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I was reading a journal of an anonymous writer, a soldier and a devout Christian. This is such a portrayal of many Christian lives at some point or another. I wonder how many fellow believers wander among us who feel the same way this Christian brother or sister felt at this point in their life.
"...If I request help or prayer I am viewed as weak, or as a complainer. It is alluded to that my trust lacks greatly and so my strength as a Christian must be waning. Why is this? I am lonely. Loneliness is something to which I have become accustomed. Loneliness has caused me to put up barriers, as if I was protecting myself in a real battle, being careful not to let many people too close for fear of being hurt, condemned, or wrongly accused and judged. I find so many people want to be helped, but few are willing to be helpful. Sure, there are plenty who will give money or material possessions when necessary, but when it comes to sharing the burdens of others or they are requested to offer spiritual assistance, not many willingly engage. It might be easier to endure these afflictions if I knew there was a greater purpose or motive God had in creating me than to be placed here on earth in the middle of a battle that seems not to be mine to fight, that began long ago between God and Satan. Had I been asked, there is no way I would have accepted the position of military status. I'm a deeply wounded soldier, who continues to reach out to others, meet their needs, and look for ways to encourage and serve, but I am quickly getting worse as the wounds have been broken open and are oozing the life out of me. Infection is quickly settling in, with the possibility of permanent damage. I am fighting for my life. I lay here fighting this spiritual battle. Others can attempt to stitch up my wounds, but unless they are cleaned appropriately they will not heal, and the infection will be stitched in, with no place to go, but to invade my whole being, sucking the life from me. I am at the mercy of the Great Healer, but I am also at the mercy of my fellow comrades. I lay here in spiritual isolation, wanting to scream out for the pain hurts so badly, but the lack of knowledge in how to help me by others keeps me quiet. Only my eyes can communicate what is in my heart, but no one wants to look into them. They are afraid of what they might see, what they might have to face, afraid of their own pain. So they smile and try to sound encouraging only to utter insincerities. Once again, I am left alone, with another sting to my already burning and painful sores. How much longer can I endure before falling into a coma, a place in which I will be isolated from the world; a place in which I can isolate myself from the pain and all that has contribued to the pain? Suicide is not an option for I do not have enough strength to carry out my own death. Falling into a coma may be out of my control, for it will be the sickness that causes my physical inability to stay awake. I cannot cry for the tears sting too much as each drop is connected or linked to a specific hurt. I am crying out in my head and heart for another fellow soldier to come along and hold my hand, or to brush the tear away that might accidentally escape my control, or to help me remember what a genuine smile feels like once again; someone to carry me to the ocean so the salt of the ocean's waters can help heal my wounds as the waves wash over me, or the sand and breezes bring comfort; someone to carry me to a mountian top where I can once again catch a glimpse of how spectacular life can be apart from my isolated state. I can't get myself to these places. My body is so bandaged, so confined to my bed from the wounds inflicted from battles in which I have fought, from enemies, and from fellow comrade's criticisms rather than encouragement; acts or words of jealousy; neglect; thoughtlessness; or leaving me alone to fight the battle without assistance; being too busy fighting their own battle, blinding them from seeing a wounded soldier lying next to them; selfishness in that concern lies only for their own well-being and safety; mis-understanding that has lead to false judgment; lack of sharing and communication, perhaps stemming from their own wounds. I can forgive those who have wounded me, but that forgiveness does not in and of itself heal my wounds or remove my bandages. My forgiveness just means I don't hold their actions against them and still choose to love them whenever there is an encounter. However, this continuous effort in the midst of pain and spiritual woundedness brings exhaustion and the lack of time and energy required for me to recover. Peace, quiet, nourishment will only be found if I retreat into a coma like state; a place I shall soon voyage if someone does not come along soon. I have exhausted all my resources. I lay here waiting for spiritual sleep to envelop me." How does a believer get to such a point? Some would say it is God's will for them to be in such a place; some would say this believer lacks trust and faith; some might say they are living with consequences as a result of their choices in life. What could be said to Jesus, or even the apostle Paul when they suffered greatly in every aspect of life? Did they bring upon themselves the sufferings they endured? Possibly in the literal sense. Jesus came to earth, made the choice to save His people and suffered for it. Paul made the choice to follow Christ and suffered for it. As Christians, would we have the nerve to look at Jesus and say, "well...sorry to hear you are going through such a tough time, I'll pray for you"...and leave it there, forgetting the next minute what we had just promised? Would we in some sense say a few encouraging words to Paul, only to turn away and forget he existed for the next month or two? If Jesus and Paul were living in today's world, how would we encourage them? How would we help them? How might we offer spiritual assitance? Are we willing to learn how to assist fellow believers and then execute our learning into action? Are we willing to sacrifice our lives in such a way that another believer can receive what is needed to continue in the battle, fighting by our side?
