I’m Here

Someone’s mind desensitized, turned toward evil and took many lives. This is not television anymore; it’s our daily life.

Someone else will inevitably say it’s God’s judgment on another “sin city”, but it’s not that at all.

Deep in the earth, hot molten bubbles and heaves, churning to an end. Under pressure places break loose, and earthquakes tremble and break open the earth. People die. Not only from earthquakes, forest fires, and hurricanes. People are dying everyday, and instead of searching for the answers, we put the blame on someone else. While we continue to ask why, the answer is smack right in front of us and we still refuse to believe it.

Let’s be honest: How much longer will the earth contain us? How much longer before it is over? Isn’t this what we are all thinking?

All images from Google

Mostly we blame God for not stopping the madness. “If he really loved people…”

But he does love…as he has always loved.

The point of all life is this: God gave humans their own choice. That’s how much he loved. He doesn’t want servants, robots or slaves…he wants relationship.

Don’t think for a moment this is retaliation from God because we aren’t obeying the rules. He cries at our rushing, our grabbing, our blaming and our hate.

He has patience we can’t begin to comprehend. He is incredibly compassionate. While he sees all, hurts from it all, he waits as if life will go on forever. He waits for us; he waits for love in return. He is beyond our imagination.

Is this so hard to believe?

When we see our own limitations, and those of others, is it so hard to believe there is the Almighty God who is unfathomable?

In my mind I imagine: There is a slithering death snake that haunts the whole earth hiding in plain sight to bite and devour any one of us who is unsuspecting. While our calendars are full of what we call life, and we can’t spare a moment of our time to rest, the snake strikes. He’s not going away anytime soon.

Each deadly day of more shootings, each moment of chronic physical pain, each day passes with a hole in the stomach from hunger, and someone’s shelter has been blown away…the hope fades…

But no…

God says I Am here. I’ve always been here. I will always be here.
Don’t think for a moment we can put blame on Him, since we have turned away.

There are no government programs, no gun control, and no laws that will stop this madness. Man will go on trying to control, but in controlling, he loses.

Turn back, listen for the voice of the One who loved first, created all, and let yourself be enveloped in His arms of grace.

Don’t fear in these times of sadness, don’t blame God or others, and don’t hide yourself behind text messaging. Find life in the One in which life resides.

 

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

 

Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:6 NASB

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A Day in the Real Mayberry

Mt. Airy, North Carolina

The trip to “Mayberry,” was actually the first day of my trip. Not only did my sister Julie meet me at the airport, but also my sister, C. as well.

We drove directly to Mt. Airy. I was surprised at the size of the town; it was much larger than I expected.

Many of us of a certain age, remember the Andy Griffith show. Mayberry, which was actually filmed in Burbank, CA., is a reflection of Mt. Airy. It is the real town where Andy Griffith grew up, ate at Snappy Lunch, had a hair cut at Floyd’s barbershop, and went fishing in the Ararat River.

If you lived those slowed-down years of a Mayberry-type community, it will give you pause. Things were simpler then. People enjoyed sitting a spell on the porch at night. You knew your neighbors by name, and sometimes knew too much about what was going on in town, about everyone. Their children went to school with yours and you did things like borrow tools back and forth, swing on the rope at the swimming hole, and fish in the river.

Wally’s Service
Sisters at Wally’s Service
This is similar to the car Barney drove. No AC in those days.

Wally’s Service Station was our first stop. In moments we were riding through town in a dated Ford squad car, complete with siren, which we heard at the start. Our tour guide told us some interesting facts and stories of Andy Griffith and Mt. Airy. One of the sites pointed out to us was the world’s largest open-faced granite quarry, which is still in operation today. As we drove around the town, we saw many examples of cut stone gracing lovely homes.

Quarry in Mt. Airy
Office building at quarry.

Back at the Station we found some postcards, and fun signs, stepped into the Court House/Sheriff’s office, and then headed to the Loaded Goat for lunch.

What a great sign!

The Loaded Goat had Angus burgers with fresh goat cheese and sweet potato fries. C. had a terrific tasting gluten-free bun. Be hungry when you go there; the lunches are so filling it can be the last meal of the day.

Our next stop was the free tour through the Gertrude Smith house. This home was owned by a prominent citizen and last lived in by his unmarried daughter. It was her wish to share her home with many people.

As you can see it has a foundation of odd-shaped granite.

At Gertrude Smith house.
A side view of the Gertrude Smith house.
My favorite room–the library.
One of several bedrooms.

Since I told you about the free tour in this house,  I would like to remark how refreshing it was to go down the main street of town and find free parking everywhere. What better way to attract tourists?

Of course we had to stop at several attractions: Sheriff’s Office/Courthouse, Floyd’s Barber Shop, Opie’s Candy, Walker’s Soda Fountain, and Snappy Lunch. All the folks were friendly, and you could chat all day.  Remember, this is the South.

Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff's office.
“Sarah? Get me Aunt Bea, please.”
Barber shop
Hundreds of photos of visitors cover the walls. Bill, son of the real Floyd was there to welcome you, but no haircuts.
Wouldn’t Opie enjoy this?
You bet we had sodas!
Ice cream sodas
The Snappy Lunch where Sheriff Taylor and Barney often had lunch. Unless Aunt Bea brought it by the courthouse.

 

Aunt Bea’s awful pickles. She may have been a good cook, but no one could eat her pickles.

If you ever have a chance to visit this town, be sure to take two days if you can. There is so much more to see: Andy’s playhouse, museum, and more shops.

If you don’t do anything else, take the ride in the squad car.