“I know it is right to do right.’ Goethe remarked on reading some memoirs, ‘We learn from this what a splendid thing truth is when anyone has the courage to speak it.”~Goethe
We will be caught up after today’s Ration. I thought a lot about how to do these Rations this week. They are such a look into an American culture that has been slowly sinking beyond the horizon like a beautiful sunset. Today’s generation can’t imagine – it is hard for me to remember. And yet – — –
Maybe that is the way the world flows. My parents had come through a very turbulent youth and early adult decades but were able to end their years in a quasi-peaceful manner – after all small town life then was a lot different than small town life now. Technology has shared the shaking world’s presence into even its smallest corners, and people shake with it.
It is my hope that a few shaking people have time to read these Daily Rations. Maybe not at one time because there is a lot to read here. However, there is a place where things don’t shake and rattle beneath the feet. It is merely a matter to remember the path back to that place.
1942 Daily Ration: “I have lived before God in all good conscience until this day.’ ~Acts 23:1
Read: Psalm 15
“A good conscience is a great joy. One may suffer materially for the course that he has conscientiously taken; public opinion may not approve and friends may criticize; but the heart is filled with an incomparable peace. There is no greater source of inner satisfaction than to be able to say, ‘I have done what I think is right.’ Truth and right reward their faithful followers by the sense of inward peace. Out of experience came the familiar simple creed of a distinguished man, ‘I know it is right to do right.’ Goethe remarked on reading some memoirs, ‘We learn from this what a splendid thing truth is when anyone has the courage to speak it.’
“Prayer: ‘Our God of Truth, may we be loyal to the truth we know ad faithfully follow the way which commends itself i our conscience, so that we may find our wills in harmony wit thine ad know the peace that passeth understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
1942 Daily Ration: “My soul thirsteth for God…Deep calleth unto deep.’~Ps 42:2,7
“Prayer is not the act of a weak man, but of a strong man at his best. The deep places of the human spirit and the deeps of the Spirit of God have something in common, and man is at his best when he feels the tug of the Infinite within him.
“One of the race’s giants was found on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge praying to the Almighty Father for strength to shoulder his responsibilities. We honor George Washington for the wisdom and courage and perseverance with which he led our nation in its infancy. We honor him, too, for knowing where to turn for direction and sustaining power.
“Read: Daniel 6:4-11.
“Prayer: God, I need thee- –
When morning crowds the night away
And tasks of waking seize my mind;
I need thy poise.
God, I need thee – –
When clashes come with those
Who walk the way with me,
I need thy smile.
God, I need thee – –
When the path to take before me lies
I see it…courage flies…
I need thy faith.
God, I need thee – –
When the days’ work is done,
Tired, discouraged, wasted;
I need thy rest. Amen.”~Howard Thurman
When I was little, I remember climbing on a chair to stand beside dad and watch him make the dressing and stuff the turkey. Later, i stood beside him at the kitchen sink, cutting and dicing, as he taught me how to make his yummy dressing. It wasn’t fancy – no oysters, no cornmeal – just bread (and if you didn’t have enough bread, add some crackers), eggs, salt, pepper, parsley, onions (but not in all of it since big brother didn’t like onions), worcestershire sauce (I don’t think he made anything without that) and turkey broth. If it was cold enough (and it usually was) we would put the aluminum foiled turkey on the screened in front porch until we popped it in the oven the next day.
It is a special memory that surfaces everytime I get a turkey ready for Thanksgiving. A memory of a story-telling father passing on his tradition. A funny mother drifting in and out of the kitchen. With l laughter and love breathing a life-force around us all. There is not a day I am not thankful for these memories.
Today, my Granddaughter gave me a Thanksgiving scarf that she made all by herself. She learned to finger crochet sometime this past month at the her 1st grade Montesorri. (needless to say – this is my kind of school). Tonight it is wrapped around the amaryllis bulb that I bought from her school fundraiser (can’t escape school fundraisers no matter where you go) and tomorrow, I will wear it with thanksgiving in my heart for this new memor
God is good all the time. Sometimes, it is hard to realize it when pain tries to block our senses. I read the proclaimation by President George Washington on October 3, 1789, a letter written by Edward Winslow in 1621 about the first Thanksgiving feaste and the times before it. I watched a video about Father Douglas an Iragi priest who has been tortured by ISIS for his belief in Jesus Christ. That he is alive is a miracle in itself. That he is still proclaiming and living in Irag ministering his church is another. Both walked through much harder challenges than I could even imagine. Both proclaim the goodness and love of God. Their humble Thanksgiving breathes life into my own journey.
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
A Living Epitaph – sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?
Death surrounds us. We lose family, friends, acquaintances, loved ones, pets, co-workers, even celebrities (those people we don’t really “know”, but are somehow a part of our life), and in my case…sadly, former students. Just a part of life throughout our journey upon this muddy sphere of life. Our periods of mourning varies depending on the person and their personality. For me, cutting my hair, music, crying buckets upon buckets of tears, building a memorial, and spiritual introspection all seem to be part of my mourning process. Don’t ask me why, it is just me. Maybe it is also why I am fascinated by epitaphs – although there is nothing special on our own family stones.
George Washington: (1732-1799) – Looking into the portals of eternity teaches That the Brotherhood of Man is Inspired by God’s WORD; Then all prejudice of race vanishes away.
I tend to think that music is the Light that is always in my transitory hallway of mourning. It echoes down that darken space where the lights are almost non-existent and scary shadows stretch up the walls. It beckons me forward when I really don’t want to move. If I listen, it encourages my steps, inch-by-tiny inch. Its harmonies, melodies, accompaniments, harmonic overtones, dissonances waft around me until I am ready to open a new door in my life and walk through. When my father died, I filled my life with classical music. Requiems – masses – in particular, the B-Minor Mass by Bach and Bernstein’s Mass. My college choir sang the B-Minor Mass just a few months after Daddy died and “Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass resonated in my soul constantly – and still does. I spent a long time in that hallway before my steps reached the right door to open. Many years later, that transitory hallway appeared again when my mother died. This time it was filled with spirituals…specifically the recordings of Moses Hogan choirs: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot and Gonna Ride. It was a shorter hallway for some reason, but still a very dark one.
Benjamin Franklin: (1706-90) – The body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the cover of an old book Its contents torn out, And stripped of its lettering and gilding, Lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be wholly lost, For it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more perfect edition, Corrected and amended. By the Author.
Since the time my father walked me through my first graveyard and pointed out special family markers, looking at tombstones have always been fascinating to me. Walking through old, old cemeteries is always one of my favorite things to do. Especially taking the time to read the Epitaphs. Epitaphs are a way of summing up a person’s life. Some of the great ones are written by the deceased before their passing. Some are blank. Some are short. Some are erased by weathering over the decades. Now there are even pictures and computer chips that can be activated by cell-phones. Epitaphs are as varied as the people that walk upon this earth.
Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior: (1929-1968) – Free at Last, Free at Last Thank God Almighty I’m Free at Last.
I watched a movie this weekend. In it the protagonist was challenged to change his life. In the climax, the protagonists sits in a graveyard and writes two lists. One was a list of lies that he has always believed; the other, a list of truths that he has found to be true. He buries the lies and then writes a living epitaph for himself using those truths as a guide. Those three words stuck with me all weekend. A Living Epitaph: a sentence that describes who we want to be from here on out. We don’t have to wait till we die before we are “free” or “re-written” or “inspired”. Because of Grace, we can be all of these things today. We can bury the “lies” we believed about ourselves and become – A Living Epitaph. It is just a simple action of opening up the door and walking into the Light.
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” Jn 11:25