A love that endures forever

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sometimes, it's just too little, too late.

Or at least it appears to be.

A former neighbor's son was diagnosed with cancer just days before Thanksgiving 2006. Apparently, his body was so riddled with the disease that there was little that medical science could do to arrest it and forestall his eventual death. He died just days after Christmas. He was 45. From a purely human perspective, relying solely on medicine, I feared whatever they tried would be too little, too late. Sadly, I was right.

It looks like whatever we try in Iraq will also be too little and too late. How do you step into that kind of violence and bring it to a peaceful end? People not only aren't on the same page there, they aren't even reading from the same book. How can they be brought together in peace and brotherhood? Even President Bush is changing the lyrics to his number one hit song, allowing that we will remain until there is an "acceptable level of violence" in Iraq. Acceptable level? By whose measurement? I'm thinking if I'm on the receiving end of a good hard slap, that level of violence is unacceptable -- at least to me.

We have similar problems here. We are polarized. We have red states and blue states, each one with red or blue streaks crisscrossing the field, dividing city, county, neighbors and friends. It makes for a colorful quilt pattern, from a distance, but up close and personal, you can practically cut the tension with a knife.

Even though the national elections are still nearly a year off, we see candidates priming the pump by pumping as many hands as they can in a day in every evening newscast. Wake me up when it's over.

I sometimes fear we've seen the best days of the United States and are now watching the slow decline of democracy and representative government. Few of the candidates bear any resemblance to me, and wouldn't know how to live as I live if my life was suddenly thrust upon them. How long do you suppose it's been since any of the front runners had to pump their own gas or carefully watch the total lest they spend more than they have budgeted? I can't help but be suspicious of those who earn high positions of leadership by spending other people's money better than the next guy spends other people's money. Whatever they try to win and to woo my vote, its probably going to be too little, too late.

All of these are hot button items, and the list of things that separate us seems to go on and on and on. Can there be any unity among us?

This time of year, it seems, there still can be. Standing today, on the brink of the holiday shopping season, we all stop. For just one day, to look over the past months and give thanks. Certainly, for some, tomorrow simply serves as a warm-up exercise for the weeks to come, when there won't be enough hours in each day, nor enough funds in any account to tend to the presumed pressures of the Christmas season. Don't let it be so.

Stop, just for a moment and look around you, today, tomorrow and every day. Blessings abound. Time is short, it's true. But it's short for reasons that have nothing to do with the 12 Days of Christmas. It's short, because we can't count on having time to say "thank you" tomorrow. Or "I love you" tomorrow. Don't let love be lost or left behind -- don't let it be too little, too late. Whether in the quiet of the early morning hours, when the rest of the world lingers behind dream's door, or at the midnight hour, as the last key is turned and the last light is extinguished, give thanks.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. (His love endures forever) Give thanks to the God of gods. (His love endures forever) Give thanks to the Lord of lords: (His love endures forever) to him who alone does great wonders, (His love endures forever) who by his understanding made the heavens, (His love endures forever) who spread out the earth upon the waters, (His love endures forever) who made the great lights -- (His love endures forever) the sun to govern the day, (His love endures forever) the moon and stars to govern the night; (His love endures forever)... to the One who remembered us in our low estate (His love endures forever) and freed us from our enemies, (His love endures forever) and who gives food to every creature. (His love endures forever) Give thanks to the God of heaven. (His love endures forever) Psalm 136:1-9;23-26 (NIV)

Things you won't see in heaven: Hourglasses

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