August 31, 2014

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Jim Langham


Progress or regress, storm tells the story PDF Print E-mail

This past weekend I stopped to visit with an Amish friend and purchase some delicious baked goods. We were joking about the affects of power outages from Friday’s massive storm. Jokingly she said to me, “We didn’t have to change anything. We were already prepared.”

I laughed and also recalled a different time and era when we were much more prepared for power outages than we are now.

In small Ceylon where I was raised, in the summer, food was as close as walking out the door. The garden, full of vegetables, was on the east side of the property and the orchards of apples, cherries, pear trees, grapes, strawberry patch, raspberries and rest of our fruit was even closer to the house.

 
Never take things for granted PDF Print E-mail

Isn’t it amazing how much difference a little can make when you haven’t had any?

Late last week, several spots in the county received the first rain drops received in several weeks. When the first drops started to fall, people came out to the sidewalks and from their homes to experience refreshing wetness and smell that has eluded us most of the summer.

I was driving in the country when the first big drops started splashing against my windshield. At first, I soaked in the pleasure so much that I refused to turn on the wipers but eventually that had to change. Still, the sound of the swishing wipers almost seemed like a novelty again.

 
The coin game PDF Print E-mail

It has been 22 years since my lifelong buddy, Meredith Sprunger, experienced one of the most faith-building journeys of his lifetime.

It all began the day school left out in at the middle school where he taught eighth grade history near Marion, Ind.

He left school and stopped to purchase gas for his automobile. As he was walking from the car to the station to pay for purchase, he noticed a penny laying on the sidewalk in front of the entrance.

One thing about Meredith that I always appreciated was that he bent towards conserving anything in sight, rubber bands, paper clips, pencils, ball point pens and stray coins. He never passed any retrievable item of value, regardless of how meager its worth, because he believed that the “big picture” was a huge savings if he were to consider the total accumulation of recovered valuables.

 
Listening to the dark PDF Print E-mail

Have you ever noticed how the sense of listening seemingly comes into play more in darkness than it does in light?

Sometimes, this is due to a sense of danger. Our car breaks down on an obscure road and another vehicle pulls up behind us to assist. The first thing we listen for is the familiarity of the voice of the one approaching.

A jogging athlete caught in descending darkness suddenly becomes tuned to sounds of animals, passing vehicles or approaching footsteps. A child tucked into bed often “hears” things not perceived when light is available in the same environment. It’s amazing how darkness can shift our focus from the sense of light to hearing.

 
Another cardinal moment PDF Print E-mail

Heaven pulled out its finest artwork on Friday night to show approval on the phenomenal effort of Paulding County residents in raising money for cancer research.

The sacredness of the luminary service was never more surrounded by angels of hope and comfort than it was this past weekend.

It all started close to sunset when God’s own luminaries began to fire in the western sky with brilliant and bright reflections of orange, red and yellow in a sunset that came to full bloom over the fairgrounds.

 
Casting your bread PDF Print E-mail

“What goes around comes around,” a statement we all attach on to from time to time, is a secular way of expressing the Bible’s version, “cast your bread upon the waters and after many days it will return to you. (Isaiah 11:1)”

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to witness one of the most dramatic fulfillments of those words that I’ve ever seen.

It all started when a friend who manages an Internet clearing house for garden plants called and asked if I would like to ride with him to southern Indiana, to the town of Henryville which had been virtually destroyed by a powerful tornado this past March 2.

 
How was she able do it? PDF Print E-mail

I don’t know how she did it. This past weekend I was reminiscing what all my mother did “above and beyond” to be my mother.

“Mothering with the extra touches,” I’m sure it still happens in many homes, but it seemed back then that it was just the way that families functioned.

For some reason, I recalled the sound of the old peddle pumping away on the Singer sewing machine in the kitchen, often late at night or even early into the morning. When the aroma of bacon beckoned me down the stairway from my comfort-snuggled bed, there would often be a brand new shirt hanging across the chair by the end of the kitchen table.

“Here,” she would say. “Try this on. If it fits you can wear it to school today.”

 
Technology inspires youthful recollections PDF Print E-mail

The old adage “things go full circle” has been used to describe many situations over the years, but most recently, it has taken on meaning of being reunited with the classmates of my youth. Fortunately, many of my former classmates have finally caught on to the modern tech of Facebook and texting; in our cases, it has provided a magical way to reunite in ways that would have not been possible before this generation.

