Sunday, March 10, 2013

Greater Faith

I'm not actually in Durham today, so here's a photo of an abandoned Durham church.  At least, I think it's abandoned.  Maybe there were people there at Christmas time, but no one ever took the wreath down, and the sign is falling off.  Despite the decrepit looking structure of the whole place, you gotta love the red cross on the door, the detail of the ironwork, and the effort that went into putting on a clean white face to the world.

I went to church today in a small coastal ward, where the testimonies borne were full of great faith.  In fact, more than anything, it's the faith that holds a congregation together.  They described themselves as a family, and from the sound of it, they really were--visiting each other when sick, serving, and praying for each other at all times.  Some had recently been very sick and were restored to health, some had moved away for a time, and now were back.  Some were just working on small daily issues.  All had great faith and testimony.  The hymn that closed the meeting was apt, and beautiful:

E'en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sea Fever

On the list of things I need in order to be happy is a pathway that leads to the sea.  March is the perfect time to be at the beach in North Carolina.  The weather is sunny but not hot, and the nights are cold enough to want to be in the hot tub looking up at a clear starry sky, and the beaches are empty of people.  And what is it about the ocean that calls to us?  The heartbeat of waves, the endlessness of the horizon, the never ending ebb and flow...  I am speechless but full of love for the beach.

Yesterday I walked for a long time next to the waves as the tide came in and cast ashore billions of shells.  I saw a hollow hermit crab shell.  Pelicans dived into the rolling waves, and a flock of inky blue-black grackle sat on the fences that protect the dunes and chuckled at me.  How little acquainted I have been with nature lately.  How much I love to be in the outdoors!

And mostly, I'm blessed with wonderful friends to spend the weekend with at the beach.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Church of the Week, and a Bonus

Love, Faith, and Power, at Deliverance Temple Church.  I've often caught a glimpse of this church as I peer down a side street near where a friend lives.  So yesterday I decided to go have a look at it more closely.  I am charmed by the gothic windows and the detail around them in this architectural mix of renaissance revival, gothic, and southwestern elements.  And it's hard to see it in my photo, but there is a red cross on the sidewalk leading up to the door.

While on my way there, I noticed a building being torn down right next to one of my favorite signs in Durham.  Thinking they may tear it down next, I snapped a photo, so here's a bonus for today.  It's not a church per se, but it has a scripture on it!  And the reason I love it so much is because it is such an odd mixture of text, color and shape, which someone must have really been passionate about at one time.  I'm not sure what it looked like when it was first built, but it looks like it started out one way, then many letters fell off, then it was all painted whitish and red, and then someone went back and painted all the letters that had fallen off in blue, adding the extra touch of elongating the plus sign to make it look more like a cross.  I don't know why, I just like it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Max's Daffodils

I love it when C tells me stories about Max, his dog.  When Max was just a puppy, C adopted him, and it was twice lucky for Max, who had already survived a car accident as a stray.  Now Max had a master, and C had a good dog.  Max grew up to form a close bond with C, who once on a long hike saw that the puppy was tiring quickly, and carried him the few miles home like a lamb across his shoulders.  They were an inseparable like-minded two, and Max lived a good long life.  Dog days go quickly though, and I only met Max once, when he was very old.  C no longer wanted to risk leaving the ailing old dog at home, and so would bring him to work in the bed of his truck, then go out and visit him periodically through the day.  I was C's coworker at the time, and didn't realize the situation until one day I happened to be passing through that area of the shop and C motioned for me to "come and see."  I, curious as ever, followed him outside and met the friendly old blind white dog, whose age could not hide his devotion to his master, and who licked my hand with dignified friendliness.

Several weeks later I happened upon C again at work, and he was trying not to cry.  It's very shocking to see a man cry, and I realized Max had died.  Not having words, I bought the most cheerful thing I could find, a miniature daffodil plant in full bloom, and gave it to C.  He planted it on Max's grave, where he lay buried under the Rose of Sharon tree in his back yard.  And sometimes when C tells me about Max, tears still come into his eyes, he misses him so much.  And that makes me want to cry.

Nine-odd years later, C and I are married, we have no dogs but memories, but the miniature daffodils continue to bloom and cheer both our hearts.