The Effects of Death Upon the Living

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our scene opens upon two young men conversing together. One is of very earnest and animated countenance, with a manly bearing and the stamp of virtue upon his face; the other is of a manner more carefree and inclined to enjoy the youthful pleasures of life without considering the more sober, but necessary elements. We come upon Joseph, the former, speaking sincerely upon the matter of death.

4cc8c8d67e88a5f9e1c04bc07325f876“The voice of a dying man seems to be more readily hearkened to than that of his lusty neighbours. Perhaps this is on account that death strips away vanity from his thoughts, and he is given new eyes to shun that which is of no account in the ever-approaching light of the world to come. Death! How it banishes the thoughts of vain pleasures and the care for esteem of men. For who so foolish as  to seek the acclaim of masses when his soul is quickly departing to the Presence of the One before whom the opinions and esteem of men hold no weight?”

Joseph paused his elaborations. Charles rested a firm chin in his hand and gazed across the fielded meadows and hills below. “But,” he answered, “I have known men to die in very different states than such as you have described. Why, John Cosper not a year ago, with the knowledge of his impending death, spent his last days carousing and drinking until he was laid so low that he was unable to rise from his bed, and even then kept up his profane speech.”

“This,” said Joseph with a smile mingled with sadness, “is too often a manifestation of the effects of death upon the unconverted soul. They cannot bear the agony of their spirits which should surely attend them should they allow themselves one moment’s solemn reflection. So, to quench such uncomfortable thoughts from their minds, they throw themselves into as much distraction and gratification as they can. Indeed, I have known men who are not faced with death to behave so. It is not uncommon— no, for it is the very nature of every man to have a void in his soul which clamours to be filled. And only one thing can fill it!”
Joseph rose to his feet and walked about excitedly. “only one thing can satisfy the deepest want that lies in the bosom of every man since Adam. And that thing is the Lord Jesus.”

“I knew it would come back to that,” said Charley whimsically. “You always manage to cram a great deal of religion into your lectures, Joseph.”
Joseph was not swayed by the carelessness of his companion. “Death is said to be man’s enemy, but I cannot help but think that the Lord has also given him the touch of a friend. For, though many men reject his calling, he bids them to take a close inspection of their lives and see whether they will pass muster on the final day. Death sometimes merely passes the door of a man, giving him a good shaking-up before passing on, which gives a renewed view of life, its brevity, and the importance of seeking those things which hold eternal value.”

“It’s all very well for you to speak so,” returned Charley, “but I have no thoughts so morbid as those which you seem to find pleasant companions. The way you talk, one would think that you derive pleasure from an evening at the grave-yard, among the foreboding stones.”

“As well I do, after a fashion,” replied Joseph, smiling. “I have often improved an idle hour by taking my books to the quiet solitude of gravesides to reflect upon the brevity of life and to prepare my soul for the life to come. It is not an unwholesome practice as it might seem, Charley. Oh, it could be rendered so by such modern thinkers as regard death with a sort of worship, considering those things that are manifestations of the Fall and sin as worthy of much contemplation and study. They are lacking the very element that makes such reflections profitable- and that is looking always upward to the Cross of our Savior and King. All studies must ultimately point there. If they do not, no matter how highly regarded, they are worthless and destructive. The light of the Cross alone gives wisdom, and no scholar or university can profess to know anything apart from it.”

Sketchbook Wednesday~ A Card-Scribble: “Trust in the Lord”

Tags

, , , ,

I like to draw my own greeting cards, and I occasionally practise my handlettering. This was for a dear friend, and I took a quick picture with my digital camera to show you. What do you think? I’ve designed some cards– not just like this, but in the same style– that, Lord willing, I’ll be selling in the next few months. And that excites me!

DSC03097

Candles and all they stand for

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a vision. A vision to bring back the timeless warmth of the home. A vision to introduce my generation to real living, which has been robbed of us in this cold day of efficient technology. I’m not at all against technology, but I do believe that too much of our culture is focused on efficiency rather than cultivating beauty and warmth in the home. As Maesimund Panchos once put it:

A stranger to our culture observing our commercial eating places might conclude that eating requires a stopwatch.

And it doesn’t stop at eating. We are more concerned with making everything ‘fast and efficient’, and less concerned with savoring the moment and cultivating relationships. We live in a world of speed at the cost of the things that really matter.

As I considered this great lacking in our culture, read books which mentioned it, and discussed it with friends, I came to write this (fictional) essay some weeks ago.

_________________________________________

“Apple Pie”

The words caught my eye as I stood before a broad display of candles, trying to choose a gift for a new neighbor.

shelfApple Pie?

I picked up the candle and smelled as my eyes fell upon another further down the shelf. “French Vanilla”
I began reading the names as I walked slowly down the row.

“Fresh Laundry”

“Spring Flowers”
“Fir & Cedar”

“Pumpkin Spice”.

Jim DalyAll of the names sounded so warm, so inviting, so homey. I remember my grandmother’s house smelling like that. But those smells came from warm cobbler in the oven, freshly baked cookies laid out to cool, and a warm fire crackling around the cedar logs I’d split for her in the fall.

Sometimes the house would have the fragrance of lilacs wafting upon the sun-warmed breeze that made the curtains dance as it blew through the open windows. I remember the smell of moss as I picked up hazelnuts in autumn, the spicy scent of fir boughs in the winter, and the hazy, warm smell of hay in the summer as I sat on the board fence and watched the men harvest the fields.

I used to watch Grandmother hang up baskets of wet laundry in the sun and later help her take the clothes down again, sweet smelling and warm from the sun’s gentle rays.

seasonalI remember the smell of berries on the hillsides and the fresh breezes that came off the lake below. I remember the sweet aroma of the strawberry preserves we would eat with our bread and butter.

We didn’t need to burn candles to make our house smell like home. Grandma did burn candles– but they were homemade. The everyday ones were made from her own tallow, and for special occasions she made bayberry tapers. 

But now, something has changed.

We’ve let beauty and harmony be banished in the name of convenience and efficiency. After all, I can’t imagine that someday women will be spraying their homes with  fragrances called “Microwave Dinner” Power Plugor “Electrical Heating”. Why do we think we can give our homes the illusion of real living — the way Grandma’s house was– by burning a chemically formulated simulation of the real thing? Have we become as artificial as that? 



I set the candle down and decided to bake a pie for my neighbors instead.

Wastate

 

     

 

 

Where are your seconds going?

Tags

, , , , ,

I have recently been wondering ‘where did the last year go?’ It seems like just yesterday that 2013 was the brand new year that lay ahead of me, to better or to worsen. What happened?

So I narrowed it down. Where were my seconds going? For as go my seconds, so go my hours, so goes my life.

What are you doing to improve your seconds?Image

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 82 other followers