Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Do you sometimes see what I do in the writings of the apostle Paul? Usually, Paul is characterized as a man of action – always moving on to a new adventure. We see him casting out demons, weathering the difficulties and dangers of the road and the sea, speaking to thousands; on a constant trek from country to country, adventure to adventure.
We often glamorize a lifestyle of adventure like that of Paul, and think of how exciting it must have been for him. Many travelers of our own day seem to be only on a constant quest for new adventures. Some may think that this also may have been a motivation for Paul because it seems that he could not stay long in one place. However, if we look closely at his writings, we see that there is something else. There is another side to Paul that we do not often realize, but that we can sometimes detect in his writings. 
I think in some ways, Paul longed for some stability in his life. He told the people in the city of Corinth, “For I do not wish to see you now just in passing; for I hope to remain with you for some time, if the Lord permits” (1 Corinthians 16:7 NAS). He told them that he even wanted to spend the winter. I know it is not the same thing, but my mind returns to the pleasant winter that the Lord had recently allowed us to stay on our little farm in Wisconsin. Paul wanted to settle in for a little while and not be so constantly on the move.
I hope I do not read too much into what Paul says, but I sometimes think that he simply longed for a quiet life with a family. “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife?” he asked (1 Corinthians 9:5 NAS).  Many times previous to this, when I have traveled alone and have so greatly missed my lovely Vivian, I have thought of these words of Paul.
Paul, I think, had a strength that I do not. For me there has always been a homecoming, but Paul’s life was one of constant movement. It was not given to him to have a home. I do not know if I could last long without homecoming. Sometimes when I have been on the road with this ministry, I think I am just holding out until the day comes when I can go home for a while.
Instead, Paul found his stability in something else. We are mistaken if we think that we do not need a measure of stability in our lives. Endless adventure can never fulfill every inner need. In some manner, we need constancy – something upon which we can depend. A home somewhat fulfills that need. And, of course, the true Constant is God Himself. It is only through a living relationship with Him do we find stability in our life. But allow me, for a moment, to keep things at ground level.
I think we can learn a little of the priorities in the life of Paul by an event told to us in the book of Acts, chapters 19 and 20.  Here Paul was on his third missionary journey, stopping in city after city, demonstrating from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.  One of the cities in which he stopped was the city of Ephesus, which is on the west coast of Asia Minor.  However, instead of just staying for a month or two in this city, Paul stayed there about three years – the longest time he stayed in any one place in his travels.  There were extraordinary things that happened in Ephesus.  We are told that people even carried handkerchiefs and aprons from Paul’s body to the sick with the result that the diseases left them and evil spirits went out of them.
However, there was something else of even more significance that happened in Ephesus. There was, in the city, a small group of men there who wanted to dedicate themselves to study. They wanted to go beyond the marvelous and miraculous. They wanted to grow in the truths and the knowledge of God. Faced with such spiritual hunger, Paul stayed to teach them. They met daily in the school of Tyrannus, as it was called (no, it had nothing to do with the dinosaur).
I think they must have been very interesting classes. From the words used to describe these classes, they were not simply lectures of Paul with the student taking notes in preparation for Friday’s exam. Instead, the classroom was filled with discussion and reasoning. They reached conclusions together with Paul as the teacher and the Scripture as their guide. The pastoral training classes with which I had been involved for many years in establishing in Latin America and now in the Pacific are designed to have much the same atmosphere. I cannot help to think that what we helped start in these classes is somewhat the same as the school of Tyrannus. I certainly hope that this is true.
After his years at Ephesus, Paul moved on to continue his journey. He made a wide swing throughout the region and then determined that he would return to Jerusalem. Paul was very goal-orientated and a little more driven than most. He felt that he could not spare the time to travel through Ephesus on his way. He wanted to be in Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost, if he could. 
Nevertheless, neither could he pass by Ephesus without seeing his friends. He knew that if he went into the city that he would be too long delayed. Instead, he stayed at the coastal town of Miletus and called for his former students to come to see him. Paul loved these people. There was yet more that he wanted to establish in them that their faith would remain strong. It was a joyful reunion, but when the time came, it was a very difficult parting. They all thought that it may very well be the last time that they would see one another.
The account of their meeting at Miletus is recorded for us in Acts 20: 17-38. When they had all gathered together for this reunion, Paul begins by speaking to his friends and reminiscing with them about their time together:

You yourselves know, from the first day that I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials, which came upon me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:18-21 NAS).

