Today a dusting of crunchy snow squashed under foot as rain mixed with ice added to the early morning walk experience.
Creating a new dimension as like the mailman, who does not only deliver on warm, sunshine rich days, I hoofed it to where the Meduxnekeag River starts from its headwaters at Drews Lake.
The turn around started the return trip after sitting on a square piece of granite rock and listening, watching the dam water churn life reflections. The rain on my face, sound of ice pellets patter, splatter on my jacket mixed in reminded me of picking potatoes as a kid. When the dark clouds overhead burst open. And grabbing, rounding up in a hurry my water jug, sweatshirt and lunch pail. Blue streaking, racing for the covered pickup body at the end of the spud field. Rained out for the day, heading home soggy, wet like a river rat.
Storms in your life happen.
Get stronger, don’t expect it to get easier. Some inclement weather just needs your strength to accept, to just persevere to get through it. Do the best you can and help others in the same boat hang on until calmer weather. Growing up on a Maine potato farm and being up against it, worrying about hanging on to that farm taught me a lot early in life.
Be grateful for what you have, don’t want for anything you don’t need.
Embrace struggles and squeeze all the wisdom, understanding you can from them. Make good come out of them. Consider it all joy. Remember watching your parents do the same. Learn from, remember their lessons.
Living Waters Youth Bible Summer Camp is located on the shores of Grand Lake, near Butterfield Landing, in the Dark and MacAllister Cove region. The Hodgdon ME Baptist church has taken on a mission project to help Living Waters replace, enlarge a waterfront storage building for kayak, canoe paddles, life jackets, other equipment. And to scrape, stain several lake view cabins that have been waiting patiently for a drink of a new protective finish. To raise money for the worthwhile project, the Lunn family performed a concert.
Last night the Cary, East Hodgdon ME Baptist churches were invited to the variety of inspirational, moving music and fed in more than one way.
With food and fellowship after the performance of all three congregations. As I watched, enjoyed the talented family and Barrett Quint’s expert job with accompanying audio visual imagery, my eyes watered.
I felt so grateful through the uplifting songs. So ashamed and broken through the ones of sorrow and pain. There is something very positive happening in my life. I used to feel contained, too busy, racing and was missing cues because of too much on my plate. Examine your excuses, admit your mistakes and don’t keep making them. Others do the same thing when you come up for air, look around.
Since the kids are raised, out of the house for the first summer in twenty three years, I have more time to dedicate to areas of my life that have not gotten the attention they deserved. Oh sure, taught Sunday school, had gotten the family to church growing up, but a deeper personal relationship with the Lord, more time on my knees did not seem available between being self employed, a single parent and struggling to be a better mate in a relationship that I seemed to be three steps behind on most of the time.
As I watched the Lunn family perform with such ease, polish and sincere joy in their gift of a music ministry, I remember my home growing up being filled with music.
Mom who was a church piano player, organist playing Rock of Ages, In The Garden, Amazing Grace, Church of the Wildwood. There is nothing like walking in to the home as a kid and hearing church music filling the home. And fresh warm cookies. My Mom was in the home, worked together with her family, husband on the Maine farm.
The sound of singing full of joy or sorrow depending on the song. Those songs now are like old familiar friends because I grew up with them in the foreground and background. Of church services, funerals, holidays, worship experiences. And filling the Maine farm home.
I feel especially close to my mom when in church, with music and the lyrical lessons I learn in life being brought up with her love, attention. She was my spiritual leader. Dad was God fearing and grateful but had too many irons in the fire. Mom really worked at strenghtening her faith and radiated a goodness, a joy that was from the Lord. She got me, my brothers on the right path for life spiritually. Her death showed her never ending dedication to the Lord. No fear or struggles, worries until the very end due to her unending, undying faith. She taught us all so much.
While mom was making a Sunday dinner after church, Dad would be reading the weekend paper and listening on the stereo to Robert Goulet, Arty Shaw, Bennie Goodman, Glen Miller or the Ray Conniff Singers in the farm home front room. The same room my brothers would be playing the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cream, Animals, Chuck Berry depending on their mood during school home work study the rest of the week evenings.
