Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Deja Vu..........................."

Frederick Buechner is one of my favorite authors and discovering one of his books yesterday on a Joseph Beth shelf yesterday was a treat. “Listening to Your Life”, as it turned out, is no more than a yearly devotional filled with snippets from other works I probably already possess; but this from will allow me a refreshing and his introduction, if nothing else, has already provided me with his usual ability to feed my soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson is supposed to have reached a point in his life where he had gradually slipped into a “serene senility” in which his mind finally became a calm blank. One day he happened to pick up a volume of his old essays, browsed through it for a while, and then remarked that although he couldn’t place the young fellow who wrote them, he thought that, all in all, there was promise in what was said. I can relate. The journey changes us as we go; and wisdom isn’t necessarily to utilize in suggesting what we have gained in the process. Indeed, while one might hope that we have learned some lessons along the way, humanity remains subject to error, still prone to stumbling in the next step, and yet the fool it always was in chasing its own ego down the path. If, in looking back, we feel we have one up on youth just now arriving at some point we experienced in our past, it may well be that we could extend some helpful advice, but it isn’t written in concrete that our perspective is the only solution to the mystery. Just because the bridge and then the left turn after picking up the sledgehammer worked for me, that doesn’t make the other guy dumb if he rows a boat across river, turns right, and goes over the wall with a ladder. The key is Christ. Other than that we are individuals…… I sat in Bible class Wednesday evening and listened to the passion in our teacher’s voice as he compared Canaan to a promised land within every believer, an oasis given unto us via Calvary whose waters provide reassurance and food for our soul, and yet a “mountain” in the sense that we must “take it” again and again, removing all the obstacles that life seems to bring to us on a daily basis. He took me back to myself, twenty or thirty year ago, with maybe ten people in a small room for Sunday school. His theology and mine differ on a couple of issues. Nothing that could be amiably discussed over a cup of coffee; but it must be admitted that my thoughts sometimes embrace the truth that he has not yet been where I have been. Give him time. He’ll see. A wrong attitude on my part, of course. What’s important is that evident witness that comes forth in all that he is. He and I are plugged into the same well, eat at the same table; and there is room enough for an old man to appreciate the new kid on the block, to see, in him, myself, as it was back there in the beginning…….

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