Much that is hidden to us in the words of Paul was not hidden to those who knew Paul. His words brought many remembrances to the people present with him that day in that costal town. We know of some of their experiences together in Ephesus, some of the trials, some of the “plots” of the Jews, but we are like an in-law at the reunion of his spouse’s family. We may be able to identify a little with the “inside” family stories and jokes, but not having grown up with the family, much of it remains outside of our experience.
So it is with us in this reunion at Miletus. When Paul and the others present laughed at some experience they had, we may have laughed, but we may have only done so to be polite. When the people there felt tears welling up in their eyes over some trial that even at that time was very difficult, our eyes may very well have been dry. Had we been present at the actual reunion of Paul and his friends, we may have caught some more of the meaning in what was said, but this was mostly their private time. These were their memories.
After reminiscing for a few minutes, Paul goes on to tell his friends the purpose of the meeting:

And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.  But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20: 23-24 NAS).

Paul knows that “bonds and afflictions” await him. A few days after this time at Miletus, Paul would be on his journey to Jerusalem. As he would pass through Caesarea, a prophet named Agabus would take Paul’s belt and bind his own hands and feet and say this, “In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles” (Acts 21:11 NAS).
This prophecy was no new revelation to Paul. He already knew what awaited him. As point of fact, he knew it from the beginning. When Paul was struck blind on the road to Damascus, the Lord sent a man named Ananias to heal him. The message that God gave to Ananias concerning Paul was that “He (Paul), is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16 NAS).
Paul knew what his end would be and he knew that he was now at the threshold of that final chapter in his life. How much nicer it would be to stay with his friends in Ephesus! Certainly they also faced afflictions there, as they had just remembered. But they were together! They were there for one another to strengthen and uphold one another.
It is perhaps a dangerous thing to try to attribute thoughts to Paul at this time, but if I had been in Paul’s position, I would have longed to delay my farewell. I would long instead to say those happy words that Paul had told them as he left from his first visit to their city, “I will return to you again, if God wills” (Acts 18:21). This time, he knew it was not to be.

And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will see my face no more (Acts 20:25 NAS).

Paul then goes on to give advice and counsel to his friends. He warns them that after his departure “savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” 
To those who were his students in the school of Tyrannus, he said,

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood... And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified... In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:28-35 NAS).

More was said. They talked further of their time together and remembered some lessons that they had learned. Then the moment came – the moment that they had all tried to keep out of their minds the whole time.

When he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.  And they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving especially over the word which he had spoken, that they should see his face no more.  And they were accompanying him to the ship (Acts 20:36-38 NAS).

So it was that Paul left his friends. He boarded his ship and ran a “strait course” to the island of Cos, then to Rhodes, and onwards toward Jerusalem. Only our imagination can put us into Paul’s thoughts as he stood on the deck of the ship as it sailed from Miletus – his friends on the dock and the shore waving and yelling their last good-byes – and he, waving and perhaps shouting some farewells. Who among us would choose adventure at a time like this? Would we not all, if the choice were completely ours to make, stay and settle down with our friends?
This, I think, was the inner tension of Paul. Yet, he continued on. He did not know exactly what would happen to him in Jerusalem, only that “bonds and afflictions” awaited him. But then again; he was already bound. He was bound in Spirit, as he said (v.22).
Later on his way to Jerusalem, in Caesarea, where the prophet Agabus gave his prediction of the binding, the local residents as well as Paul’s own traveling companions begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.

“What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart,” Paul said.  “For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21:13 NAS).

