In the afternoon twilight the quaking aspens moved and shimmered with each gust of the wind. It was as if I was watching an ocean wave build then crash into a reef where it boiled and churned in several cyclonic eddies. I couldn’t actually see the wind and therefore never knew from what direction it came from or where it was going but still I had the evidence that it was a real phenomenon as it tossed and turned the shimmering aspen leaves.
In the afternoon twilight the quaking aspens moved and shimmered with each gust of the wind. It was as if I was watching an ocean wave build then crash into a reef where it boiled and churned in several cyclonic eddies. I couldn’t actually see the wind and therefore never knew from what direction it came from or where it was going but still I had the evidence that it was a real phenomenon as it tossed and turned the shimmering aspen leaves. Near my feet the waters of the Blue River made their way around the white bark of the aspen trunks as several orange colored brook trout treaded water, patiently waiting for something to eat.
The waters around the pacific atoll were pristine, crystal clear as glass and took on several shades of turquoise as the trade winds gently gusted and the sun warmed the sand beneath my feet. Several schools of brightly colored red and white clown fish darted in and out of the coral as the ocean’s surge rocked a baby octopus to sleep. Several turtles nibbled at clumps of eel grass that swayed and danced in the waves; pulling and pushing them around like beautifully arrayed Polynesian hula dancers performing at a sunset luau.
The swallows glided past my window in perfect swooping arcs as they gracefully reached out their talons to grasp the rims of their mud layered nests. Baby swallows also reached out to receive their morning breakfast of regurgitated flies and gnats. There was no wind this morning as amber streaks of sun light illuminated weeping leaves on several eucalyptus trees that sat as motionless as a cat waiting for its prey to surface from an underground burrow. The warm radiance of the sun brushed my face as it bathed and tumbled over me in waves.
“Push, Push, Push! The baby is almost here!” cried the nurse as she coached the new mother who was delirious from pain. Perspiration dripped down her forehead and across her face which wrinkled with each push as her hands firmly clenched the rails of the bed. The epidural was in place but barely cutting the pain as the baby’s head finally popped out then within seconds and with one last push the nurse was holding a very pink newborn baby. The delivery room’s door swung open as the patient’s doctor burst into the room reaffirming the fact that it was indeed a girl and that the traffic was very heavy this morning.
The service was packed to overflowing and some people found themselves watching from the overflow room down the hall and around the corner. The Salvation Army’s chapel was completely full with people who came to pay their last respects to the pastor’s wife. Many people approached the microphone to share how this woman had made a difference in their lives.
“How is it possible that one life could touch and influence so many people?” As a service dog plopped his haunches down on my new black leather shoes “I wonder if I have made any difference in the world and if anyone would show up for my memorial?” I thought to myself.
King Solomon also once reflected on his life “What profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun? One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever. The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns to the north; the wind whirls about continually and comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.”
In the end Solomon looks at all the labor of his life as vanity and grasping for the wind. But for the woman being memorialized there was living evidence that she had poured out God’s love through her own life and actions which touched so many people around her. So it’s at the end, when we cross the finish line, that God will judge us. Many works will be burned up in a purifying fire but all selfless acts performed and relationships we have built will pass through to the other side.
“Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”