Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Update 5/19/10 Day 191

Dear friends,

If you have never heard of the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, I recommend you get the NOVA special on him at the library. This is a case of truth being stranger, more suspenseful and more riveting than fiction.

Ernest Shackleton was on my mind today, because of the theme of my current song: endurance.
This early 20th century explorer is one of my heroes in history.

Shackleton was an Irish born explorer, who in 1914 took a crew of men to the Weddell Sea in Antarctica with a mission to cross the continent. Sailing on the aptly named ship "Endurance", Shackleton and his men found themselves stymied by nature's unforgiving unpredictability. The Endurance became trapped in the ice floes, eventually breaking into pieces and stranding the crew on frozen pieces of sea, at the mercy of wind and current to get them somewhere near a shipping lane. But it didn't go that way. Shackleton and his men drifted too far from the eyes of civilization. Over the course of 3 years, Shackleton, determined to get them all out of there alive, had to set a new goal. Through a series of grueling tests of physical and mental strength, he and his men made it to the stark and lonely Elephant Island, only to be faced with an 800 mile open boat trip to South Georgia Island to get help. Too make this long, but jaw dropping story short, Shackleton and a few of his crew members made it to South Georgia. This dogged captain sailed another ship back to get his men. Starving, frostbitten, exhausted, every man in that crew survived. Endurance was the key. Endurance on every level. And Providence on every ice floe.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that he testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything..." James 1:2-4

When things get ugly around here, I try to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Every one of you has something in your life that requires patient perseverance. The Great One didn't put the thing there to torture you, but to build you up to be "mature, not lacking in anything". Anything. That's a pretty staggering promise. I've had to endure very little compared to some of you. But the past 6 plus months have indeed been a test of my stamina. One man's decision to drink and drive set our whole family out on an expedition we didn't plan. But that's the nature of life. The currents take us places we may not want to go. The question becomes, how do we respond to the thing? Sometimes I've responded with faith, hope and love. Other times, not so much. But the Captain of our souls has the rescue under control. We just follow. It's the only sure way to life.

On the light side (I think), Cosette bagged 2 chipmunks today. That sweet, darling kitty becomes Jeffrey Dahmer when she gets outside in the spring. No rodent is safe with her around. But does she have to play with them? What about a clean kill? Talk about patient endurance, that cat will sit by the stone steps for hours, watching and waiting. All for a chipmunk. I guess I can get the gumption to endure for the sake of my soul.

The road is long, but there really is breathtaking beauty along the way. Coffee with my friend, hearing my children make music, watching the "dead man walking" (Smitty) alive and enjoying the baseball wrap ups on ESPN. Talking to all of you every day. Every day. Until November 8, when some new venture will no doubt begin. One which will no doubt, require endurance.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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