Was Paul’s motivation, like many today, to live a life filled with adventures? I do not think so.  One soon tires of adventure. Were Paul’s motivation adventure, I think he would have ceased after only one journey. Yet he said that he had been on “frequent journeys,  in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers in the wilderness, dangers in the sea, dangers among false brethren; [he had] been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure (2 Corinthians 11:26-27 NAS).
What motivated Paul was that which he imparted to the people whom he got to know and call his friends. Even more so, what motivated Paul was the call of God.

This then, must also be the motivation for every servant of God. The opiate of adventure is romanticized by Hollywood films, yet truth be told, adventure for its own sake does not make for a life that is truly fulfilling. Like any obsession or addiction, it takes greater amounts to gain satisfaction, and the results are increasingly short-lived.
As enigmatic as it may sound and may seem, that which fulfills can only be a life bound in service. This was true in the life of Paul.

“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.  You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me” – the Apostle Paul (Philippians 2: 17-18).

Friday, January 20, 2012


      My sweet wife Vivian did not like my poem about logging on a windy day. She said that she related too much to the thoughts of the wife at home and remembers many evenings when we were first married that she had felt the same way when I was in the woods working late.
      Here is a happier story about the logging industry. This one is about an old sawmill here in our town of Spirit, Wisconsin. It is no longer in existence, but was until about 20 years ago. I was the last to work the carriage of the mill, and my cousin Gene was the last sawyer. The old sawyer in this story, however, is an older man who passed away many years ago. The photos are from some of the last logs that this old sawyer cut when we were cutting lumber one spring.
      I have put up a few posts in the past days, but Vivian and I leave for New Zealand today and I am not sure when I will be able to again. I have training seminars to do in Samoa, Vanuatu, and Fiji. I appreciate your prayers.
      We will be back for maple syrup season.


(I have always been intrigued by old machinery.  Perhaps it is partially because I grew up on a farm where we still used much of these machines of yester-year, and maybe it is partially because I can understand how they work.  There are no electroplated circuits involved and no memory chips.  Just gears and levers.  It is not easy for me to let this era die.)

The old sawmill stood, a bit stooped over, on the north bank of the Spirit River.  She had ripped her way through many giant pine and hemlock logs from the great forests of Northern Wisconsin.  It was these forests that built Chicago, and when the city burned late in the 19th century they built it again.

But that was when the sawmill was in her prime.  It was when every metal part glistened from constant use and from care.  It was when she watched as the logs came floating down the river next to where she sat, and she anticipated the fine lumber that would be made.  Men would gather every day to discuss the happenings of the new community while they tended and cared for her. They then start up her snorting engine to begin the day’s sawing.
It was a different age back then.  Today’s sawmills were of a new generation.  The new saws had computerized laser tracking and even x-ray scannars to get the most usable lumber out of each log.  The old sawmill admired them.  She once prided herself in her accuracy, but she knew that even at her best she would have been no match for the precision and speed of her younger sisters.
Now, many of the sawmill’s parts were worn from years of use.  Her once gleaming steel had been invaded by rust, like gray hair on a once youthful head.  The track that her log carriage rode on was not quite level, as the frost from many winters had shifted the ground under her.  The beams of the roof were sagging and the sawmill felt that she had lost her girlish charm.  The old sawmill stood abandoned for most of the year.
But every spring something happened.  The old sawmill by the river dreamed about it all winter as she lay sleeping under her deep white blanket of snow.  When the sun began to find his strength again and draw the sawmill’s blanket back, and when the river that had also been lying, sleeping silently all winter, began to gurgle and spill over its banks, she remembered the days of her youth.
The old sawmill once again began to hear the voices of men.  She would again feel their hands as they put grease into her creaking joints and shim up her track that had sagged a bit more this year.  She felt like a young girl again as these suitors came to tend her.  It was for these days she waited all year.

