No One Cared

No One Cared

He wondered how it would feel to walk, to stand up, have your head so far off the ground. The few times someone had held him up it was very frightening. He preferred his mat on the ground and his head close to the ground as well.

He had never walked, not in all of his thirty-eight years. He remembered his father yelling at him to walk when he was very small, holding him up and demanding that he walk, then letting him go and his lifeless legs crumbling beneath him.

That was a long time ago. His father and an older brother had brought him to the pool and just left him when he was very young. He was younger than most of the children now playing around the pool. Those years were dim, almost unreal.

The kind lady who had taken him home on the third day she found him still by the pool, begging for something to eat and crying with tears greater than the pool, had died a couple of years later, but those had been good years. She kept him clean, fed him enough to grow on and brought him often to the pool hoping that he might be healed.

He had not been healed and she had died. He crawled now more than half a mile to get to the pool; his legs were covered with scars and now calloused with the years of moving across the stone street. No one notice him now, he was a fixture like the stone pillars around the pool. The children played around him, the people moved him away from the edge so that they could get in first, but no one really noticed him.

He understood the rules but wonder why the rules? Why the first one in and why only when the water was stirred. They said it was the touch of an angel but in all of his years he had never seen an angel. But he still came, what else was there to do? Not coming meant no hope and without hope there is no life.

He had never seen this man before, he came with directness toward him and many others followed after him, who was he, and what could he want with him a lame beggar? He said the strangest thing, “Sir, would thou be made whole?” No one had ever called him sir; no one had ever asked him what he wished for, who was this man?

Such a strange question, why else would he be here if he did not want to be made whole, what was this; was he and his friends going to make fun of him? ‘I have no one!” he said, “no one to put me in the water when it stirs.”   The man looked through his soul and said, “Pick up your mat and walk.” What was he to do? What? Walk of course.

(Of course you know the story from John 5:1-9) If you are reading this outside the USA, please email me and let me know how you found us. inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on July 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Know

I Know

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 gray headed, O God, do not forsake me. Psalm 71:17

I know what it is like to be young, excited, a daydreamer of days to come and events to unfold, to march with other young men, to wear the uniform of my country. I know what it like to stand before others, hold Your book in one hand and use the other to point to Your glory.

I know what it like to grow older, to see what part of my hair that did not turn loose, turn gray. To have my body say no when my heart so wanted to say yes. I understand what it is like to see your days numbered and to know that nothing can stop the clock from ticking forward.

I know that You have me in Your sight and I will never be moved from Your presence, thank You Lord for loving me and allowing me to know just a tassel on Your garment.

Ivan

 

Published in: on July 21, 2016 at 10:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

He Will Prevail

He Will Prevail

As I drove back from Nashville Saturday I was in a rush to get home to attend the funeral of a relative of one of my church family members. My thoughts were driven by the fact that I had not known about the death and had made no response.

There is no good way to express that regret, just get there when you can and share your concern by your presence. I have learned a long time ago that it is not so much what we say as it is that we are there. Having stood many times on both sides of that line I understand it from the friends who wish to express their care and the family who receives it.

I have buried both of my parents, all three of my sisters and many others, the touch of a hand of care, the gentle hug, the eyes, those are the actions that make the moment a bit better.

As we began our services on Sunday we heard of the deaths of the three officers in Baton Rouge, so each word that I spoke, each point that I made was wrapped with the sorrow for the families, the hurt and hate in our nation and the common belief shared by so many that there is no healing for our sick country.

As a Christian and a minister I know better, none of this is a surprise to God. He will not vanish in despair and He will not pass away. He will prevail.

If you are reading this from outside the USA, please send an email and let us know how you found us. inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on July 19, 2016 at 12:22 am  Leave a Comment  

There was Once

There was Once

There once was a civilized world, sure we had problems, wars, and hard times but most of us felt safe, our homes were safe, we traveled with safety, our children dreamed of wonderful day ahead. Then came 9/11 and for the last 15 years I have watched my old age spent in fear, sorrow, uncertainty, and trouble.

I was in New York the week after 9/11 and even with the sorrow I still saw hope and a future in the hearts of people, but like the Mother Goose rhyme Humpty Dumpty, sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and no one, not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men have been able to put ole Humpty together again.

The men in blue are being shot like disgraced citizens and I am not sure that the king’s men even care.

