When I recently viewed a CD of pictures saved from a trip to the northeast many years ago, the memories of places we saw, places we visited in the New England states, and Nova Scotia were fresh again as if happening yesterday. The images in my head could recall details not recorded or seen in the photo, and I relived the trip all over again.
Sometimes when I look back through the years, reflecting on times past I will choose to live in the moment even if short-lived and am thankful that the image, the memory and the moment can be remembered with such clarity. They are good and happy times I like to revisit via my memories and photo albums. Yet, we cannot constantly dwell on our past, only live in the present doing what is important today, and look towards tomorrow with a new anticipation.
Recently there have been new opportunities and areas of service in which God has given new direction for me and my husband in opportunities through our home church. One of those is with elderly people (older than us – :) ) patients, some who suffer with Alzheimer’s and Dementia in nursing homes, rehab centers and assisted living home centers where we have been given opportunities to visit, one on one, or doing chapel services for their center. But, more often it just means sitting down with one who is in a wheelchair, or sitting on the edge of their bed visiting, and sharing time with them, letting them reminisce (when they can remember) about their youth, their past occupation, or places lived. The window of opportunity for them to remember anything is short. For some, they cannot remember at all, and will repeat question after question to us, like asking us again our name and who we are. Their image or memory of things or people is not always clear, but we have made a connection and they are happy, even if it is for a little while. And for us? We walk away feeling blessed, our lives richer for having found meaning in knowing these people.
Looking towards our future? Opportunities will still come, for us all, as long as we have breath. I believe that. And, we hope that we will never suffer the way some have, or go through some of the things they have experienced. One can only take one day at a time, and pray and hope each day and every day in between the past and the future are directed by Him, and we are listening.
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)
Trees in transition,
leaves turning; autumn jewels
gold, red and amber
a profusion of color
bursts forth in rich foliage hues
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)
At least I am getting to know my way around Windows 8 on my new Dell desktop computer. It has a lot of cool stuff, a lot of apps I won’t probably use, more than I need, but a lot of things that will make my writing, and exploring more fun. I love the fact that it is WiFi compatible, equipped with twice the size of memory and hard disk my old desktop had and keeps up with the current new perks. Although the newer PCs have the ‘all in one’ with computer disk drives built into the monitor, I did choose to get a ‘tower’ again as I like having the disk drives separate from the monitor’s housing, and think it gives better performance and assurance to a longer life.
On my old (8 years old) Gateway computer I had those weird little square computer faces (‘Snap’ pages?) on the screen looking back at me with what looked like a wagging tongue hanging out of its mouth, dilated eyes, and measles, was slow, sluggish, and would sometimes just shut down on a whim, even with the highest internet speed. But, surprisingly, my old computer refuses to die or retire altogether, so has been demoted or relegated to a lower position of ‘rank’ and was moved to our basement where it once again is connected, bringing up the games much to my husband’s satisfaction, and even brings in the internet, although slower with a little USB WiFi adapter. It is now all his to maintain, revive or resuscitate when needed. :)
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)
Lord, you know my plight and plea
You hear my every cry
You know where I am weak
in walking the path that you lead,
the one I know I must follow
to seek after alone your will.
Help me overcome
my insecurities lest I fall
to temptations on all sides
Give me strength, give me courage
to win the battles that will come
against my unseen enemies.
If there be doubt and fear that gains
a foothold to my soul
help me vanquish with quick defeat
those things that lurk inside of me.
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)
Footnotes; My love for the book of Psalms in the Old Testament Bible written by David, King of Israel inspired the above poem. I love reading David’s writings, his Psalms of petition or prayers to God. He also wrote Psalms of Praise for the things God brought him through when he went through trying, difficult times. Even though there were many victories for David as he fought and killed the giant, Goliath, the Philistines, and won many battles of war for Israel he also dealt with insecurities, doubt, fear, guilt, and remorse for sins he committed against God and man. But, always mindful of the greatness of God and His power David glorified the Lord with his writings of Psalms and praise. And the victories for the nation of Israel and its people continued. When I visited Israel in 2001 and toured that country our group was taken to David’s tomb and God’s anointing was on that place. It was a powerful moment, wonderful trip and the Psalms are today one of my favorite books to read.
It came to my attention lately, quite by accident that I had a really messed up category listing with much or most of all my posts (poems, fiction and misc.) incorrectly categorized under, THE INFORMANT’S AGENDA although I did have all of those previous posts under their proper category, i.e. poetry, fiction, etc. as well. Just how this happened I’m not sure, but am certain I did not intentionally mark them all that way. :) I believe my ‘link category’ and my ‘category’ exchanged places somewhere, or I inadvertently created the beast myself by mistake. :) Regardless, I am now aware of the ‘category’ error on all those pasts posts and am correcting it as much as possible as I check each post in the past three years to ‘update’ all.
