Pete’s Blog

Mondays with Pete

July 22, 2019

Good morning:

          This past week I celebrated another birthday.  It was a big one – one with a 5 at the end, one that signals a change of life for our society, one that comes with card from the government to help you with your health care.  Yes, 65 crept up on me.  Some days I really feel 65 and other days I wonder how that number could be true – I really don’t feel it.  Today is my father’s birthday.  He has been gone 32 years – a life cut short at 67 by bad choices and circumstances.

          I spent my birthday gathered around my 92 year-old father-in-law as he lay in a hospital bed following a stroke.  The family was called in and we filled the room with anxious questions, speculations, tears, laughter, hugs, fellowship, support and most of love for each other.  There were not enough facts to begin making decisions and plans for this man who touched every life in the room and beyond.  His sharp, methodical mind began processing all that had happened and what the future might hold.  Though his body is struggling, his eye is on the days ahead and how he and we were going to make the best of it.

          Leaving Kay in Oklahoma, I returned home to an empty, quiet house which gave me room to reflect on lives lived, lives surrendered, lives lost, lives touched, lives missed, opportunities taken advantage of and those squandered.  I contemplate retirement and what that will mean for me and those around me. 

I am close to the age when my father died.  I remember his shattered dreams and unfulfilled visions at the end of his life.  I reflect on the long life of my father-in-law who still fights the battle to live a meaningful life, even as the body is wearing out.  I ask in a whisper and even scream it out in my mind “WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, GOD?”

          The writer of Ecclesiastes reflects on his life and comes to the conclusion more than once that it is all meaningless.  What a horrible state of mind and emotion.  I don’t want it all to be meaningless.  But even he concludes his writing with these words: “Fear God and keep His commandments,  for this is the duty of all humankind.  For God will bring every deed into judgement, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14)

          The prophet Joel offers us these words:  “I will pour out my Spirit on all people.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days…And everyone who call son the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Joel 2: 28-29, 32).  But yet words still come to mind:  “What does it all mean, God?”

          The rambling thoughts and reflections of this preacher man were touched by this thought, placed in his heart and mind by the Spirit.  “Though you, Pete, might have those times when you feel everything is meaningless, there is always hope.  ‘Be in awe of God and keep His calling.’  ‘Even old men will dream dreams.’  And those dreams will come to fruition in My time and in My way.”

          I guess my only answer to the prompting of the Spirit is “Yes, Lord!” 

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