Through the technology of Facebook, plus connections with other classmates, it has been possible to track down school friends in all parts of the area, and in all parts of the world, for that matter. Not only has it been possible to find each other, but it has become possible to keep up with each other and share each other’s daily trials, sorrows, joys and observations.

 
Homespun PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jim Langham

Light Dispels Darkness

There are few things that are more disconcerting than trying to make our way in darkness or when visibility has practically been cut to zero. For some reason, one day as I was driving down the road recently, I was thinking of such situations, moments like trying to wonder through a strange house or motel room in the middle of the night when we are totally unfamiliar with our surroundings, circumstances that can lend themselves to falling over shoes, kicking our foot on a bed post or walking into the bathroom door.

While such situations sometimes end in a bit of humor, the feeling of trying to make our way in the midst of darkness is anything but secure and enjoyable at the time.

Several years ago I had gone to a major hospital to be with a family during a difficult time. The weather forecast that morning had been ominous, with near blizzard situations expected later in the day. Still, with the calm of the morning, I decided to make my way to those who were hurting to spend time with them during a treacherous moment in the health of a loved one.

As I left the hospital, all was still well; there was even a bit of hope that I might make it home before the storm would strike, but that all changed approximately 50 miles from home. Suddenly, there were a few snowflakes, then more and within a few minutes, blankets of snow were blowing across fields as the storm roared with a quick attack in the area I was traveling.

Still, I managed to navigate my way through the drifting and swirling snow until another problem presented itself when I was approximately 10 miles from home. The lights on my car started to dim, first slowly, then rapidly, until suddenly, all light was gone. Cautiously, with feelings of peril, I prayerfully followed the trail toward a farmhouse where I was able to call a close friend who agreed to brave the elements to lead me home.

Upon his arrival, it was decided that, with an apparent electrical problem with my lights, he would lead the way, complete with snow blade and his bright lights to the safety of our driveway. Literally, at that moment, he became “my light.” We made our way through the blizzard conditions as a close-knit team, thanks to his leading, until we crashed the last drift into our drive.

As I thought back about that scary night of darkness in the midst of a storm, I began to think about many comparisons with life itself. For example, there are those times when “light” seems to burn out within us, our energy is exhausted. We might have given all that we could give for a certain situation. It seems like there are no more answers and we collapse at the edge of “wit’s end.”

There are those times when we may need to admit that our strength to recovery is going to be through the light of another, a pastor, counselor, close friend or special confidential person that we can trust. We may need to lean on someone who has experienced what we are going through, but who is just a bit further down the road. In the snow rescue, my friend was just far enough ahead to break the trail and I was trusting the path that he was leading.

Another dimension to all of this is the possibility that it is our time to become a light to another. We may be the one breaking trail for a hurting individual who feels the fears of darkness, a grieving soul or someone who needs to lean on us for strength. We may be the mediator to guide someone to a place of safety and opportunity for wholeness. Our strength may be all that someone has to lead them out of a long, dark night of the soul.

Then there are those times when it seems like there is “no one” around at all, that a literal light cannot be seen. It’s during those times that we are reminded to follow the light of God, even when we can feel or see nothing. For it is for times such as that when we receive the invitation to, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and You shall find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28, 29)

 

 
Homespun PDF Print E-mail

 

By Jim Langham

'A little dab' of compassion

Many of us elderly people can remember a commercial from years ago that incorporated the line, “a little dab will do ya!” It represented a hair cream from an era when it was cool for men to slick their hair and paste it back to “slick up” for a special occasion. It was part of a song in a commercial where the man greased his hands with the cream and then rubbed it through his hair.

The thought of that “dab” came to my mind a couple of years ago when I was visiting a large university during the spring, when blossoming trees and bright sunshine was beaming forth in much the same manner as we have enjoyed this spring. Students, caught up in the atmosphere of spring, were riding their bikes, laughing, joking and frolicking with happiness in the bright sunshine.

In the midst of all of this, I was taking a low profile as I walked around taking pictures of the sunlight silhouetting the brilliant flowers, happy people pictures and cathedrals lifting their praise to the deep blue sky.

 
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