Monday was good,
Or better still,
Monday was better;
In actual fact,
Monday was best;
What about you,
And you, Wednesday?
And you, Thursday?
What about you Friday?
And you Saturday?
And you Sunday?
Will you be better?
You should be
The best of the best.
Thank you so much,
For your kind words
They have really
Lifted my spirits;
I was really down;
All hope was lost;
And I saw no headway;
About to give up,
When I got your
Very lovely words
And saw my spirits
Lifted so high.
Many thanks indeed!
You don’t know
What you’ve done.
So much, indeed,
You’ve done for me.
It’s bound to be utterly delicious “, he said, “cooks are from Qatar, no joke.”
I was waiting for my turn sitting in a corner with my head buried in the newspaper when this remark made me look up; he was cutting hairs of an elderly half-bald man while talking to another old guy sitting at the other end of the pew, almost on the edge, with his head tilted to the left like he was really enjoying either the talk or the wait, not that he had that much time on his plate at this age but he wouldn’t have any choice, I thought.
Ayub is talkative and it works out well for his profession as a barber. You could spend hours listening to his narratives and not get bored.
“Only thing is, that I am not invited”, he continues, “and he is”, he adds further pointing to the soda stall next to his shop.
“This is funny because I was the one who introduced them, and now they seem to be going at it without me”, he said with a scoff followed by a grin, and then a self-assuring smile which remained plastered to his face for few more minutes until he started to speak again, “Have you ever had such a relishing dish?”, asked he to the other old man sitting at the corner of the bench.
Man shook his head.
At this point Ayub picks up a different pair of scissors and steps out for a few seconds, looks here and there on the road and then stares at the hardware store across the road from his shop.
“They are going too”, he said as he started trimming moustaches of the man in the chair, “You should know the recipe is pretty special and intriguing, let me tell you.”
He goes on without waiting for any response, “First chicken will be washed in detergent powder for an hour..”, I tilted my head, “..then it will be dried out and immersed in boiling kerosene.”
I was trying to find any hint of jest on his face but it looked sincere as he continued telling about the recipe.
“Once fried in kerosene, four bags of chewing-tobacco will be poured into it and then it will be mixed and mashed into keema.”
And he remarked, “Who would not want to be invited to a party where one will be served with such delicious chicken-keema!”
I continued staring at his face in awe and amusement. If he was laughing in the inside, he certainly was doing a great job hiding the expressions from showing up on his face and in his sad but twinkling eyes.
“That is what takes him through the day.. he keeps amusing himself and everyone around him”, I thought to myself.
I was interrupted by a nonchalant voice, “You’re next! Please come”, it was Ayub, smiling at me as I rose and went to sit in the chair.
November 11, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, aka World War 1. You and I know it better as Veteran’s Day.
Veteran’s Day exists on November 11 because of Armistice Day in 1918. The “war to end all wars,” as it was then called, didn’t accomplish the task of ending wars.
In fact, many who have studied WW1 conclude that the terms of Germany’s surrender planted the seeds for the next, and even larger, conflict two decades later.
Be that as it may, it is proper and right to remember the First World War in all its history and the sacrifices it entailed.
How Did the Great War Happen?
The incident which sparked the conflict was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in July of 1914. Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire and he was shot to death by a Serbian nationalist.
This swiftly developed politically until Austria-Hungary sent untenable demands to Serbia as a response to the killing of the Archduke. Austria-Hungary was supported by German Kaiser Wilhelm’s forces, while Serbia was backed by Russia.
With assurance from Wilhelm that they would support Austria-Hungary with their military might, they declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.
Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.
The “allies” formed the group headed by Russia at the time. The “central powers,” of Germany and Austria-Hungary were soon joined by the Ottoman Empire and these formed the opposing nations for the bulk of the war.
Fighting In The Trenches
A defeat of German forces at the First Battle of the Marne in Western Europe began the bloody campaign of ‘trench warfare’ which decimated forces on both sides. The Germans had hoped for a quick victory in that battle which took place only 30 miles from Paris.
However, French and British forces pushed the German Army back until the lines stabilized north of the Aisne River in France.
The defeat meant the end of German plans for a quick victory in France. Both sides dug into trenches, and the Western Front was the setting for a hellish war of attrition that would last more than three years.
Fighting in the trenches during WW1 was a hellish exercise. Combatants on both sides suffered weeks of exposure to all the elements, and a new disease called ‘trench foot’ inflicted thousands.
