Why Lord?

Sometimes it is just best to live our lives as the bible says than to try and figure out life’s inequities. One lives in a shack, another in a Castle. I’m greatful for all that I have been given and who I am today!

We love meeting new people along our journey and cherish old friends and family. Our old van has provided us with both transportation and entertainment. Today, Tuesday the 2nd of April, we stopped for gas in Beaufort, South Carolina. The gas station was run down and populated with obviously poor black folks who hardly have a material blessing to their names. But as soon as I pulled in and stepped out of the van an ancient, poorly dressed old man (my age) appeared from nowwhere. Toothless, malnourished and certainly rough looking, the black man said with a smile grinning from ear to ear, “You’ve got a 350 in there ain’t you?” “You’re right,” I replied; before he spoke I could see a joy, rich and deep in that man.

We said no more, and I quickly went into the station to use the restroom, it was time if you know what I mean. When I returned and got back into the van the same man reappeared. This time he stands with another man no more then ten feet in front of the van, just off the side of our windshield. The two of them were staring at me, I was now in the drivers seat. At first it felt awkward, but I quickly figured they were waiting, waiting to hear the rumble of the motor, I hurried to turn the key anticipating two big joyous smiles. It started, and I did! I was thrilled too!

My old van is making people happy, I did not think the deep rumble from twin 2″ exaust pipes could make three people so happy, but it did! I presume they had never seen a van like mine and were excited by their discovery. Life for them was made new today. For me, I was delighted to see them happy!

Along our retirement journey we have visited great friends. We have experienced Camp Nathanael, the work of God, and were reminded of the rustic, happy and sad lives, of people in Appalachia.

We fished. We did Cades cove in the Smokey Mountain National Park. We visited Family! We did Dollywood with some nice people we met when they stopped to see our van.

We have seen the bounty given the Teasdale family at the Master’s Mission and were reminded of days past. We experienced the pleasure of meeting and reminiscing with a Cherokee Indian girl at a restaurant in Robbinsville. We visited the Vanderbuilt Mansion in Asheville. We have eaten way too much good food!

And we just today had the pleasure to seeing a mom and her two girls enjoying themselves at dinner. I know, and so do you, here comes another story.

So, Jackie was eating a delicious Red Snapper sandwich and I some blackened shrimp taco’s. The restaurant is on Tybee Island east of Savannah, I think it is called “The Searay?” We were enjoying sunshine instead of the cloudy cold we had earlier this morning in Charleston. On the outdoor patio some really good 1960’s and 1970’s music was playing and people were all having a fun time. Occasionally everybody would break out in song following along with the words of these classic old songs, it was all spontaneous. The family of a mom and her two girls were sitting just next to us at a table of four. One of her girls was facing our table. I immediately noticed first that she was very cute, but not in a creepy old man looking at a young thing way. She was maybe seventeen, but I could be way off. Her smile was infectious, but then I noticed her mom. She too had the same big infectious smile, the third daughter as well. All three were having such a good time chatting that it had occured to us that this was actually unusual. There were no cell phones being stared at, no alcohol was involved, the girls and their mom were simply enjoying the pleasure of the moment and apparently we were in the company of an unusual filial friendship.

I promise, I did not stare, I was only pleased to see their joy! Have you noticed the theme here? Well, we finished our dinner and instead of just leaving full and happy, we both engaged the girls mom and told her that we noticed the joy in both herself and her girls and it was a pleasure to see it. A sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure overwhelmed them all. In other words they were thrilled that we would do such a thing and say such things. It made all of us happy! “That was so sweet of you to say,” the cute one said. “Well, it made our day to say it,” we replied!

Life is really made up of little things, little good things! Smiles and laughs, kind words and sometimes, but hopefully not often, even sorrows and tears. Our retirement tour, our van experiences, our happiness is a gift from God and we are happy to share it. I realise not all of us have the same gifts, but we all have gifts. Mine is to encourage others. To do better, to believe differently, to look inward and express outwardly our love. No fear! The work of God is in all things.

Tomorrow we hope to “see” Savannah, the city. But we also hope to experience the joys of living and greeting people along the way. Stay tuned, we too have no idea about what lies ahead!

“An Articulate President”

“Unfortunately we don’t have an articulate president!” This statement and critism about our president I saw in a Facebook thread this morning. It’s mostly a true statement, and I’ll not argue against it by itself or in context. But we should not confuse having the ability to speak fluently and coherently with having the ability to express our ideas or “sell” a concept with comprehensible skill. Nor should we equate verbal skills with intellectual giftedness.

This is a personal issue for me. It’s like having my own oysters kicked when I hear of people criticised for their lack of verbal eloquence. It makes me righteously angry and you had better get out of my way when you do so!

We can all comb our hair, brush our teeth even get a makeover to help us appear eloquent. But our delinquent verbal or social skills are not always laziness or indicative of our gifted minds. Yes gifted! We all have the ability to think! And most of us have the ability to understand views, concepts, theories, facts, emotions, etc.. And although we may not have the verbal eloquence of an elite, silver tongued Yale law school grad, we know what we mean in our own minds, even if we cannot express our words eloquently.

I’m a frusturated speaker and a retarded preacher! God never gave me the gift. I can go over my words in my mind a thousand times, but when I open my mouth my tongue reveals disjointed, sometimes incomprehensible, jibberish. In other words I can say what I don’t mean (just as my wife) and create misunderstanding and confusion; a psychologist might say I have symptoms of communicative dysforia. You know the more common saying, “He’s certainly no rocket scientist” best describes me.

I grew up with this sociological inadequacy and it made me self conscience to some degree. Fortunately I was athletic, and I had football skills, so grunting was acceptable, but you had to be cute, funny or a star player to be popular; I scored in at least one of these, not everybody is as fortunate. As I got older I still struggled internally. I realized with training, financial success, even fearlessness, I was not going to be a smooth speaker. I was destined, as President Trump, to repeat myself, have pregnant pauses, slur my pronunciations, and make poor word choices to make myself clear. Speaking was, and is, frustrating and it may be why I like to write. My son has a favorite and familiar saying when he finally understands my verbal assaults, “Ok, I get it dad, quit beating the dead horse,” he says.

So to all of God’s people who cannot fully express themselves in graceful utterances: Expressing oneself readily, clearly, and effectively is not in the least an indication of your intelligence or indicative of the value of your ideas. Remember that!

The quick-witted and slick tongued are not free to be merciless nor dismissively arrogant, there are accountants in heaven. We know in our own hearts what is right, what is good, and what is acceptable. And the best arguments do not have to be eloquent to be understood or believed. So while it it refreshing and mostly entertsining to hear from an eloquent speaker or read a specially gifted author, we should never dismiss a person of any stripe for their lack of eloquence. In fact I look forward to hear from those less fortunate, for in them is the same God that created me. In them are thoughts, emotions, imaginations, ideas, and better ways than I can ever think or be. Thank you President Trump for being real! Thank you all the people who are tongue tied, poorly spoken and incapable of giving coherent, clear, and effective expression of your ideas and feelings. I love you as I love myself!