Week of August 10th, 2020

Well, apparently the “rumor mill” has been busy again concerning the status of the life and times of ye ol’ muser. So much so that I thought I might address at least one of those rumors. 

            Some of you might remember that a few months ago I mentioned some comments that were made to me by a close acquaintance. I was taking a walk and enjoying the beauty of God’s good earth when this acquaintance of mine stopped and said to me: “Somebody told me that you had died and gone to Hell.” Well, needless to say, my ears perked up to listen to what more might be said. Only one more statement followed—”You sure look like Hell.”

            I didn’t respond in any kind of way at those remarks. I just continued my walk.

            Apparently the acquaintance had been misinformed. I wanted to respond (but didn’t) by saying that I had not yet attained either of the goals that were mentioned. (1) I was not dead and (2) I had not gone to Hell.

            However, I probably would have agreed with how I looked!

            Seems that the exchange I have just related to you was not enough to satisfy the acquaintance because, just the other day, Gale and I were out enjoying another walk. We were accosted again by the same person who looked at us and declared that we were “The Walking Dead.”

            I was taken aback somewhat because I thought we looked pretty good! Gale had my arm, we were looking at the beauty of nature all around us, we were both upright and walking at a pretty good pace, there was a glow in our eyes, and a smile on our face.

            I couldn’t understand how could we be confused with “The Walking Dead.”

            So, here’s the deal—I ain’t dead!

            Yet!
            I’ve got serious health problems that are being treated by “world class” medical professionals. I eat like a horse! My “color” is good. I drive myself to doctor’s appointments. I moved a mound of dirt recently with the help of a long-handled shovel, yard rake, and a grubbing hoe. I’ve prepared my planters for tomato plants, mowed my grass, installed a birdbath in the yard, and fertilized my rose bushes.

            I cook my breakfast almost every morning. I’ve met newspaper deadlines. I’ve prepared video presentations for the good folks at Burnside Christian Church since we haven’t been able to “go to church.” I’ve used my quarantine time to organize thousands of photographs. I’ve been able to keep in touch with my children and grandchildren in spite of and using approved social distancing techniques. I’ve read some good books.

            Let me repeat: “I ain’t dead!”

            If the truth were known; I’d have to tell you that I’m more alive now than I have been in years! Yes, I’ve had to slow down and my endurance and stamina is not what it used to be. I admit that when I do almost anything that it is done with a whole lot of “sitting.” I take a lot of breaks!

            But, having those limitations has caused me to prioritize what I can do. Things that used to be so important to me aren’t that important now. I’ve learned the value of the moment. “One day at a time” is my new normal. I’ve been able to stop and smell more roses than I had ever smelled in the past. Being able to get out of bed in the morning has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Friendships, family, and faith probably means more to me than ever before.

            Let me repeat: “I ain’t dead!”

            I rejoice in being able to say that more than you can imagine. You see, I was told almost fourteen years ago that my life expectancy might be a year. Just eight months ago I was told that I might have from three to six months to live. So, you might understand why I am quick to say with pride and humility: “I ain’t dead!”

            There’s another thing about the rumor that I have died and gone to Hell. It is that some might want that to be true. I have come to realize that there are some people in this world that have no sense of decency, compassion, fairness, or any love and concern for God or others. That’s just a fact, Jack! To be that way is to make a choice to be that way! You don’t have to be that way. If you are; you have decided to be that way.
            I haven’t!

            I’ll just close with this (here’s where the preaching begins). I realize that I might look like Hell. My hair is turning white, my skin looks like leather, my bones creak and groan, my step is a bit slow, I’m not in the best of health, and my memory fails me at times.

            None of that has been a surprise to me. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone else. You see, I learned something a long time ago. Here’s what I learned…”Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” “ For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day.”

            You might look at me and think I am one of “The Living Dead” and that I look like Hell.
I look at me and feel fine and keep on keeping on because there’s a part of me that is full of life and a part of me that is not dying but being renewed day by day.

“I ain’t dead!”

            I’m feeling good because Someone told me: “…every one who is living and is a believer in Me shall never, never die.”

            “I ain’t dead and in Him I will never die.”

            Deal with it!

                                                                                                                                                -Harlan