Trench foot, or immersion foot syndrome, is a serious condition that results from your feet being wet for too long. The condition first became known during World War I, when soldiers got trench foot from fighting in cold, wet conditions in trenches without the extra socks or boots to help keep their feet dry. Trench foot killed an estimated 2,000 American and 75,000 British soldiers during WWI.
The trench-warfare casualties went beyond disease alone. The long battles left mountains of dead soldiers from both sides.
Particularly long and costly battles in this campaign were fought at Verdun (February-December 1916) and the Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916). German and French troops suffered close to a million casualties in the Battle of Verdun alone.
When I first read about the length of the Battle of Verdun I was stunned that it lasted almost a full year! It is difficult to even imagine the level of carnage and suffering produced by just this one battle of the unprecedented Great War.
The Dawn of Modern Warfare
Much of what we now take for granted as part of war made the first appearances in WW1. For example, the fearsome flamethrower made its debut during the war.
Tanks were first used during the battles of the Great War. Here was an armored juggernaut that could move rapidly and rain explosive devastation upon the enemy.
The first combat using airplanes was seen on the European battlefields of WW1. Bombs were dropped by hand on targets, while bullets were fired by rifles from the cockpits of biplanes and triplanes.
With the advent of air power also came the first appearance of aircraft carriers at sea. These floating platforms eventually replaced the battleship and remain vital even today.
Chemical warfare was introduced and gas masks were first used to counter it during the fighting. Terrible concoctions such as mustard gas inflected horrible, lingering death throughout the war.
America Breaks the Stalemate
Americans were uninterested in participating in WW1 under Woodrow Wilson’s isolationst policies. The official American entry did not occur until April 2, 1918 after multiple sinkings of American ships by Germany.
Though the war had been raging for almost four years, the conflict was basically a stalemate until the United States joined the fray. Russia had already withdrawn because of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and signed a peace agreement with Germany.
American military forces filled the void left by Russia, and the allies began making swift gains and pushing the enemy back in all areas. By the fall of 2018, most of Germany’s allies in the “central forces” were ready to give up.
The Turks from the crumbling Ottoman Empire signed a peace treaty with the Allies in October, followed on November 4 by the remains of Austria-Hungary. Finally the Germans threw in the towel and the hostilities ended with the signing of the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
The Treaty of Versailles
The official end of WW1 was with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Germany was allowed almost no voice in the negotiation of the treaty, and was severely punished for its part in the war.
The boundaries of Germany were redrawn and they were assigned to pay war reparations to the Allies. They were also effectively disarmed by being restricted to a small army and only able to possess certain types of weapons.
Another result of the Treaty was the creation of a new League of Nations, which Germany was prohibited from joining until 1926. These and other crippling financial penalties were placed on Germany
The German government signed the treaty under protest. Right-wing German parties attacked it as a betrayal, and terrorists assassinated several politicians whom they considered responsible.
Moreover, the Treaty itself was not approved buy the U.S. Senate as they believed its restrictions were overly harsh. Indeed, Versailles created a growing resentment within Germany which allowed the initial rise of Hitler to the Chancellory in 1933, and WWII six years later.
Why It Matters to Remember
There were more than 16 million casualties during WWI. Destruction of such magnitude demands that we understand what went wrong and how to avoid this abomination.
The Great War has many important lessons for us 100 years later. Lessons we must continue to learn in each generation if we are not to repeat the horrors of that age.
Lessons about the inherent error and immorality of empires. Empires become infected with expansion by force, and wars are then inevitable.
Lessons about how to treat a defeated foe. The rise of National Socialism in Germany might likely have not come about if the victors would not have sought revenge.
I pray that we have learned enough in the past century to remain free and peacefully deal with those who oppose liberty. However, the final lesson among many of WWI was that we must always be prepared for those who will bring war to us, because it really wasn’t “the war to end all wars.”
So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13 [ESV]
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
Top Image courtesy of Rudiger Stehn’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Rudiger Stehn’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Charles W. Bailey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Reeve 10795’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Chris Goldberg’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
If you aren’t exercising, meditating, doing the things you truly enjoy and love, connecting with heart friends, getting quality sleep, eating healthy, getting enough fresh air and sunlight, following your soul’s calling, or whatever else you KNOW deep down is where you need to invest your energy…
Don’t say, “I don’t have enough time.”
Say, “It isn’t a priority”.
This can be a wake up call. An opportunity to confront your excuses, your dodginess, your collosal inertia, postponing and lethargy. And then ask yourself:
What REALLY IS my priority?