What is a legacy? Is it that which people remember you by? Is a legacy the accomplishments achieved during life on earth? Is it a belief system left to live on through children? Perhaps a legacy consists of a statement or statements through a person's life. It is of course memories; memories of an individual. A legacy seems to suggest purpose...in the case of human life, the purpose of existence. Maybe a legacy is the purpose of one's existence that is left behind for others to follow, imitate, and regard as a model for their own lives. every minute of every day, every activity, every thought, every act that is committed purposefully falls into the purpose of a legacy desired to be left behind. A legacy seems to be wrapped up in who a person is more than what they do, yet what they do is born out of who they are; thus the tapestry of one's life is woven.
MY OWN DESIRED LEGACY I want to make a difference in people's lives. Through time and energy I would like people to remember me for the investment I made in them. Meeting needs, encouragement, positive reinforcement, spiritual guidance, helping people become who they can be in hopes that they will turn around, out of appreciation and make an investment in the lives of someone else.
Never wasting a moment, making the most of every opportunity, taking advantage of the opportunities given, and being ready and willing to take risks. Life is too short. However, I find that there are circumstances that tend to be prohibiting factors preventing this part of my desired legacy to be fulfilled to its fullest.
Determination and perseverance with grace and love are a combination I would hope others could see in me. never giving up, always completing what I begin no matter the cost, doing everything with intense fervor getting the most out of all I do. Once committed, there is no turning back.
The love of nature in all seasons and in all weather. Listening to the birds or a coyote howl. Hearing the wind rustle the leaves of the trees. Allowing a rushing river or a bubbling crred to wash all the cares of the world away. Taking comfort in a sunrise or sunset. Being awed at the numbers of stars or vast galaxies. Watching fish jump in a lake or seeing the beauty of an elk, deer, or mountain goat. Feeling the rain as it hits my face. Being warmed by the sun on a hot summer day. Oh, the joy and love for nature.
Books take you any where, stir up emotions and cause intellectual juices to flow. Reading is a legacy, a memory I hope to leave for others to follow. Whether it is passed on as others catch me with a book in my hand, or listen while I read aloud. I dearly hope my love for books will be high on the chart of my legacy.
Travel to all sorts of places opens the mind, enhances the learning and knowledge of the world and people God created. Whether through books, media, or actual traveling, I want to pass my love on to those who come after me, pass it on to anyone who will partake for the benefit of their whole being. I want to enjoy the adventure with anyone who dares to share in this joy.
Beauty is the essence of life. Something as simple as a bouquet of flowers sitting on the table. A field of wild flowers brilliant in the spring. A tree bear, only its branches contrasting against a blue sky. A painting; a candle lit dinner; a fresh dress for summer; curtains adorning the windows or a bedspread characterizing the owner of the room; furniture set just right inviting conversation; decorations at holidays; or a tea party set with lace and dainty dishes enjoyed by young girls. Beauty, created by God is a thing to enjoy, imitate, and initiate.
Music enlightens, spurs creativity, brings us in time with the rhythm of our lives. We were meant for movement...to dance, to sway like a tree in the wind. Our hearts have a rhythm that sustains life. Our body cycles work to a rhythm and pattern. Music is an extension of who mankind was created to be, in reality an extension of God Himself. A vast expanse of emotions find themselves in music, expressing the internal and the eternal. We were not meant to live stagnant lives, unemotional and somber. Life is meant to be a roller coaster ride, some more exciting than for others, but we were created to experience the highs of joy and exaltation as well as the lows of grief and sorrow. Perhaps in the original Garden of Eden life would be one continual high, yet in this fallen world we would not be complete unless we allow ourselves the benefit of both highs and lows. I want to ride the roller coaster, ride taking in all the emotions life presents me to experience; most of the time best expressed through music.
Whether I leave behind a legacy lived throughout my children, or a story for others to remember, I can only hope that the colors and pattern of my life will weave an unforgettable tapestry.