Although she had been sleeping, the men of the community had been busy all winter.  Most of the men were farmers now instead of lumberjacks.  Oh, there were some that were still loggers, but others had employment in town.  However, all of these men who came to tend her had had some time during the winter to fell a few chosen trees from their own forest and bring the logs to her rollway.  All the men needed lumber for some building project they had or for repairs around their farms.  The sawmill was old but she was still needed and loved.
There was one these men who knew her best.  He was the old head sawyer.  His age did not match hers but he, too, had seen his days of prime melt away like the snow.  He walked a bit hunched over and with careful and measured steps.  Some of the old sawyer’s fingers were missing from an agony of the past.  It still grieved the sawmill to remember the day.   The haste of youth sometimes causes carelessness.  The sawyer’s hand had come too close to her whirring teeth and a knot of wood had caused his hand to slip.  The sawmill also had been too hasty.  All she knew was to cut whatever was given to her, and when she felt his hand in her teeth it was already too late.
But the grievous deed seemed to have not diminished the sawyer’s love for her.  There are some days of hurt that come from any love relationship, and the sawyer had forgiven the sawmill.  Now, after their many years together, it was the head sawyer who knew just where the old sawmill needed a shim to level up her track.  It was he who knew exactly the right angle to run the file over her blade to bring the sharpness back to her teeth.  He seemed to hold no bitterness as he stroked the very teeth that had cut him.
The other men followed the head sawyer’s instructions.  They were younger and eager to get their lumber sawed so they could get on with their affairs, but she and the old sawyer could not be rushed.  Both of them lacked the precision of their movements of past years.  Now each motion had to be measured carefully.  Each cut had to be performed with deliberate care.  The old sawyer told the men how to prepare the sawmill for her task.
The old sawmill by the river felt like a queen as her subjects where tending to her every need.  She felt like a lover as she sensed their caressing hands upon her.  She felt like a young athlete whose trainers were getting her ready for a championship event.  She felt needed.
She was needed.  Perhaps not in the same way as she was in the past, but in many ways her role was even greater today.  Certainly, these men who had put their logs on her roleway had a need for the lumber that she would saw in the spring.  That need remained unchanged.  But she noticed a deeper need.
The community had changed.  Each of these men was busy all year with their own personal affairs.  They each had many responsibilities that occupied their time.  Each had, in many ways, become self-sufficient.  They had their own employment and their own resources.  Not all of these changes were bad, but she knew that one must never lose the sense of community.  The old sawmill happily began to see that same community spirit come to life again each year as the men came together to work with one another to cooperate on their common objective.
The antiquated sawmill had none of the automation of the newer generation of sawmills.  With her, the heavy logs had to be moved and positioned by hand.  The men grunted and sweated side by side as they tried to put a burdensome log in just the right position onto the carriage that moved the log past her teeth.  She giggled to herself as she saw their clumsy efforts.  They were not used to this type of work.  Sometimes what one man was doing on one end of the log was exactly countered by the man on the other end.  Then there was always two or three of the men present who seemed to think they could best help out by watching and yelling instructions.  The sawmill thought she heard the old sawyer chuckle, too.
Finally the log did come to rest in its place.  The dog clamps of her carriage came down to hold the log firmly so that it could be sawed.  Above the noise of her ripping blade the sawyer signaled instructions to each man, as each had a role in sawing this log into lumber.  The men were unskilled at the tasks and tools that their fathers knew well, but working together they finally were able to saw good boards from the trees they had brought to the sawmill during the winter.
A deep satisfaction came over the old sawmill as she saw these men work together.  She was more than a queen.  She was more than an athlete.  What she accomplished each spring was to remind each man that they needed one another.  She could see something come to life in them as well.  They could not exist isolated from one another and still live a contented life.
When the last log of the spring had been transformed into lumber the men shut off her engine and she lay there silent.  She was tired!  When she was younger, she felt she could work straight through the night.  But no more.  The men once again cared and tended her so she would sleep well.  They put grease in her old joints so the rust would not steal more of her movement during the year.  Then they loaded their fresh smelling boards onto their trucks and bid each other farewell.  The old sawyer was always the last to leave.  He made her as comfortable as he could before he left her to rest.
The muscles of the old sawmill were tired and she looked forward to a long sleep.  She began to close her eyes and grow drowsy.  She had relived her youth for a few short days and it was enough for another year.
The sawmill by the river knew she could not match the precision of her younger sisters with all of their advanced technology, but she felt as if they would never know the joy that she lives again every spring.   The sawmill had relived her youth but she had also brought to the men a reliving of an age of yesteryear, and they were made the richer for it.  She began to close her eyes until the following spring.  May all rest well.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This is only a story. No deeper layers of meaning or anything like that, but only a story in the form of a poem. However, I think that this is the first poem that I have ever written that I would call a tragic story. The poem began to take shape in my mind on one windy day when I actually was out in the woods logging. Honestly, when I started writing it, I did not have in my mind the story below, but as the poem came, it took on a characteristic of its own. This is what happens in any creative work, a phenomenon that I describe in my book, Reaching for Eternal Truths when I talk about the sovereignty of God and the free will of man.
            As tragic as the story in this poem is, it is a real danger. I have read that logging is the most dangerous of occupations; even more dangerous than mining. You will have to look it up to see if this is actually true. But whatever is the case, I have had at least three friends and high school chums that were killed in a manner that may not have been exactly like that described in this poem, but neither were they very dissimilar to this. May God be with them and their families.