What REALLY IS life giving and expanding and accelerating and amplifying and maximizing – for ME!
And then: Decide!
Don’t say, “I don’t have enough time.”
Say, “It isn’t a priority”.
Decide: What IS my focus, my most radiant and alive intention, my highest priority?
The clarity will grow brighter and brighter and vaporize generations of stagnant trash back to the light and upgrade your DNA and return you right back to the center of your flow, which leads directly and unhesitatingly to the ocean of beingness, bliss and full spectrum aliveness.
Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Have you ever experienced that magical moment when you stand back in awe of what just happened; how people are interconnected in really special ways. and when the connection is revealed, you simply say, “That was God.”
The Missionaries: A new family sat behind us at church one Sunday. I turned around to shake their hands and asked the usually questions, “Where are you from? How long have you lived here?” etc. The family was on their last leg of gathering financial support for their first missionary term in Alaska. As the conversation continued, it was discovered that D had been a student at the school where my husband did his student teaching many many years ago. Here we were sitting in a church in Illinois, speaking with a family from southern Indiana. There was a connection, a very unexpected connection. Our families became friends, and it was through this friendship that our passion for missions grew. I was priviledged to spend time with this family once they were on the mission field in Fort Yukon, Alaska. That experience opened my eyes to so many things; a different culture, true dependence on God for provision, and what it looked like to love God so much that you want to share that love with others. I believe God put my family and theirs in the exact precise place at that exact precise moment in time. God is good like that. As a result, our friendship has continued, our interests in missions has grown, and we have been privledged to go on missions trips to Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The Amadinda: My husband and I met in college on the football field. We were both percussionists in the marching band; my husband a percussion performance major and me, a percussionist wanta be taking marching band as an elective. H’s percussion teacher built amadindas; a melodic percussion instrument somewhat like a marimba or xylophone. Fast forward 39 years. After many years of being a secondary/high school band director, H changed his teaching emphasis and started teaching instrumental music to 3rd-5th graders using the El Sistema philosophy of teaching music and character education. He commented to me that he would like to have an amadinda much like ones that his college professor made. A week later my percussion teacher from high school posted on facebook that he was downsizing his studio and had an amadinda for sale. I couldn’t believe it. We inquired as to the specifics of the amadinda and discovered this amadinda was made by H’s professor. My teacher and H’s teacher were colleagues and friends. Well, of course we purchased the amadinda, and it is being used to help young children develop a love of music. God’s hand was definitely in the timing and connections.
The Quiltmaker: A friend of mine, A, introduced me to quilting. She did beautiful work and encouraged me to try my hand at this art form. I am a seamstress and quilting seemed like a logical next step. The piecing was not difficult, but the stitching was a little trickier for me. I practiced and practiced until my stitches were even and small. As time went on, quilting practices started to change from hand quilting to machine quilting. I viewed machine quilting as not really quilting. As far as I was concerned, it was cheating until my arthritis started progressing to the point it was difficult to hand quilt anything. So, reluctantly I switched to machine quilting on my little sewing machine. If you have ever tried quilting a queen size quilt on a regular sewing machine, you can appreciate the diffuculty. For years I fought the notion of purchasing an actual quilting sewing machine. Then another friend of mine L became a ‘spokesperson’ for Handiquilter. L did beautiful work as well and spoke so highly of the HQ machines. I started investigating which machine I wanted and if the price fit in my budget. While visiting a local tourist attraction last Christmas, H and I ventured into a store called “The Quilt Shop”. We started chatting with the owner, and I shared some of my frustrations trying to locate a HQ quilting machine in the area. There was another dealer, but they were not able to help me with my purchase. S helped me select the machine I wanted, placed the order for me, and then when the machine came, she came out to the house to train me on the machine. Talk about service. God’s timing is always perfect.
I share each of these vignettes, not as profound philosophy or religous truth, but rather as an encouragement to look at the moments of your week, day, month, or life as pieces put together by God. Your experiences with people and events are masterfully linked together like the pieces of a fine quilt or the notes of a symphony.
Do you have a “that was God” story to share? Please add your story in the comment section.
What I am telling you
Is coming from my heart;
To those of you who
Have ever put a smile
On my face
I thank you from my heart;
You are a treasure to me;
Some people delight
In putting tears
In the eyes of others;
You put smiles
On my face;
You can see what you mean
I am grateful;
And pray for you;
May the God who blessed you
With a kind heart,
Shower you with the things
You need to live a sweet life!
This is straight from my heart.