Time To Think
Ever since I learned to plough with horses under gentle grey skies on the rolling hills of our southern Ontario farm, I have loved the fall season of the year. Everything winding up. Summer's rush over, the crop (whether good or bad) taken in -- time to breathe deeply, and look forward to rest and read on long evenings after the snow comes.
The good Lord gave us evenings and nights, the fall season, and the quick decline of our lives as we reach middle age to make us stop and think. So soon gone. So little done. So much in life and worlds to come.
Kees Scheepens, a brother my age from the Netherlands has also been thinking during this time of the year. This week I received a poem that he says came to him in one of those moments of sudden inspiration (roughly translated below):
Dankbaarheid voor leven
Dankbaarheid voor leven, leven in dit land
Dankbaar om te geven, met de open hand
Wat waren we verloren, wat zochten we toch lang
God die liet ons zoeken, Hij hielp ons bij de gang
De gang naar eerlijk leven, tussen runderen en zeugen
Simpel, eenvoud, van harte, en altijd volle teugen
Adem, lucht en blij met zon en regen
Vol vertrouwen in Hem, dat valt nooit tegen
Dank U Heer, voor zoveel giften en gaven
Dank U Jezus, dat wij ons bij U mogen laven
Laven aan De Bron, van Leven en van Goed
Wie goed naar U luistert, weet wat overgave doet
Uw Koninkrijk op Aarde, verborgen of totaal vergeten
U God, moet zich maar al te vaak met Mammon en duivel meten
Echte vrede op aarde, balans in mediteer-meer en consuminder
Uw zoon Jezus, de ware ‘Tom-Tom’ of ‘padenvinder’
Thankfulness for Life
Thankfulness for life, for life in this land,
Thankful to be able to give with an open hand,
Although we were lost, seeking for a long time,
God let us be searched out and helped us find our way.
To find our way to an honest life, to witness for him around home
in simplicity, with singleness of heart, with virtue all the time.
He gives us breath, the air we breathe, joy in sun or rain,
Trusting him completely we know we shall overcome.
Thank you, Lord, for so many gifts and blessings,
Thank you, Jesus, that we may be washed in you!
Washed in the fountain of life and goodness,
the one who listens to you comes to know the great blessing of surrender.
Your kingdom on earth is hidden or totally forgotten,
You, God, have to compete with the appeal of money and the devil's work,
But true peace on earth, balance in meditation, comes with the one who is more than a conqueror
Your son, Jesus, the true drum-beat and Pathfinder to follow!
* * * * *
Another poem Kees sent this week "Ploegen met paarden" (Ploughing with horses) appears on his site http://www.onsthuis.blogspot.com:80/ along with a nice picture of their family. The Scheepens, baptised members of the Elmendorf community in America, live in Noord Brabant, not far from Klundert in the Netherlands, the village featured in the opening chapter of "The Secret of the Strength."
Thank you, brothers, for pointing us to a reality above the comings and goings of our day-to-day affairs. I have also been thinking lately and remembering a little ditty we learned in school:
A wise old owl lived in an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more the more he heard,
Why can't we be like that wise old bird?
* * * * *
The more of life that lies behind us, the nearer we get to the end, the better I like it.