Knock On Wood -- He Said
By Eddie Jones
"There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born... and a time to die." - Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
The morning after Bob Deaton’s funeral I awoke to find a red-headed woodpecker of some dark denomination drilling a hole in the top of my dock piling. Pecking away in the bright sunlight. Knocking on wood. Reminding me that I should be too.
The bird departed when I lifted the top hatch board of my sailboat and stepped into the cockpit, disturbing the glaze of frost that coated the cushions. I looped a leg over the lifeline, found good footing on the narrow pad along the toe rail, and stepped onto the finger pier. My yard-sale bike, a boy’s model at least two generations too small for my short legs, was propped against the white dock box. The black seat was gray under the dusting of frozen dew. The air was cold. Mighty cold. Too cold for me to be riding a bike on a narrow dock in February.
I mounted the bike, pointed the front tire south, and started towards the bathhouse, hoping this would be one of those good mornings when the hot water heater worked. The apparent wind from my forward progress bit into my thin skin, but I didn’t risk adjusting my grip for fear of veering off the dock and into the creek. I’d tested the temperature of the water in February, once, clothed only in jeans and sneakers. It wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat.
So I rode slowly, shifting the small pouch of shower garb over the front spokes, centering the weight more evenly, making careful corrections to keep me in the center of the dock. The sun was rising over the black pine tops. Dock lines glistened like tinsel as sunlight broke through. Hot breath formed dense clouds as I worked the low gear. Beneath my pedals I could see fresh tire tracks carving a slender trail in the thick icing on the planks.
There was a lot of beauty in the early hours of that cold February morning, but it came with some pain. Thin air burned my lungs. Knuckles hurt from the chilled wind. Eyes watered from the intense cold. Pleasure and pain were both a part of the morning. You can’t have the splendor of a winter sunrise frozen in time without the pain of the cold. The sting of death mutes the joy of life, and it’s a very gray world indeed, without both.
The hot water worked, but the pressure was low. I hurried along, changed into my author’s outfit and headed for New Bern to participate in the first annual Book Lovers Affair. I set my box down on the short end of a long table, saving most of the counter space for Nicholas Sparks. Sparks didn’t arrive, but I sold a few books, any way.
Still, there remained a chill in the air. A tremor of remorse rattled the crowd whenever the conversation turned to boating. The news was still too fresh, the after shocks too close to home. Someone would stop to look at the cover of my book, tell their own story of how they’d run aground, and then end with, “It’s just awful about Bob’s death, isn’t it?”
It was. And it is. And it will be for sometime. Fifty-two was a good-sized number, but it’s not big enough. Not by a long shot.
The great deception of life is to believe that we’ll live for a very long time, that we’ll always have another chance to make a difference. But we won’t. Often we only get one chance to do the right thing, at the right time, for the wrong kind of person — for the person who is interrupting our plans with their own petty problems. Then we’re off again on our bike or car or boat. Filling another busy moment with ourselves. Making a living, making a life, making excuses for why we can’t stop to help or hear or offer a measure of hope to someone in need.
I missed Bob’s funeral. I didn’t think I knew him well enough to attend. But I should have gone. I should have gone out of respect for his life, out of respect for what he meant to this community. I should have gone to testify that his life made a difference, that his work had meaning, was necessary and good. It would have only taken a little time out of my day. I had the time. I should have spent some.
Take the time to be a friend today.
(Reprinted with permission from Hard Aground... Again)
He Said--She Said
authors, Eddie Jones
and Cindy Sproles
In His Time -- She Said
By Cindy Sproles
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born... and a time to die." - Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
My dad sat up in the bed and broke into prayer. “If this is what you want for me I’m ready,” he said. As comforting as it was to know dad was ready to leave his earthly body, it did nothing for me. I wasn’t ready.
I’ve often been amazed at the wonders of life and death, at the coincidence of the last breath of life leaving a body, yet and in the same instant—a newborn takes its first gasp of air. It’s as though one draws from the other. One gives and the other takes. Somewhere in the scheme of things God has His ultimate balance and when we talk about events happening in His time, we need to understand that those words are not just words, but truth.
We worry much too much about time. My friend reminded me, “He makes me lie down in green pastures so He can restore my soul.” When I ignore the time God has set aside for me, I’m missing out on His presence, His peace, and His restoration. God has His timing. A time for everything. And though disease and accidents are horrible things the truth of the matter is, none of us know the hour our soul will leave our bodies. We’re really all on the same plane—a time frame that is only known to God.
I’ve brought life into the world, two sons. I’ve lost it as well, one unknown infant. I’ve experienced the loss of my dearest friend whose death twenty years in the past, still aches as though it was yesterday. Then death struck home and dad left this earth, and as I stood by his gravesite, I realized that in an instant it could be me.
That’s when I learned about God’s time. I realized I needed to live my earthly life with joy; be an encourager to others. In my impatience, God teaches me that His agenda takes precedence. His winter puts nature to sleep and spring wakes her. New life inches through the dirt and from the womb. But for the new to come, something must go. We call it the circle of life. God calls it timing.
When you feel as though your life is out of balance, seek the Father’s timing. Call to Him and He will hear. There is a time for everything. Summer and winter, life and death, peace and war, hope and despair. But through it all, God is eternally faithful—walking us through His plan…..in His time.