by Rev Robert A Wendel
“Light is sweet, and it is a pleasure for the eyes to see the sun. Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun. Let days speak and many years teach wisdom.” (Ecclesiastes 11:7, 7:11, Job 32:7 NRSV)
It is 2000 in Fredonia, New York. The local clergy group usually met eight times a year for lunch. But our January pow-wow was always at 8:00 a.m. to plan for the year’s shared events including a series of Lenten and Advent rotating, fund-raising luncheons supporting community ministry.
Less than two weeks before we all had celebrated Christmas as pastors in our various congregations. Mine was Fredonia Baptist.
It’s the first month of a new decade and as I watched the sun come into full glow, I wondered what critical decisions would shape the direction of the future. In the next eighteen years, I would live in Ashland, Ohio, Beckley and Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. Each relocation changed my live.
We all have made good and bad decisions. Decision-making really begins as we enter 9th grade to start our chosen course of study taking us through the public high school years. Career choices, like where to live and work, marriage, children, health issues and retirement, lay ahead. Our train can run off the track but decisions do not define us.
God is not limited by our poor navigation or circumstances. He is faithful in enabling our personal river to flow to the sea. And surely, grace from on High lights our way.
British novelist James Hilton wrote Lost Horizon about a group of climbers who stumble upon Shangri-La, a Utopian-like settlement in the mountains of Tibet where people enjoy unheard of longevity. The High Lama shares this wisdom with the stranded visitors:
‘The first quarter century of your life was, doubtless, lived under the cloud of being too young for things, while the next quarter-century would, normally, be shadowed by the still darker cloud of being too old for them; and between these two clouds, small and narrow sunlight illuminates the human lifetime.” (page 153)