I was examining the presents under our Christmas tree, anxiously wondering if my parents had gotten me what I had asked for Christmas when Erik Sevareid made a troubling announcement. I turned to our brand new color television and watched as the aging news anchor announced to the world that Walt Disney had died. It was Thursday, December 15, 1966. My heart sank and I collapsed in the middle of the floor. Uncle Walt was dead? How could this be?
And so it was that on that day, my future died.
I’m old enough to say I totally geeked out over the X-Files television show back in the 90’s. In fact, I would put myself right up there with Spooky Mulder in saying, “I want to Believe!”. I grew up in the countryside outside of the tiny hamlet of Blanchard, Louisiana and my night skies were brilliant and clear. There were many nights I would take an old blanket out and place it on the ground, recline and just watch the stars go by. Many times, I would see meteorites falling to the Earth streaking across the sky in brief brilliance. I watched as satellites blinked and slowly made their way across the darkness. One night, in coordination with a broadcast on network television, I watched one of the Gemini spacecraft soar across the heavens, a tiny blinking white dot against the cosmos.
I yearned, I longed, I even prayed to see a UFO. Just once, I wanted a flying saucer to land on my front lawn. Back then, aliens were not quite as hostile in their fictional depiction. It was the age of Progress, a time enlightened by the success of the American space program. Our hope was the stars. Our future lay beyond the solar system. Star Trek promised a future Utopian society where racism, sexism, disease, hunger, and strife were a thing of the past. If we could only get out there! And, in our unyielding optimism, we knew that friendly, highly educated aliens were just waiting for us to mature to a level that could withstand the truth of their existence.
I just posted this on my Conquering Depression blog so I wanted to share it with my reading followers.
My wife, at diverse times, is convinced I am crazy.
Okay, so maybe my behavior, at diverse times, is consistent with her conclusion. For instance, it was mid February. Sherry and I had just returned from a much needed break, a trip to Orlando to relax and have fun and visit our dear friends Mark and Donna Sutton. On a Wednesday afternoon, Mark and I spent several hours brainstorming a devotion book to accompany “Hope Again”. In a rather alarming revelation, Mark told me he had gone to have a check up the day before and his doctor wanted to keep him overnight for a cardiac treadmill. But, Mark told them he had to keep his appointment with me! Wait a minute, I said. You refused a treadmill because you might have heart problems so you could meet with me?
I’ve wanted to write a post after seeing Cinderella. I was so afraid it would be another Maleficent. But, Rebecca Reynolds, writing for the Rabbit Room has said it more clearly and in a more moving way than I could ever write it down. Check out her post. Now! Quickly before we lose hope again!
The last entry from my upcoming booklet, “Our Darkness, His Light”.
(This Beautiful Image from this site by Brian Doc Reed.)
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
Simon heard a noise and the door to his house burst open. He sat upright on his pallet, his eyes still filled with sleep, as the bright sunlight gushed into the room. A figure stood in the doorway, eclipsing the sunlight.
The figure remained silent, silhouetted against the bright light and he stepped into the room. Motes of dust swirled in the air, as the man stepped up to the pallet and looked down at Simon.
Simon stood slowly and squinted at the man’s face. The man was dressed in rich, royal robes with gold chains around his neck and he wore a hat with jewels on it. His face was very severe, dark, with glistening eyes and a jet black beard. A finger covered with jeweled rings pointed in accusation and he was pushed roughly in the chest back against the stone wall of his bedroom.
“Are you Simon, the Christian?” The man’s harsh voice echoed in the room.
This is my eighth entry from my upcoming booklet, “Our Darkness, His Light” and raised the question that changed the world, “What if a dead man could come back from the dead?”
THE UNWELCOME VISITOR
A knock at the door. Martemeus looked up from the darkness of the room. The knock came again, insistent, unrelenting. Fear filled his heart and he shuddered. Outside, the sky hung like clotted blood. Rain cascaded from swollen clouds, and the earth trembled as if in labor. He did not want to open the door. He did not want to embrace the unknown. He huddled closer to the meager light of his lamp, pulling his cloak about him against the cool, damp air.
Who was at the door? A friend? Unlikely. A stranger? Perhaps. A foe? Certainly. In these times, to answer the knock at the door was folly. It might let in death. Rap, rap, rap.
“Martemeus, let me in.” A faint voice. He glanced up from his corner at the rough hewn wood of the door. Thunder shook the walls again. Could it be? Impossible! He stood shakily and crossed to the door. His hand, shaking with fear, reached to the latch.
The door swung open on a gust of rain-filled wind and she stood there. White linen draped her figure, hanging from her head, wet with rain. Her face gleamed in the lamp light with moisture and she stepped into the warmth of his home.
“Martemeus.” Her voice was soft.
Here is the seventh entry from my upcoming booklet “Our Darkness, His Light”. These events would have historically occurred on Good Friday.
Cletus pushed the broom across the worn tiles, straining to get at the blood. Skritch, skritch, skritch. A sound he had come to endure, repeated all day, every day for the last twenty years. My, how filthy the floor was. Especially after yesterday’s record crowd. Again, he scratched at the blood soaked deep into the mortar between the tiles. Black, aged, dried from years of shed blood, the tiles would never be clean. The blood could never be removed. It was there forever. And everyday, the people came, strewing dirt and straw and leaves across his carefully scrubbed floor. And every evening, he cleaned. Skritch, skritch, skritch.
The never ending pattern of his sweeping was well rehearsed. He could do it in his sleep. He always began in the back corner and ended up near the curtain. Today, he had been fortunate. The usual crowds were gone. The vast chamber empty. They were all out there, watching the show. He did not complain. It gave him the opportunity to finish his task earlier. Perhaps tonight, he would get home before sunset.
Here is the sixth entry from my upcoming booklet, “Our Darkness, His Light”.
With a harsh, cruel motion of her hand, Ruth wiped the white paste across her face. She looked in the glass that mirrored her features. She adjusted the white paint on her face so that no skin showed. Ruth’s face looked lifeless. With another sudden movement, she pasted black across her lips. Her hands snaked into the pot before her and brought out ashes that she sprinkled in her hair. Ruth whirled in the darkness of her room and grabbed a black cloak from the wooden peg by the door. She settled it around her shoulders. Next, came a black shawl draped over her head. Ruth glanced in the glass once more and approved of the harsh, ghostly figure that stood before her. It looked dead.
“I’ll show them. They think that they are the best. They think that they can push me out because I’m a lonely widow. I can do as well as the rest of them. Just wait until they hear me, the old biddies.”
Ruth whirled in the shadows of her room and her white hand snaked out to open the doorway. Bright sunlight gushed in from the outside and she squinted in the light. She cast the black shawl over her face and stepped out into the dusty, hot streets of Jerusalem.
This is the fifth entry from my upcoming booklet, “Our Darkness, His Light”.
Miriam awoke from a restless sleep to the voice of her mother calling. She quickly arose from the small pallet in the corner of the one-roomed hovel that she called home. Across the dim room she saw her mother’s figure huddled in the far corner on her own pallet. Early morning sunlight streamed through the slats of the wooden window and one pale beam cast its rays across her mother’s hair.
Miriam hurried across the room and knelt beside her mother. Her mother lay on her side, her face turned away from the center of the room. Miriam reached out to touch her face.
“Mother, you’re hot.” Her tiny voice echoed in the room. Her mother lay back and Miriam saw the beads of sweat that covered her face. She saw the stains where the sweat had soaked through the armpits.
“Miriam.” Her mother’s voice was weak. “I am ill. It is the fever. You must go and work for us today.”