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When our flames flicker

Posted Monday, November 14, 2011, at 10:13 AM

Wow! Where did October go?

I've heard it said that time marches on, but this is ridiculous. It seems that lately time has kind of gotten into some sort of quick-step and it just keeps moving faster and faster.

Our oldest child is almost 28 years old. Our baby turned 20 this past summer. Our most reliable vehicle is almost 12 years old.

And that's not all. The other day I was trying to figure out how long I've been active in the pulpit ministry and was astonished at the answer. I've been "officially" preaching and teaching the Word for over 28 years, seven years of that at our current church.

It's been three years since my brother Ernie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and two years already since his death on October 16th, 2009. He would have turned 56 yesterday (November 2nd).

Dad's been gone since March of this year, though it seems like just a few weeks ago he was talking to me about hunting and fishing, giving Bethany a hard time about loving Adam more than her, watching Jordan fish in the lake just off the deck of grandpa's home, and listening teary-eyed to the Hank Williams and Roy Acuff music Angela played for him from her laptop computer.

I guess age has begun to work on me as well. I'm a little stiffer in the joints and October hurt a little more than I remember from years past. No telling what November might bring. And I worry too much.

In his song, "Worry Too Much," Mark Heard says it like this:

"It's the quick-step march of history -- the vanity of nations ... it's the way there'll be no muffled drums to mark the passage of my generation. ... It's the children of our children ... it's the lambs born of innocence ... it's wondering if the good we know will last to be seen by the eyes of the little one. ... Sometimes it seems like bars of steel I cannot bend with my hands ... oh, I worry too much ... somebody told me that I worry too much."

I think he spoke for many in my generation. When we were young, we thought that we would see a world of peace and tranquility; we thought we'd find ourselves growing old in relative comfort and leave things even better for our children and their children. We may still have time to accomplish at least some of that dream. I pray it is so.

Some days, we look at the sunrise and remember the one who hangs the stars and tells the moon and sun when to shine. On those days we march off into the world with vigor and hope and an internal knowing that life still holds great things for us and those who follow after.

On other days, however, our flames flicker, dark clouds come, and we realize that -- like our fathers before us -- we are but a vapor and, much like October, we will one day be but a memory.



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Bob Stewart is pastor of Union Baptist Church. His long-running column ranges in topic from matters of faith to observations about life in Saline County, politics and the sights to see in travels throughout America.
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