Sunday, May 31, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From placid pools to sizzling rapids, a river combines the different forces of nature into one single marvel. Running with the might of a tiger, swerving with the agility of an antelope, and destroying with the power of dynamite, the spring-fed river is both a natural habitat for animals and a scene of great beauty to be admired. Choosing for its home a remote location in central Missouri, the Current River slithers through masses of lush forest, fleeing from the highlands as if death were on its tail. This is the life of the Current River all the way from its birth in the chilly bubbling springs.
With its smooth crystalline skin covering the river when it is wide and deep, the river gives the illusion of a quiet, peaceful place, but it is often deceptive. Underneath its calm skin flows a powerful current that explodes into the air off of rocks when the river becomes thin or shallow. The casual observer is not the only one carried away by its deception; the trees and rocks are likewise deceived. Under the guise of a friendly, helpful neighbor, the Current River befriends the trees and rocks in the area by feeding the trees water and flowing over the strong rocks. As time passes, the river slowly carves into the rocks and bank to obtain more space. Whole trees are ripped from the ground and flung across the river, and rocks are cut into tiny fragments that line the banks in the form of sand.
The river does not, however, betray all of its friends; the fish find comfort and peace in the strong currents of the Current River. From tiny flashing minnows to huge black catfish, the Current River teams with fish. The icy claws of the deep spring-fed water protect the big fish from the unwelcome heat of the sun. The calm shallow waters near the banks of the river provide the minnows with a warm home.
Birds and beasts enjoy the presence of the river as a means of their sustenance. Large birds of prey like hawks, falcons, and herons feast on the fish and minnows that live in the waters. Smaller songbirds find the cool spring water a refreshing place in which they can bathe or drink. Other times, the river’s soft swishing or roaring thunder provides the perfect background for their musical overtures. Also, animals like mink, armadillo, and raccoon find delicious food and drink in the shallows of the Current River.
Animals, birds, and fish are not the only ones who enjoy the Current River. People flock to it like bees to sweet honey. Manning rafts, kayaks, and canoes, they enjoy the beauty and wonder of the river. Whether paddling down stream, picnicking along the bank on smooth sand, or swimming in its icy waters, the Current River provides an exciting place to get away from the turmoil of life and relax. Lush bushes and trees adorn the river just as beautiful flowers in a vase adorn a table. The birds, fish, and other woodland animals add to the beauty of the whole scene. When combined together, the place takes on the look of a masterpiece of a master painter—the masterpiece of God Himself.
The Current River, in all of its beauty, will always hold a special place in my heart. Its combination of power with tranquility, destruction with enrichment, and danger with protection always serve to amaze me. As I think of it now, I remember the canoe trip my family and I had for our vacation. Recalling the fun, frolic, and conversation we had on that trip down the river served to further enhance the memory of the river itself. In the middle of nowhere, this river becomes the somewhere I wish to be.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Psalms 1:1-3 "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers."
Friday, May 8, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
It is so swollen that you cannot see the bend as well as I could! :D
The following are accounts I wrote shortly after the accident and after I had already had the platinum plate put into my wrist:
At the time of the accident, I did not know that I had broken it until I looked down and saw that my wrist was bent. I was slightly out of it as I walked about 15 feet. A queasy feeling in my stomach caused me to sit down in case I went unconscious. When pain becomes extreme, it no longer is a localized pain but is a state of being on the edge of one’s consciousness and knowing that there is pain there. When pain reaches this level, unconsciousness is the result. The first time I woke up, my mind felt as though it were “buzzing” along with a sense of delirium. The next time I woke, I thought I was waking up at home in bed. This thought turned to the realization of where I was, and the thoughts of the Reunion returned. Somewhere during this time, I remember people walking by me. By God’s grace, I went unconscious while leaning against the rock pillars that supported the balcony. Because of my position, the people around me did not realize that anything was wrong with me, and I could not call out. It looked as though I were simply relaxing, which I was, in a way. One person realized that everything was not right when she said hello and I did not respond. She asked if I was okay. Since I was not sure how hurt I was, I was debating on what to say. Eventually, I said in a disoriented voice that I did not feel well. In almost a frantic voice, she tried to keep me awake and tell her what had happened. I said simply, “I fell.” At that, help was called in from the cafeteria. For several minutes after they came, I felt as though my body did not want to move, but my brain continued to function. The medical people on staff made sure I was not paralyzed and checked my heart rate. They also made sure I had not lost my memory with questions such as where I was, when I was born, what had happened, and how old I was. I tried to be very thorough in my explanations, a fact which helped me remember much more. The people there got my suitcase and wallet, laid me down, and called an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived, I was put on a stretcher, my head was put in something to keep my head still, and I was taped down with wide medical masking tape. I am very thankful for everyone’s concern. Dave Eldridge, Noah, and Camile (one of the people in charge of the Reunion) came to the hospital with me. Both my nurse and the lady who did the X-rays were Christians. God is good!