Because of that error when a reader would want to view the posts and chapters to my long novel length story, THE INFORMANT’S AGENDA by using the category listing on the left they would get all of those posts labeled incorrectly coming up, so I am sure that created confusion or frustration for one wanting to read current posts or chapters of that story. And on that story I did some revising, re-editing and re-organized the order of posted chapters. But, the easiest and best way to pull up the chapters on that story is to go up to the ‘menu’ selection at the top of the screen, and come down to each chapter one at a time to read or view where all chapters are current and properly displayed from chapters 1 to 24. A few of my misc. posts that were related to material used in my story chapters are also categorized with that link as they are bits and pieces used for a writing prompt or update sometime back. Anyway, I hope I have not confused anyone wanting to go back into my archives to look up a post (of poetry or any kind) or chapter to read.
To add to my problem I am dealing with a very old Gateway desktop about 8 years old. Remember those? :) Even with the highest internet speed my old desktop is sluggish, very slow at loading and wants to die in its sleep. :) So, even though I have a newer HP laptop I like using the big clunky desktops for most typing, editing and posting jobs as it is a more comfortable keyboard. Besides, my husband likes my laptop for his games. So, I will be on the hunt for a good deal on a new desktop for myself, equipped with the latest. :)
Thank you all for following, reading and commenting on my story, and reading my fiction, poetry and varied posts. It is all greatly appreciated.
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)
The Informant’s Agenda
Chapter XXIV (24)
Searing pain in my eyes from the explosion left me incapable of seeing anything or anyone beyond the smoke and debris. Yet, my feet were compelled to take one step at a time.
“The Lord is my shepherd…I shall not…want…” In spite of the oxygen mask I wore I could not contain the sobs that broke as I remembered each word, each verse of the 23rd Psalm, the one I learned as a child and recited to my Sunday school teacher.
My throat felt as if it had been scraped raw. It was difficult to swallow, but with each step feeling my way along I mentally recited it again as if standing before the class. “He makes me lie down in green pastures…” An image of green pastures on a Nebraska farm where cattle grazed contentedly came to mind. I coughed and felt the sticky bloody mucus make its way up to my lips.
“He leads me beside quiet waters.” There was the hiking trail my cousins and I took along the Blue River where the water narrowed in places and we walked across the river on rocks. The water was so still and transparent in places we could count the fish swimming downstream as we sat with our legs dangling over high boulders while fishing.
“He restoreth my soul.” Tears washed the sting from my eyes when I thought of the time I walked down to the altar in our Lutheran Church to pray and asked Jesus to be my ‘Shepherd.’ The pastor told us we were like His little lambs following the ‘Shepherd’.
“He guides me in the paths of righteousness.” He spoke about the ‘cost’ of what it meant to ‘follow.’ I knew my faith walk would not be an easy one as I entered college, and hung with kids that partied hard.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” No matter how many times I felt fear and anxiety while here in the former Soviet Union countries I told myself that He was with me wherever I went. And, yet I still went to sleep afraid and dreamed those dreams that came to me each night.
“Your rod and your staff; they comfort me.” Though, I kept my bible with me at all times, promising God to read some each night I was too exhausted much of the time from a day of archiving names, documenting records, and photographing cemeteries.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” All those times I shared meals with Irina, Vasily or ones served by Olga at her Inn I did not know if they were my ‘enemy’ or ‘friend.’ There were so many strange things that happened during these months that made no sense I continually wondered who it was spying on me.
“You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.” Lord, I don’t know if there is anything in my life that seems worthy to be anointed by you, but my cup certainly overflows right now with more than I can handle of bad luck, but I will trust you either way. I will believe there is going to be good that will come from this, as I follow after you, and dwell in your house, that secret place where you reside in my soul, but I pray that you do not let this stream of bad luck continue if I make it out of here alive.”
What felt like a nudge came from behind like the arm of someone pushing me. It thrust me upward, forward through a fissure that opened before me.
A rush of sweet, fresh air engulfed my senses. Hands lifted me, wrapping me in what felt like cool, soft sheets under and over my body, and I heard the sounds of sirens and screams everywhere, people yelling, “Over here!”
When I drifted off and quiet returned there was a sterile smell and the soft padding of feet, and hands adjusting tubes, IVs and monitors around me in a hospital.
My eyes stung from the effects of the gases emitted during the explosion, my skin still burned like that of a very bad sunburn, and my throat was painful and tender, but knew I was making progress. When I was released to go back to my hotel to rest up and recuperate I decided it was time to prepare for my return home to the states. In my heart I knew I was more than ready, anxious even, but I knew too there was still some last-minute things I needed to see to, or people at least I wanted to say ‘goodbye’ to.
Irina came to visit me more than once to give me news and updates on the investigation of the explosion. And also to inform me that Vasily and the superintendent had both died of injuries sustained in the explosion.
To be continued…
Joyce E. Johnson (2014)