Miles of Smiles

I sit alone this morning, in the sun, with miles of smiles… I’ve led a life few know or could imagine. I ran the gamut of memories – from death-defying courageousness to the fonder moments of sledding, crabbing, and sailing off the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve ventured to places some only read about, such as Hong Kong and Korea, but I always returned to the comforts of my heart.

As age and experience equal wisdom, I find myself now complete. I can honestly say I know who I am today, but in the beginning, it was a “Rocky Horror Show.” I began as an educationally handicapped child who also suffered through my parent’s complexing divorce situation. Every day it seemed each of their tales led nowhere or even served a purpose. Then one day, they passed in grace, along with my predecessors. Could fate allow me to live a better life?

I often asked myself how many times will God give us a second chance? Some friends lived through heart attacks, and some should be dead from serious accidents. How often God picks us up and brushes us off, I don’t know, but I do know He protects us like no other insurance plan.

In three months, my high school class will celebrate our 50th-year reunion. Many will come to celebrate and some cannot, but the miles of smiles will include my love for each one. The comradery we share will live in infamy. As I read the list of classmate obituaries, I recognize they, too, touched my life. I pray for them as God, I’m sure, will take them home to be with Him one day. This is their second chance at life!

My miles of smiles over the years had a few frowns, but it was just a smile turned upside down. Today I look back and wish only one thing… I listened to God when He first whispered in my ear. I walked a lonely road, in 1985, in the afternoon’s sunset with my aspiring wife, and then she disappeared for thirty years. Second chances just don’t come around for everyone as I recognize in my classmates. We are not cats who land on our feet and have nine lives. But, those miles of smiles I missed with her, only enhances my gratitude for her now. God knows for sure how much meaning she gives to my life every morning.

The miles of smiles is our destiny to eternity for all of us. It’s the crosswalks we crossed in our youth as we sat under the moonlit night. It is the memories of those childhood times. How grateful I am to live long enough to appreciate those adolescent years!

I feel so complete in these last chapters of my life’s autobiography. I hold my wife’s hand, and we meander where time will never end. It’s the same place we shared when God introduced her love for me… miles of smiles ago, in the sand.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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“Unity in Diversity”

“Unity in diversity” is an old, prominent principle of many religions around the world.

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How about joining in on our conversation about Unity in Diversity? Click the link below to go to our new YouTube Channel, Blogging 2 Believers: https://youtu.be/d6Ls9UKhwCQ

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“‘A oneness of being’, namely reality is one, and God is the only true existence; all other beings are merely shadows, or reflections of God’s qualities.” ~ Philosopher Ibn al-‘Arabi (1165–1240)

The 5,000-year-old religion of Hinduism pronounces one unity among all of creation and a diversity in existence. Buddhists believe by honoring diversity and finding unity in it, this forms wisdom. Islam’s Quran upholds unity by encouraging respect and the dignity of all human beings–a moral consciousness of God.

As Christians, we gather to praise the son of God, Jesus Christ, as a brotherhood of believers bonded by a baptism of life. Grasping the complexity of this concept, we should realize the shade of your skin doesn’t matter. I may be light-skinned in the winter but in the summer it turns dark. You may be a practicing Catholic or Buddhist but who cares when we are one in God’s house.

You may remember the biblical stories of God bringing peace amongst the Jews and Gentiles. That was based on unity in diversity. He sent Paul to countries all over the world for twenty-five years. Because God proclaimed the Jews were His chosen people, the Gentiles became irate and slighted. Therefore, Paul planted God’s seeds to all nations:

We have a tendency to brand friendships by the length of their hair, the vehicle they drive in, the community in which they live, and the clothes they wear daily. This, too, is of no consequence. Why should we address such things of little importance for we, as a body of people is so much more in God’s eyes?

In the United States, the Pledge of Allegiance boasts it’s unity in diversity (one nation; under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all). We are a diverse mixture of many nationalities forming this great country. Unity? Some will dispute it because the political arena places a great divide between us, but nevertheless, we are one. It is what makes us stronger.

A man and woman, from very different backgrounds, join in marriage and develop a unity in diversity. They raise children forming the family unit. Though each personality is dissimilar, they should learn to love one another, live and work together in oneness. The family structure is a basic foundation of loving, unconditionally, in God’s divine grace.

I pray my thoughts may be heard – we are a family and world of God’s children. It is unfortunate many still reel from ramifications of previous generations – prejudices, hatred, and labeling our brothers and sisters. If we learned to remove the walls of division, the goodness in the world would have an everlasting effect. Brotherly love, my friends, is all it takes and forgiveness of those who trespassed our way of life. When you set an example, it brings others to eternal salvation. God needs leaders who gather together and heeds His words–unity in diversity.

Honor God, won’t you? The rewards are forthcoming. Christ was, and always will be Head of the Church. His words are anointed so let not the tongue be sworn to the sword. Christ is coming!

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Take a walk with God through one of His messenger’s life! Order your book today at any bookseller.

The Compass Heading

The Compass Heading cover

Occasionally, a real case of humanitarianism surfaces through the cracks of disbelief at Christmas. I verify this World War story surfaced through President Reagan in 1985, and all facts are verified as accurate. I would love to share it with you in this “Everything Christmas Blog.”

Enjoy the song, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”:

As WWI was winding down, Generals swore there’d never be another war truce at Christmas observed (such as the historical event of the Germans and Americans uniting on Christmas Day). Bloody beyond belief, “The Battle of the Bulge” brings home horrible memories… except for a chosen few.

