This morning I've continued the process of sorting and saving, scrolling through literally thousands of photographs and documents. Consequently, I've run across a few pictures I'd forgotten about, or skipped over. Some are definitely worth sharing.
This first image was taken just this past week, looking along the side yard in our garden. Those trees in the background are Amazon Rain Trees. We planted three back in 1997, and this is certainly their best time of the year.
Our garden, much like our spiritual lives is a mixture of vision, wild growth, sporadic maintenance, planning, neglect, and the generous hand of God. I've often said - and only partially joking - that church PNCs (pastor nominating committees) should never make a decision on a spiritual leader without first taking a tour of their garden. Our garden speaks volumes (including commentary on chronic back pain and age-enhanced fatigue!), and it sometimes suggests why we should probably think seriously about two other ideas: "Condominium" and "container-gardening"!
Next up is a quiet moment with Rebekah on the Gulf of Mexico. One of our favorite "restorative" recreational initiatives is to take long slow walks along the shore around sunset. This particular moment was captured out at Bradenton Beach - that's Rebekah, down by the water. When I see the edge of the ocean, I can't help but think about the way that time laps up against eternity, how the brush of immortality reaches me sometimes, and how the spiritual and the physical worlds meet with more graspable meaning....
This last is of Mozart, my faithful dog who finally passed away at 16, having willed himself to hang around a couple of extra years so he could enjoy my "work-at-home" status after I quit teaching. He died well before I started blogging, so he will be new to those of you who didn't know me then.
"Mo" taught me a lot about the redemptive power of faithful love. The brief version of his story is this: Mo came to us at four years of age, having been severely abused and neglected in his early life. We eventually taught him to trust again, and - just as soon as he understood that the nightmare was truly over - Mo said "thank-you" the only way he knew how; he loved us right back. He spent the next 12 years trying as hard as he could to make sure that we all - and me in particular - knew that he was head-over-heels, over-the-top devoted, with all the doggie-love he could muster.
It's a simple thing to love in that way. All you have to do is want the absolute best for the other in every circumstance, never ever putting yourself or your own agenda ahead. Funny thing about those who love like that - they invariably receive even more than they give...
Love - DEREK