Most of my mornings begin with an earlier than expected awakening; this morning around 3:00. When I slip into my bedroom shoes, Coach arises as well, flopping his half breed Beagle ears in some helicopter-like motion, all excited about the trip down the driveway to retrieve the newspaper, at some point relieving himself of fluids built up during the night. He has yet to retrieve the prized plastic bag of printed wood pulp for his master! This beloved hound has his own priorities, especially if an early morning skunk has traversed the drive way.
Back inside, with coffee in hand, I begin my search of the printed page for world and local news not yet attained by way of digital media. At some point, I realize how pointless this exercise is, given the amount of time I spend on line. I will eventually lay aside this diminishing reminder of the change occurring in our culture, assuaging my environmental guilt by way of the cloth newspaper recycling container my wife keeps beside my reading chair.
Meanwhile my spirit continues to ruminate over the possibilities of the new day, and will invariably lead me to the one text that has for nearly 45 years guided my every morning. Same old stories, though the margins of this leather bound friend are inked with new insights, daily captured over time, some less legible than others. My legibility seems to diminish depending on the time allocated for reading and the pressure to produce, if that reading is somehow tied to a preparation. This I assume has correlation with my ever growing desire to squeeze a little more out of the day by awakening just a little earlier than most?
If enough time remains my contemplative mind will get the best of me and convince my fingers that they have something to say. Then, just as I am currently doing, I find myself pecking away at a keyboard. Though my intent is good, rabbit trails often sabotage my ultimate and most often layered message. Those that endure to the end, seem to find benefit!
Do I have something to say? It would seem that way, or certainly the requests for mentor-ship from the younger generation, the occasional speaking engagement or community leadership roles would rapidly diminish. When I play through my story, daily stimulated by the aged sagas captured in ancient scripture, whether prophet, priest or king, I am astonished at what has occurred in my lifetime.
Just one generation away from a family with no dirt to call their own, their only asset a bail of cotton, and that barely salvaged when my then 16 year old Dad backed his Public School bus up to the porch of their blazing rent house. Everything burned, no furniture, just a bail of cotton, yet they like so many other Great Depression survivors started anew with a raw faith that God would provide for their family of seven; less the brother who had died earlier of pneumonia, before the Doctor’s horse and buggy could arrive from town!
Having now served as a three term mayor, privileged to live in a high wealth community, self employed for over 20 years, how did I get here?
I even found myself conversing just last evening with a globally connected futurist about possiblilties of an invitation to New York, following a national gathering in Kansas this June of some 200 select communities. One generation away from one bale of cotton! What took me here this a.m., other than my astonishing gratefulness?
I Kings 7:3,4 & 8:
“Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.” NIV.
The story of my life and a few other good friends in search of mercy!