I like the second definition of “impact” found in the Oxford dictionary (online): “have a strong effect on someone or something.” Merriam-Webster says it this way: “to impinge or make contact especially forcefully.” This one I do not like as much because impinge generally implies a negative effect, and I am thinking of impact in a positive way. For the same reason neither pushy nor forceful work either. Yet somehow I am sensing that the Spirit of our God was active in this way in my life on a pretty constant basis over this past week.
So, what comes to your mind when you hear the initials P.T.? Is it possibly Post Thanksgiving living? Perhaps you are a grammarian, and your mind goes to Past Tense. If you are a Leonard Cohen aficionado, “Passing Through” may be stuck in your head. Some in the employment world are thinking Part Time. And those connected in any way to the healthcare industry are most likely focused upon Physical Therapy (not to be confused with O.T. or counseling).
I am thankful for dalmatians, dominoes, and dixie cups. I am thankful for downtowns, driveways, and dentists. I am thankful for Decembers, decimals, and decorations. And one might say that this covers my 3-D Thanks – squared. But my mind is going in a definitely different direction (oh, those 3-D’s!). I am thankful for the unknown caller from “BC” who buzzed me while writing this … particularly because she left a message to explain the purpose of her call (I might even call her back). However, as I said – or at least tried to imply – my focus this morning is broader than any of these short lists … my 3-D Thanks has me thanking my God and Savior for my past … my present … and my future.
Presently I am reading one of the strangest books I have ever read – “The Midnight Library” (Matt Haig). As the book suggests, “Between life and death there is a library. And within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices … Would you have done anything different, if you had a chance to undo your regrets?”`
All the evil that surrounds us in our world, as I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago, has prompted me to re-read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” Bonhoeffer was martyred by the Gestapo near the end of World War II (April 9, 1945 in Flossenburg concentration camp) As Samuel H. Miller, Dean of Harvard Divinity School states on the back cover, “The whole book is a powerful attack on ‘easy Christianity’ and a warning that in a world such as Bonhoeffer could see coming, faith was not easily attained … Bonhoeffer is a teacher and thinker whose truths were tested in a time of trouble and whose life and death certified to the strength and depth of his desire to follow Christ.”
Monica and I became responsible for the Hetzner cottage sometime around 1993. My father was called home in January of 1991, and we worked with my mother at keeping it open the next couple years (with the help of a particular up-north neighbor). The year we became its stewards we started keeping a “cottage journal” of its annual usage. The first line, dated June 3, 1993, reads, “Mark pulls in at about 2:00 a.m. with the charge of opening the cottage by himself.” At the age of 40 I certainly had more energy than I do now (leaving home at 11:30 p.m. for a 2½ -hour drive after what likely had been a very long day of work), but the wisdom I have since gained (or, at least, that I think I have gained) far outweighs the energy lost.
I love summer – the hotter the better. We had a pretty good one in 2023, though it seemed to go in streaks. Personally, I could have used a few more +90 days. If I remember correctly, it started out with a flourish – really hot around Memorial Day. And was it July that was a little wet and cooler? My memory tends to fade on the specifics. September certainly had some beautiful weather even after the calendar said summer was over. However, my overall opinion was that it was a good summer.
I believe the events in the middle east have not only gotten our attention, but that of most of the world. Terrorism is simply terrifying and terrible (thus the name, I guess). The hate, anger, fear, and violence of that general area has been around virtually forever – but that simply does not justify what took place Saturday morning. However, it certainly is not without precedence and probably should not be so shocking to any of us.
I do not know how much you took in – if any – of the farewell the Tigers gave to Miguel Cabrera this past weekend, but I felt that they did an incredible job … and our Lord Jesus (who is not just The God of baseball, but the God of all creation who sits at the right hand of God the Father ruling over the universe) complimented the activities with some fantastic weather. I was blessed to attend the games on Friday and Sunday. The theme through it all … and in the publications and events surrounding it … has been Muchas Gracias … Many + Great Thanks, Miggie, for the many joys provided over the years.
Way back in February Monica said to me, “Mark, as my gift to you for your 70th birthday and your retirement, after the dust has settled from all the planned activities, let’s get away – just the two of us – to see the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.” Well, this past weekend the dust finally settled – at least a little bit – and we made the trip. Thursday afternoon we drove to Florence, KY and checked into our hotel. Friday we toured the Creation Museum. Saturday morning, we checked out of our hotel and drove to the Ark Encounter. That evening we drove a little farther south for a couple nights in Georgetown, KY. Sunday afternoon we made a few stops on the bourbon trail in Lexington, and then returned home on Monday.