My college kid daughter did not travel home as planned yesterday because she locked herself out of her apartment doing laundry, oops, so today I drove up to bring her her passport (and some treats of course like girl scout cookies), and to give her hugs. She is headed to Italy in 2 weeks… what great thankfulness I have for that blessing for her. She gets education, she gets adventures… she gets a future.
I just watched a CBS 60 Minutes pair of stories: Ukraine regions still under fire and old sad news of girls in Afghnstn who don’t get education, except some refugees in Africa… wow… Count your blessings, in Ukraine they turn the heat off to survive. We’ve best to not complain about our situation of freedom and opportunities. Italy, huh? Didn’t we just have a pandemic recently? Italy especially? Let’s not complain and THANK GOD for calming our catastrophic situations.
SO, driving the way back home I stopped by Liberty State Park. I love seeing the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the train station. It is not crowded here, easy parking as no ferries stop here in winter… My son is working, so mom has FREEDOM, and a Subaru, and a decently half-full tank of gas. Love freedom on a Sunday… I prayerfully touched the 911 I-beams, looked at the Empty Sky Memorial and the new Freedom Tower for a little while, took a needed walk, and I enjoyed the purple crocuses which tell us spring is coming.
Yesterday, also in Jersey (don’t worry, I got a good rest at home in between AND washed all my stuff). I was south of here for the annual Polar Plunge, actually 100,000 spectators they calculated for 7500 plungers, WOW. NEARLY 3 MILLION DOLLARS RAISED, for Special Olympics by jumping into an ocean that is practically ignored 23 hours of this winter day…
After the plunge, while I was munching happily on snacks back at the rental, wearing nice dry warm clothes, sitting by the fire, someone new came and marveled at our energy. He asked if doing the polar plunge was spiritual for me, I blurted out, not even thinking too much, “It’s ALL Spiritual”... I’m not being flippant, but in retrospect I meant that I was THANKFUL to plunge, to be anywhere especially here, and to be THANKFUL because I know Whom to thank. I am thankful for God delivering on my prayers for fun. SO, reflecting upon our life opportunities, my life opportunities everyday, I am sooooo THANKFUL… It IS spiritual to be thankful. I enjoy being thankful simply in that fact that we are able to BE THANKFUL… Yup, that’s the core of a spiritual thing for me… God allows Freedom yes, free to forget to be thankful or freedom to have THANKFULNESS… yeah… choose the latter.
So today was writing this sitting in Jersey again, Jersey City – looking at the back of Lady Liberty , still inspiring because she is looking FOREVER FORWARD. And at this location and viewpoint, the huddled masses would have already made it to the Central Jersey trains and the promised land USA. Looking back or looking forward, count blessings. I think that God reminds us that EMBRACING the FUTURE is best looked upon by FACING FORWARD. “No one who puts their hands to the plow and looks back is fit for service“.
I saw thankful families taking photos today on a Sunday stroll, and seemingly a mix of all nationalities. These probably are families who came more recently to US America, so their trips here are closer in the rear view mirror than my family’s trips. I am thankful my family trusted the opportunity to move forward. Remember, those boat rides must have been pretty scary. If our ancestors could see us now… let’s remember: You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
God wants to take us all to the place where we WANT to trust Him as well as NEED to TRUST HIM. Then He wants to see us embrace life. Facing forward, we can walk… Then how will we see what is hidden just beyond the horizon? FAITH. Keep the Faith… let God go ahead. That’s a favorite reason for spiritual thankfulness, GOD gives us FAITH to know He is working.
God is in control, BE SPIRITUAL and PLUNGE INTO LIFE!
Psalm 71 New King James Version
God the Rock of Salvation
In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me. Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord God;
You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.
I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, Saying, “God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him.”
O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed
Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor who seek my hurt.
But I will hope continually, And will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness And Your salvation all the day, For I do not know their limits. I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only.
O God, You have taught me from my youth; And to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.
Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You? You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, Shall revive me again, And bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
Also with the lute I will praise You – And Your faithfulness, O my God! To You I will sing with the harp, O Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, And my soul, which You have redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; for they are confounded, for they are brought to shame who seek my hurt.