I remember the wrong years when I was a boy, but I really thought those feelings and fears were gone. My family was not a part of that, my parents taught us to care and respect all people, but now no one respects anyone, not even themselves.

When I left for the Navy my mother stood on a stool and looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t forget who you are.”

I think God would like to bend down to our size and say, you have forgotten who you are and to whom you belong.

Humpty is sure broken and none of the king’s men will be able to put him together again, only God can save us now.

Ivan

If you are reading this in another country. let me hear from you and how you found us. inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on July 17, 2016 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

When Life Was Simple

When Life Was Simple

Life was simple at 246 South Lindsey Street, when I was a boy. In the winter we went to school, ‘played out’ as we called it in the yard, if it was not too cold, till dark, then had supper, listened to the radio and went to bed.

In the summer we just spent the day outside. Sure we had chores, going to the grocery store, about three blocks away, cutting the yard, feeding the pets and a few other things as mother remembered to ask me to do, but for the most part we played out.  Johnnie Barber and I were next door neighbors and most of the time we formed the group of boys and girls involved in cowboy and Indians, baseball, building a fort out of sticks and old lumber on the vacant lot and just hanging around.

We road sticks for horses and held other sticks for guns and in general ‘pretended’ that so many things were real. I collected leaves from trees, put them in a bag and called it money. We chipped the concrete off of bricks, we had a great pile of them which later my father would brick out house with; and called it gold. In later years we road our bikes, cut yards for other people for about 25 cents, went to the store for anyone who would let us, most often they gave us a nickel, and wondered what girls were all about. It was simple, fun, safe, and we looked forward to each new day.

I remember Betty Upton teasing me because I had only a plain stick for my horse, so she assured me that I did not know which way I was going, front or back. I fixed her; I stuck one end of my stick horse in a can of white paint and called it the head that way I always knew which way I was going.

Betty was the one thing or person that Johnnie and I disagreed on, we both ‘claimed’ her, strange language but that is what we called it in those days. This sometime caused a falling out in our friendship but never more than a few hours. After all a girl couldn’t come between us guys.

We listened to the Lone Ranger, Sky King, and Gang Busters on the radio and replayed them in the yards and fields of Lindsey Street.

Life was simple, innocent and good; in my old age I sometimes dream at night of that street and those kids and the joys of having very little but feeling very fortunate.

 Life is not simple now, it is not innocent, and the dreams of a boy are now brief, fuzzy, and not so many as long ago.

Ivan

If you are reading this outside the United States email me and let me know how you found us. inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on July 14, 2016 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  

What Happened

What Happened

It was too early to be at the side of the road, but they were there, Father, Mother and son. I am not sure that they did not spend the night under the bridge but there they were near the east bound exit to interstate 40.

I had gotten off to get some gas and saw them huddled together as if they needed the warmth of their bodies to keep them warm. I pulled into Pilot and walked back up the highway to see what I might be able to do for them.

The dad was very protective, with his rags for pants he stepped out to hide the small boy and frail lady. All of them looked as if they had been thrown off of a train. Dirty, unwashed, clothes torn and almost adequate, but not really. I spoke to him, explained that I was going west but wondered if they needed something to eat. The mother grabbed his shirt, and the man told me it had been Saturday morning when they had last eaten.

I invited them to walk back down to the Pilot with me, told them there was a dairy queen which served breakfast as well as a Subway and other food was also available. He said that they would not let them in because they had already tried to use their restrooms the night before.

I told them that they knew me and I was sure it would be alright. As we walked in the lady at the register looked at me, I nodded, and she shook her head with ok. They got a lot of breakfast, then some to go and I got the boy an ice cream. He ate it like it was glorious, maybe it was.

I tried to talk with them, didn’t get very far, bad luck, drugs, drink, and terrible choice had placed them in my path beside the road. I told them about Jesus, gave them one of my books and asked them to read a story each day. They thanked me walked back to their spot on the side of the road; I got my gas and headed west.

But I could not help but think what had happened? My wife is in Baltimore receiving an award for her hard work, I am going to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, both of us are well fed, we dress about like most of our friends and our cars run most of the time. Why the difference? I wonder how many turns, bad turns it would have taken for Carole and me to be on the side of the road. I prayed for them, thanked God for His blessings and asked Him to give them a ride and a time of beginning again.