My Later Account of Lessons Learned
God’s blessings come in all sizes, shapes, and varieties. Some events that may be painful or irritating at the time often yield the greatest lessons and the greatest blessings. One blessing in my life that I want to thank God for is my broken wrist. Though I still have much to learn, breaking my wrist has opened my eyes to how I have been blessed with everything that I have. Few people can really appreciate what they have. Most people take for granted the great health that they have. I know that I did and sometimes still do.
Allow me to give you a small hint into the many things that a simple break can affect and how much that we take for granted. Imagine with me for a moment that you greatly enjoy sports, like to play piano and guitar, enjoy to run and ride your bike, and like to lift objects. With this background, imagine a day with a broken wrist. You wake up early and begin to make breakfast. You grab a box of cereal and go to the refrigerator to grab the milk. Suddenly, you realize that you are not able to lift the milk with your hand and also carry the cereal. Upon finishing breakfast and reading the Bible, the time has come to go to school. As you bend down to tie your shoes, you suddenly realize that tying your shoe requires both hands to pull with such a force that would cause great strain and even pain. Next imagine that you usually bike to school. Such a simple action is not encouraged with a broken wrist. First, it is difficult to ride with only one hand. Even if this were accomplished, any sudden movements would instantly require the use of the injured hand.
Having accomplished the task of getting to school, you are now behind your desk waiting for your professor to begin. In preparation, you begin to take your books out of your backpack. The problem is that opening your backpack requires your injured hand to help pull the zippers open—a task that actually causes a small degree of pain. Even harder though is putting your books back in the backpack when you are finished with them because this requires one hand to open the pack and one to put the books into the pack. In short, you are not allowed to play sports, even soccer. An accurate kick of a ball into your wrist would nicely break your wrist all over again. You are not allowed to run because any falls would re-break your wrist. Lifting is obviously prohibited. Furthermore, even assuming you have retained decent movement in your fingers, you cannot play the piano or guitar because your wrist is not strong enough and you cannot bend or twist your wrist. You find yourself thinking about how fortunate people should think themselves to be when they can bend their wrist easily even when making simple hand motions.
Please do not misunderstand what I have written here. Having a broken wrist is merely an inconvenience for me. I am not having a pity party or trying to muster up sympathy. My wrist is doing absolutely splendidly! I simply want people to be able to appreciate what God has given them.
I have a question for you. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be paralyzed? Have you ever imagined what you would be like if your mind became diseased such that you could not think coherently? If God were to allow this to happen, would you still trust Him or blame Him? Your whole life would be changed. The things in life that you enjoyed the most would be taken from you. If people would honestly consider this, for whom would they live their lives? Do not just consider this. Really imagine that such an accident or disease happened to you!!! In some ways, when God takes away all the earthly things that you and I most depend on, it is as though all that remains is God and the individual. When in this situation, we can truly learn what it means to trust fully in God. We have no one else to turn to besides God. He is the only One in whom we can find comfort. He is the only friend who stands beside us in difficult situations. He is the faithful guide and protector. I cannot fully appreciate any of these things myself. I can, however, desire to serve God with what He has given me. If I have one good arm, I will serve Him with that arm. If I have no arms at all but have a mouth and tongue, I want to speak forth the message of God’s love. Such actions on my own, though, are beyond my ability. Only by the strength that God provides can I be who God wants me to be and do what God wants me to do.
Giving. We are called to give our heart, body, and mind to God. We are also called to give unselfishly of ourselves to others. We should set apart our most prized possessions as being the Lord's. A friend of mine from Tennessee, John Notgrass, once said that we should lay on the altar that which is most dear to us by remembering that it belongs to God and being willing to give it to Him completely. One of the first things that should be given to Him is our time. All our time should be used for His glory, but additional time should be set aside each day just for spending time alone with God. These verses in Corinthians talk about some of the promises in giving. Our natural inclination, at mine was, was to infer that this passage was simply referring to money. Though there is a strong implication that money was the gift given by the Corinthians, there is nothing in these verses that limits their scope to just giving money. In fact, verse 8 talks about how God will provide us with sufficiency in everything so we will have an abundance for every good deed. Look at the example of how the Corinthians gave in 2 Cor. 8:3b and 5, "They gave of their own accord, ... and this, not as we expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God." When Christ came, "He scattered abroad, He gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever." (2 Cor. 9:9) Christ did not scatter money abroad. He scattered His love, His grace, bodily healing, and His gift of love on the cross that brought true healing of the soul for those who accept it. It is God who provides us the means to give. It is our job to first give of ourselves to God and next give of ourselves to others with our money, our time, our talents, and our love.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Last summer, besides helping to design the Hydrogen Fueling Station that is over near Frat Row, I was able to spend some time out at Camp David. It was such a neat time out there, and I got to meet some really special guys. All the campers there come from families whose parent or parents are in prison. They really need to know the love of Christ and have a role-model to look up to. It was so neat getting to talk to the kids about Christ. For a whole week, I and my co-counselor became like parents to the kids. We had to enforce their bedtimes. We made sure that they made their beds; we fought away bugs and moths (they are terrified of moths); we slept in the same covered wagons as they did; we ate at the same table; and, for a whole week, we really were able to become good friends with them.