Thursday, August 25, 2016

JustTom here, Lord

Courage, my soul

Years ago, when the Navy had me in an MBA program at the University of Michigan, we lived in an old style housing project that doubtless dated from a WorldWar2 housing shortage. Our own apartment was private, we had an end unit with windows on three sides — somewhere around here is a picture of us at the picnic table we had out front, with Joe, Jody then, sitting on the table and me giving him a haircut — and out behind the rows of long project units (long buildings like “Drummond Park” and “Annie B. Sale” that we had here in Panama City to help accommodate the wartime population explosion) was a long, wide open grassy area where families picnicked and visited, and where there were always many children playing, and mothers could see and watch the children from the apartments, and it was safe. That seems long ago in earth years and human Time. 

It was a special Time of life, and one thing I especially remember is the ending, every part of life has an End Time, doesn’t it. We had PCS orders from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Yokosuka, Japan, which was to be a three-year tour of duty. It was spring 1963 and we had a limited Time of leave before reporting to San Francisco for our flight to Japan, and we wanted to make the most of the Time with family in Panama City. So we packed out early, before my university semester ended, and Linda, Malinda and Jody flew home to Panama City while I stayed on in the apartment for the last couple weeks of classes and finals.

During that Time, one of enormous loneliness for me, every evening I would walk out into the open area and watch as the sun set, dusk came on, and day settled into darkness. The end of our day in my Time, the beginning of the new day in Bible Time. Anyway, I found that it was the magic hour to be poetic, theological, and a philosopher. Sunset does that to lots of folks, and I think it must be that the day ending stirs emotional awareness of the passing of Time, and of its ending, and memories of what went before, of what used to be. 

My poetry was really bad, mawkish maudlin; but when one feels alone and searing loneliness, it doesn’t matter that the poetry is doggerel, the theology doubtful, and the philosophy rubbish.

Out on 7H porch with coffee and chocolate this morning I snapped what I thought would be a picture of the day’s beginning. With the iPhone camera on PANO, panorama, over my Bay, because that’s what I knew was there, I expected lighted condos on Thomas Drive, round past the tall flashing red light on the tower beyond Courtney Point where yesterday afternoon we watched CS Caprice (586x92) glide by before loading wood chips and on to Liverpool, 

across Shell Island, Davis Point, Redfish Point, the east end of StAndrewsBay, CoveCondo at Cherry Street and EastBeachDrive to downtown Panama City and on round to WBeachDrive and home at 7H. But what I got was darkness, the picture above. Time, maybe I needed, need, a bit more Time before the darkness starts to lift and lighten into dawn. I do know that dawn will come, the morning light appear, it will happen. If not by certainty, I know by faith.

At a clergy conference twenty-five or thirty years ago, we learned a spiritual hymn,

O courage, my soul, and let us journey on,
For tho’ the night is dark, it won’t be very long.
O thanks be to God, the morning light appears,
And the storm is passing over, Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
The storm is passing over,

JustTom here, Lord

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