In the same room, I took piano lessons on a Story and Clark model brand new from Robinson Music. Lesson for two dollars a week from Greta White from Oakfield. I can see her with a pencil in her teeth as she played something I was suppose to master before next week’s lesson. I took organ lessons too in the summer at the Episcopal and Court Street Baptist church. There is something very sacred, special being in a church all alone and playing music.
If you have been away from church, get back in to the pews.
See what you are missing and desperately need. Every day. From the start at a baptismal fount and then for the rest of your life. Think of it as important as air, water, food, sleep. Don’t get out of the habit. When you take a break, are prayerless, nothing good happens in your life. Your faith in something outside yourself, a higher power is the key to all your successes or when you struggle during the set backs everyone has. Music is one special ministry.
My Aunt Ruth was a music teacher who had no kids of her own yet one thousand that thought of her, relied on her like a Mom. My brother Stephen played in a variety of Bangor Maine music bands too and it was always fun to sit down front, dance, laugh and watch him boogie woogie. Help people forget about their problems which he always reminded the crowd to leave those at the door. I have good brothers.
Brother Stephen’s philosophy for the next few hours it was going to be fun, a time to let your hair down, cut the rug.
And to remember to tip your waitress who was working hard to do her part in the musical experience. He was quite the showman and came by his skills naturally growing up in a household of music.
In high school I had the lead in Tom Sawyer, other musicals and All Aroostook, All State performances kept me busy, out of trouble. Our kids in a musical town like Houlton Maine did the same in show, jazz choir competitions around New England. Working in Maine radio starting at fourteen in Houlton then Bangor taught me well how important music of all kinds is to people’s lives. Music can fill you with the Holy Spirit, help you through joyful and not so much fun but right on time, needed life events.
For more out of your life, you have to be willing to trust others, open yourself up to those around you.
Not be self contained, trying to do it all yourself. Don’t carry the weight of the world, learn to say no in serving others, your community too. Pace yourself and as my mom would remind, “Andrew, moderation”. Sing a song, dance, enjoy life and don’t be so serious.
Even though your parents die, they still talk to you and you to them. If you spent a lot of time with them like I did, my kids did growing up. If you are local to them you know them very well. And what they shared with you stays with you. It is okay to ask for help, to share more of you. To become more available, an open book outside and inside your home. Be one person who admits their mistakes, shows his struggles through testimonials to improve and the need for others to come along side in the process. And to be a servant to others to help them in the same way.
The focus in your life can be lost, misplaced but your attitude, your sails can be adjusted once you see what is missing.
Where correction is needed, your efforts need to be doubled up. Slowing down, being freed up with an empty nest makes the over due inside over haul the priority for me. To improve physical, mental, spiritual health should always be the goal. Not shelved for something else. Keep your eyes on your own paper and avoid comparisons too. You have skills, talents and may just have low self esteem, lack self confidence because you are busy watching, listening to others.
Slowing down, shifting priorities as your life situation changes is a healthy adjustment. It’s your life. Work on you. Expect more from yourself than others. Keep you eyes on your own paper. Discover your hidden talents, skills, abilities for service to others. Watch your self confidence, esteem increase. Tied to the time you spend on your knees. Dependent proportionately to the amount of your day you set aside to get in to the word. To be fed. To work on you one on one.
Alone is not bad and what you need as you search for answers to prayers.
Make good use of the time alone. And you will get those answers one by one if you just ask. Develop humility, discernment and learn to surrender so you can. Be faithful to the one who made you, your manufacturer. He does good work. Is the only one that can “fix what ails you”. To get, keep you on track. Who exposes your weaknesses, why you stumble and guides you, provides your true joy. He is the salt, light needed to find your true worth and purpose in life. The greatest miracle is for those around you to see whoa, what is going on inside you… and they want some too. Don’t keep it a secret. Lead them from where you were to where you are now.
Maine, still waters, natural uncrowded places to heal, learn your purpose, find your inner joy and peace.