The photo is of Levi, who worked with me while he was home on break this winter. I put him in here because I thought he struck a much more manly figure than me.

By Donald Rhody

The top limbs of the trees were whipping around
Like scandalous tongues when they are left unbound.
The tale they told was, “If you do not take care,
Danger is waiting for you high in the air.”

The wind had blown itself into a fury,
An impatient wind, a wind in a hurry.
If any tree had a weak branch or a top,
It would break in that wind and fatally drop.

The logger knew all that could happen that day,
But he had payments to make and bills to pay.
He kissed his young wife as he told her goodbye,
Trying hard to hide the concern in his eye.

He started his chainsaw, it was new that year.
With the noise of the saw he failed to hear
The roar of the wind and the snap of the limb;
But as it struck, he knew what happened to him.

He scarcely had time to make even a sound
Before his lifeless body fell to the ground.
The spot where he fell was his last earthly place –
The blowing snow melting on his still-warm face

Back at his home the supper was all prepared,
And the children all sat squirming in their chairs.
Their mom let them start, “Dad will soon be along.”
But her heart was telling her something was wrong.

As the children sat eating, she called his friend,
“He’s not home yet, and I’m afraid of this wind.”
The cold night was black and devoid of all light.
The friend feared the truth he would find in the night.

He drove his truck, and in the headlight’s dull glow,
He found his young friend lying still in the snow.
The flakes no longer melted on his friend’s face.
There was nothing now but depend on God’s grace.

“What will I ever tell his kids and his wife?”
“How will they bear this great tragedy of life?”
And there in the snow of his friend’s logging job,
He fell face down and uncontrollably sobbed.

Back home it was late; the kids were put to bed.
Though mom sensed the horrid truth, nothing was said.
She kissed their little heads and told them, “Sleep tight.”
Then waited the news coming later that night.