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Battle of the Bulge

Snow was on the ground, and bitter temps plummeted on Christmas Eve. A wounded and lost soldier in the woods stumbled upon a cottage in Huertgen Forest, near the Belgian border. Inside the dimly lit cabin, a mother and her son heard a knock on the door. She was hoping it was her husband coming home for Christmas Eve dinner. Instead, the intruder was a lost American soldier, not even old enough to vote. Startled, Elizabeth carefully examined his condition. He begged for food and a moment to thaw. He was just a mere child shot by the Nazis.

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Huertgen Forest, near the Belgian border.

A little twelve-year-old Fritz sympathetically watched his mother care for the enemy, Ralph Blank, who could have easily killed them. Neither spoke the other’s language but conversed just the same. As she tended to his injuries, the best she could, another knock broke the silence. Hoping it might be the love of her life this time, Fritz ran to see. But the tone of the voice behind the door told his mom it wasn’t his father either.

Pushing Fritz away from the chill, four Germans coerced her into letting them inside the home. But before she opened the door, she had to be honest and tell them she had a request which might get her murdered. The German corporal responded, “It is the Holy Night, and there will be no shooting here.” They left their guns outside and were then welcomed in to have dinner with her other uninvited guest.

Two of the German soldiers were only sixteen-years-old, and the corporal was twenty-three years of age. One was an intern at med school, and he dressed the wounds of the young, bleeding American. With the help of some broken French, the German soldiers explained their positioning to Ralph. Elizabeth told Fritz to go get Hermann, the chicken, for this very rare occasion of friendship at wartime.

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So, picture this….. a little cabin, deep in the woods, buried in snow with five combatants. Also present was a distraught mother with a twelve-year-old son, and no husband to defend her! But the squeamish soldiers became comfortable sitting together around the fire.

Ralph told the German soldiers he was lost, pointing in the assumed direction. One soldier reached into his pocket and gave him a compass and a map. He told Ralph which direction to go to get back to his line. Then everyone gave thanks to God for this rare occasion.

At the end of the evening, everyone graciously thanked their host – a wonderful woman. She welcomed them regardless of their beliefs of war. She kindly fed them and sent them off. Shaking hands and wishing each other a Merry Christmas, all the soldiers were back to wartime. Just one quick hug and a salute, and they parted ways before they enemy caught them.

Fifty years passed and Fritz Vincken now lived in Honolulu, Hawaii. He tells he and his mother’s touching story to friends every holiday. But one year, an old vet in a nursing home in Frederick, Maryland described the very same incident. As fate revealed, the television show, Unsolved Mysteries, put this American soldier and German child together, once again, in 1995. Ralph Blank, still had the compass and map from the German soldier. They had lots to get caught up on! Ralph told Fritz, “Your mother saved my life.” This reunion was the high point of Fritz’s life.

The Compass Heading Ralph and Fritz reunion

Ralph Blank and Fritz Vincken reunion

Fritz passed away on December 8, 2002, almost 58 years to the day of the Christmas truce. He was forever grateful for his mother’s recognition. She so bravely deserved it. The lesson to learn from this touching true story is you’ll never know how, or when, your generosity will touch someone. Remember, we are all God’s children, no matter the language or circumstance.

The Compass Heading prayer

Be sure to join us again on Thursday, December 20th, for another Everything Christmas Blog!

www.danabicksauthor.com


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Mending

Mending cover

It’s the eve of another year past. Life changes and different anatomical pains arise. I made some new friends this year and reunited with some old acquaintances. There were some I wished well and sent them on their way. But, in a summation, I wish I knew where life would find me.

I’m not sad or alone, decrepit or incapacitated but instead, I feel young and vibrant; blessed with vitality and youthfulness. It makes me wonder, because, at my age, I shouldn’t be going ninety miles per hour. If God is making an example out of me, well… He’s doing a pretty good job! So it’s time to reflect on the past hurricanes ravaging my lingering memories. That’s all left to stand.

I ask God to lead me in an effort to comprehend life’s twists and turns. My future path is anyone’s guess, but I can say He’s made miracles happen which are out of my control. I have to decipher my own handwriting when He fills my head with messages. I only wish I could dial the heavens and share the joy with Mom and Dad.

Materialistically, a loss is a sign of weakness, but spiritually speaking, any catastrophe brings strength in times of adversity. Outside forces controlled my earlier years. But for the second half, I’ll return to the point God first touched me. I’m mending this section and my days left in it. I only ask of my Father to protect me. May joy accompany my life, and friendships blossom, yet praise the “love” who kept searching for me. Mending the past to the present is heaven-sent – this makes sense. I only wish I figured out the signs He was sending me thirty-four years ago for there’s no telling the direction my life would yield. Today, a gravitational pull beacons my spirit as God is now my priority.

I’m older tomorrow by one year, and I wonder how many more God will give me to enjoy? Though I lost my parents when I was young, He watches over my hurts and fills my soul with peace. But, how can “sorry” help if no one ever listened to my hurts? Only forgiveness sends messages to the deceased. To patch my broken years, I would have to fill the voids; however, there’s no home remaining, nor church which captivated my soul – just the first place I came in contact with the Almighty.

Mending a broken past with joyful present memories brings me a craving of jubilation. Jesus knows my heart.

Thank you, Lord, for my life!


EDITOR’S NOTE:

God bless you, my sweet husband! Your walk in life is the most inspiring I’ve ever witnessed. You are a joy and inspiration to our family and friends! Each day spent with you brings another smile and blessings bountiful. How can we ever thank you enough for “just being you”!

Thank you, God, for the glorious messenger you brought into all our lives!