Most of the time the news the TV newscasts are mostly about bad news. Although the station I usually watch tries to balance the bad news with some good news. However, this past week the news, both close to home and around the world, seemed to me to be especially bad. I needed something to reassure me that if what I am hoping for is in accordance with God’s will, God will fulfill that hope, in God’s time and God’s way. I needed to hear some good news in the midst of the bad news.
God did not let me down. Yesterday I was sorting through the many books I have acquired over the years. In the process, I came across an item I had no idea was hidden among all those books. Something which, as far as I could remember, I had never seen before. It was a little spiral-bound notebook which appeared to be someone’s personal journal, containing handwritten entries from the 1970s. As far as I can tell, it came into my possession with a lot of other things that were left to me when my mother died. Things that got filed away, to be looked at some day when I had time. The journal entries were written by a woman named Evelyn, who I heard my mother speak favorably of from time to time, and who I believe was a distant cousin who I might have met once, many years ago. Other than that, I knew nothing about her.
As far as I know, Evelyn was, like my family in general (including me), just a lower middle class person who had no claim to fame or fortune. According to a note written by her husband on the last page of the journal, she died at the age of 49 in 1979. Her journal entries told me that she had experienced good news and bad news in the world and in her life. She lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s, World War II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam war. Despite the bad news during those years, her writing tells me that she was a person with hope, who had faith that God would and did provide good news in the midst of bad news.
Evelyn’s longest journal entry was written in 1974. It was her words in this entry that helped me get past the apparent hoplessness which I was beginning to feel, due to the ever present bad news of the week that was. I thank God for providing me with the hope and good news I needed right then and there, and somehow arranged that at just the right moment, I would discover Evelyn’s journal, which I had no idea existed.
I believe that you might have experienced times (maybe right now) of hopelessness from too much bad news. I felt God inspiring me to share Evelyn’s journal entry with you, in which she answers the question “What Makes Life Worth Living?”
Grace and peace, Ray
Evelyn’s Journal Entry
What makes life worth living? – The Lord God and all his blessings:
Love and friendship
Soft music – the lovely sound of it
New fallen snow in the evening – the peace and beauty of it
A small child’s innocence
The New England countryside in September – breathtaking
Church bells ringing on Easter morn, promising a resurrection
A newborn colt, trying to stand for the first time on legs that won’t stop shaking
A visit to Yellowstone Park – seeing “Old Faithful”, the great plains, the mountains, the falls, and all of nature’s many contrasts
The first red radish, picked from your very own garden
Getting out on the lake at 4AM and seeing the sun come up over the horizon
Watching a mother bird feed her your
Walking hand in hand with the one you love on a warm Spring evening
Seeing the first crocus pop its head up out of the snow
Hearing the sound of your newborn child cry
Picking wild violets and buttercups in the woods
The aroma of freshly baked bread
The warm feeling you get after you have helped someone in need
Receiving a picture from your little child
Hearing the words “I love you” from those you love
Counting all the stars and looking for the Big Dipper on a clear night
Sitting on the porch in your favorite rocking chair
Listening on a late summer evening to the crickets beating out their messages to distant friends – and frogs croaking to each other
The smell in the air after a summer thunder storm
Hearing the whistle of a train and a fog horn in the night
Watching a bumble bee, buzzing from one lovely flower to another
Kneeling in your garden – the wonderful feel of the earth in your hands as you plant some seeds
Your dog – lovingly wagging his tail and greeting you lovingly, when you return home
The warmth of a handshake
Meeting a new friend – receiving a call or a letter from an old friend
Kneeling in an empty church on a quiet afternoon – thanking God for all the blessings he has granted Americans – freedom, justice and a beautiful land. Freedom to pray in trhe church of our choice. Freedom from hunger and persecution. The right to speak out against injustice, freedom to travel where and when we please. Freedom to read whatever we choose, and to write and to voice our opinion.
Life is Love –Love is God – God is goodness – Goodness is a child – A child is wonder- Wonder is nature –Nature is beauty – Beauty is fleeting
Life is short – Love is forever – Love is God – God is eternity – Eternity is forever.
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
Patty Perez and Ray Gough
We also invite you to view our other web-site Ray of Hope Ministries On-Line Bible Study www.rohmbible.wordpress.com. We have also published the book shown below in the form of an e–book. We invite you to read, copy, or down-load it free at this web-site:
A Spiritual Autobiography