Monday, January 9, 2012


As Vivian and I near the end of the work that has brought us to many countries of the world and has allowed us to work with many dozens of churches, it has caused me to do a bit of reflection on what I have seen.
I have said many times that I have considered the opportunity to work with the church of Jesus Christ to be a great privilege. The church is, after all, the fullness of the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23), and in the book of Revelation, it is depicted as the bride of Christ.
For this reason, when we work with the church, we must realize that we are working with the beloved of Christ. If we should criticize the church, we must do so only with the highest motivations, so that our criticism brings healing instead of further division.
Therefore, when I make the following criticism, please know that I am doing so because I am concerned that, in many ways, we as a church have lost our direction. Instead of trying to pattern our individual churches based upon what we see in the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, we have looked to the success patterns of corporate America to try and build what will be perceived as “successful” churches in our society.
Success in our culture usually has to do with size and wealth. A successful company is one that has a large market share of their product, is a leader in innovation, and turns in a healthy return for their investors. It also helps the company’s image if they have a large and glitzy head office. Companies hire CEO’s that have proven that they are “company builders” and are able to turn a mediocre company into a market leader.
This, I am afraid, is often what we in our churches expect when we look to our pastors. We want a pastor who can take our church, which we see as struggling, and by using the world’s definition of success, transform it into a successful church. We are looking not so much for a pastor, but for a proven CEO for our church.
We have forgotten that the term pastor is really a shepherding term. The pastor is a shepherd. Of all of the images that Jesus used to depict His ministry, the most endearing is that of a shepherd.
This is the shepherd who knows His sheep (John 10:4); this is the shepherd who would risk his life to find the one sheep who is lost and in danger (Luke 15:4-7).
This is what Jesus was trying to impress upon Peter when He asked His disciple three times if Peter loved Him. Much has been said about the fact of the different Greek words for love that were used by Peter and by Jesus, but the greater lesson is that Jesus was teaching Peter that he was to tend and shepherd the sheep (meaning the early church, the followers of Jesus).
Many of our pastors in our churches today are expected to be great orators, great expositors of the Bible, and especially great entertainers. All of these can be positive things and some of them even necessary, but above all of this we must allow our pastors to tend the sheep and to care for those of his flock. I know that this is an old way of talking, but the truth of it has largely been lost.
Through these years of working with many churches in many countries, this has become one of my concerns. But I am also very optimistic, since I see many promises in the Bible concerning the church. I have written on all of these matters in my book, Portraits of the Church.
In some manner, we must regain the role of the pastor in our churches. I believe most pastors have felt called into the ministry because they have a genuine concern for people, but the pressures of expectations have caused many to instead focus on running a company called the local church, instead of being a shepherd of his flock.
Peter seems to have learned well the lesson that Jesus was teaching him. When  writing to the elders of the churches, the word that he used to describe their task was to “shepherd the flock of God” (1 Peter 5:2). His concern was not that the church should meet the world’s standards of success, but that the people of the church should be nurtured.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Our thermometer said 15 below this morning. That's Fahrenheit. For those of you in the rest of the world, that is about -26 degrees Celsius. That's a little bit cold, but a nice winter morning.


 by Donald Rhody

I walked, with my son, down a forested road.
We tramped together, ankles deep in snow.
He in one tire track, I in the other,
Two lines of footprints, side by side in two rows.

The air was cold with that chill that seems to come
On an express wind, straight from the pole.
Our breath was puffing out like a frosty steam.
We looked like two train engines out for a stroll.

But the sun was out and tried to fight the cold.
(Between the two, the cold had the advantage).
I lifted my face toward the sky
To gain what little warmth the sun could manage.

I felt my face cleansed by air so pure,
My lungs refreshed with a breath so clean –
It is air that sparkles; it is air that shines
With the light of the sun’s most vivid beam.

A few clouds drifted overhead,
Each one a great storehouse of snow.
Each waiting to let their gift fall
On the fields and forest below.

A few crystal flakes filtered on down
Through holes in these great bags of jewels.
As the flakes fell, they frolicked and played
Like little children let out of school.

I watched the snow settle onto the trees –
Those great gray pillars with heads held high.
Each treetop, with snow-laden branches,
Stitched fine gilded lacework in the sky.

I saw the green limbs of balsams and pines,
Each weighed down with their own load of snow,
Like miserly merchants weighed down with riches,
But refusing to let any coin go.

The intense blue of the heavens
The snow, so dazzling white it could blind –
The gray of the trees linking earth with the sky,
And the wealth-laden green of the pines –

These are the colors of winter;
Each one exquisite and fine.
On that cold winter day, we drank in the scene,
Each a flavor of our north country wine.

Some men refuse life’s harsher side,
And look for more temperate places,
Where the snow does not fall and the sun gives its heat,
And the air does not sting on their faces.

But what of life is left unknown and unseen
When one only makes comfort his goal?
One can never know beauty, never know joy,
If he chooses only what he can control.

Is not our life journey the same?
We can choose security and ease.
Or, we can pull on our boots and venture on out
To see what beauty there is to see.