark nights, the half-hour long days; and that was just for October.