Amazing Grace

The afternoon breezes are cool and inviting. Lately I have been walking the pathway around our campus lake on the campus of Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale. I have been reminded of the efficacy of this quiet sanctuary. As I traverse the familiar path of my youth…I am lost in the welcoming embrace of nature. The ducks are swimming languidly quacking…when necessary. The deer have become accustomed to foraging for food near and next to the few human animals that they encounter. I hear a sound in the underbrush and look to find squirrels playing an ambitious game of tag! I notice the little Christmas Tree…that will be decorated with ornaments that passers by place on her…in a couple of months. I peered though the growth and the trees to see the lake in a natural window of trees…it was azure blue and placid and serene…and not in a hurry and without worries. As is my custom I snapped some photos. I noticed later when I was reviewing them…that they appeared ethereal… The photos had a somewhat dream-like quality. They were a bit like looking through cheesecloth. The tall trees grow in the years that the human family is joyful and in the years when distress and pandemic and political strife seem to have upended the flows and rhythms of life as we know them.

Norah Jones the popular singer, plays and sings, live, each Thursday afternoon on the internet. When I tuned in she was singing Amazing Grace. This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I have found myself lately thinking…what else can go wrong? Our 2020 pandemic is almost assuredly going to be our 2020/2021 pandemic…our president says that he may not accept the will of the voters of the United States…that is unless he wins… The economy for millions of people across our planet is abysmal…and will not improve for many until the Corona virus is properly addressed. I have friends with significant health challenges…and I think about them and pray for them daily. An innocent black woman was killed in Louisville, Kentucky and only one of three officers that were involved in the killing was charged with wanton endangerment due to his firing into other apartments that the young woman was not in… Confusion and obfuscation and categorical lies are the smoke that envelops our presidential election…

But….the deer and the squirrels and the ducks and the trees and the lake…tell me that God is still in control of his creation! This is my favorite time of year. It is the time of reflection on the past and hope and change for the future. It is a time when I reminisce on the many challenges that I have faced…that I thought would pull me under for the last time. I remember not having enough money to pay the bills. When health scares in my family…devastated me. Success in employment opportunities…when I feared failure… Through all of those pitfalls…a Guardian Angel has watched over me…and now I am a happy old man…looking back…

‘Amazing grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

I once was lost but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relived

How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first belived

Through many dangers toils and snares we have already come

Twas grace hath brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home’

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