Ivan

Published in: on July 12, 2016 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Power of Touch

The Power of Touch

I sat in the room with my dad as the two doctors in charge of his care made their early morning visits. The first doctor entered the room, glanced at me and standing at the end of the bed told dad that his test were looking better and that he was going to order more. He looked at the record in his hand, told him to have a nice day and left; Time of visit; six minutes.

About thirty minutes later Dr. Ballard came in, he shook my hand, said he was glad to see me and turning to dad said, “That bald headed boy is beginning to look a lot like his father. Then he sat on the bed, held dad’s hand, touched his brow and looking into his eyes told him that he was certainly improving. He assured him that they were going to do everything they could to get him home just as soon as possible. He said they would do a couple of more test just to keep him, the doctor, on his toes and holding his hands said, Mr. Ivan, you are going to beat this, now is not your time, I will see you and that bald headed son soon, take care and let me know if you need anything. With that he left; time of visit, six minutes.

I asked dad what he thought. “Well that first fellow didn’t have much time did he? Guess he has a lot of sick people to attend to. But you know Dr. Ballard is really smart, he just believes that I am going to be ok, and you know son; so do I. But I sure don’t know how he spends so much time with me when I know he has a lot of others who need him more.”

Both doctors were well trained, both knew what they were doing, both said about the same thing, but Dr. Ballard; well he had the touch, the healing touch.

Ivan

If you are reading this from outside the country, let me know how you found us my email is inraley@yahoo.com

 

Published in: on July 11, 2016 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Day Time Somewhere

Day time somewhere! That is what the man from Rwanda would always say when we came in after a really hard day of working on the camp site for children.

Sometimes we would have trouble between the locals in Zaire and those who were seeking safety from the war torn Rwanda. Sometimes it would be from the officials who had little use for all of those who were coming across the border into their land and even problems with those of us who had come to help.

Pepsi as I called him in addition to being a daytime worker was also one of our guards at night; I called him Pepsi because in all the time I was there he wore the same shirt with the logo of Pepsi on the front, he would fall down on the grass after eating supper, get his rifle and say, ‘Day time somewhere!”

In days when our nation suffers from the hurt and trouble like these last couple of weeks, I think of Pepsi. More than 800,000 of his people, the Tutsi’s had been killed, his home was gone, his family missing, but somehow he could always believe that as dark as it was in Rwanda it was still day time somewhere.

As our nation hurts I join my friend Pepsi, It is day time somewhere.

Ivan

 

Published in: on July 10, 2016 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Help

Help,

I could use some help, something has happened and my readership has fallen over the last six months. Several have told me that it just might be time to focus on another point of ministry and they might well be correct.

I have had a good run, the blog has been opened 107,764 times, I have published 1292 blogs, about 300 of them more than once, and people in more than 90 countries have opened them, so it has been a good run. However in the last several months the number opening the blogs has fallen to about 50 each day.

Maybe you know why, have a suggestion, know something that I don’t know, after all I am doing the writing so it is hard for me to make a judgment.

I would be interested in hearing from you.

My email is inraley@yahoo.com

Published in: on July 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm  Comments (9)  

The War Years

The War Years from Lindsey Street

Some memories float to the front of those early years of my life and our nation at war. Our home like most on Lindsey Street had a radio around which we would gather each night to listen to the news of our troops. Dad would tune the magic eye of our upright Zenith and we would spend the evening listening. I remember hating Walter Winchell, Garber Heater and others as they broadcast the daily reports. I think it was fear in a young boy’s heart that one day he would have to be part of that nightly news. Going to the movies became a real chore for me because they would always show the Movie Tone News and I was extremely frighten by the destruction, bullets flying through the sky and bombs drooping from planes. I can even remember leaving the theater before the movie to get away from the news. I remember a day in the fall of 1944 when my teacher Ms Kea was called from the class room and returned to get her personal items in tears having been told that her brother had been killed in France. Later that school year when we received word that the war in Europe was over I remember her telling us the news and then she began to weep saying that all of the boys would not be coming home. I was sad for her understanding the mixed feeling she had that the war was over but her brother would not be coming home with the victory. I can remember standing on the corner of Lexington Ave. and Whitehall Street watching the hundreds of troops coming by as they moved from one station to another. It was a wonderful feeling in my heart as I watched the young men come by in trucks, jeeps, and marching. In those moments I was not afraid but was proud to be an American and dreamed that someday I would put on a uniform and go with them.

Ivan

Published in: on July 6, 2016 at 10:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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