Monday, May 19, 2014

Avalon Chronicles #29: "Life's Contrasts"

Avalon Chronicles #29: "Life's Contrasts"

by Allen Clark

     I attended my daughter Elizabeth's wedding in early May in Solothurn, Switzerland, a country of unparalled natural beauty. She married Patrick, a gentleman and Swiss citizen. We celebrated the days there on two leisurely boat rides, one on Lake Thun, adjacent to Interlaken, with snow-capped Swiss Alps looking down upon our tranquil waters. There were several social events with wedding guests from England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Lichtenstein, and of course, the U.S.. The family and friends of the groom welcomed the American visitors with warmth, kindness, and great generosity, emotions significantly in contrast to those evidenced in the stories I read upon my return to the real world in the newspapers whose absence from my thoughts was very pleasant during my days abroad. It was most peaceful and elevating to visit that neutral nation, bask in its sunlight, wind through hilly curves to remote mountain hideaways to dine on the staple cheeses, and to stop at riverside spots to experience the charm of its ancient cities and villages untouched in centuries by warfare.
     Now it is off to California for a series of opportunities to be a guest in Manteca and Lodi at ceremonies honoring our war dead. The wedding and these upcoming activities are great contrasts of life; Switzerland's peaceful mountain villages, historic walled towns, clean and clear rivers, gracious people and the somberness of our Memorial Day weekend when we recollect all the sad past times as we honor the great young Americans sacrificed so we and others might have tranquillity and peace in a strife-torn world. I will join the assemblages as we mourn the memory of our young men and women offered on the altars of freedom in faraway foreign lands.
     Upon my return to my homeland my thoughts dwelled upon the same problems and challenges prevalent prior to my pleasant experiences at the wedding; Benghazi and terrorists, deaths in Ukraine, Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haran, Iranian and North Korean sabre-rattling, Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. They are still there and I suppose always will be since they started in the Garden of Eden with disobedience to God and will continue until the final return of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, the Christ.
     The bottom line in the strategic sense is that there has been from time immemorial a focus by most on the created, ourselves, rather than the Creator, our God. C.S. Lewis in his Mere Christianity captured this eternal struggle we face as humans on this earth, contrasted by the peace and beauty of our earth created by God and the turmoil and tribulation perpetrated and practiced by us humans also created by God. Lewis wrote, "Men and women have always hoped that...(they) could set up on their own as if they have created themselves-be their own masters-invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history-money, poverty, ambition, wars, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery-the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."
     True happiness and peace for ourselves cannot be found outside God. For the world it cannot be found outside God. We, God's created, and recipients of my writings, cannot do much about all the interruptions to world peace, but we can seek and find our own personal peace. Stay tuned for my thoughts on how to attempt that for ourselves.

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