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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Back in the Saddle

This morning, I was awakened to the gentle nudge of my bride, the gleeful tones of my children playing, and the smell of fresh-brewed chicory coffee... it's been a good morning!

I got up and walked into the kitchen to receive a kiss from Penny, and hugs from the kids, and I found there at my chair a gift they had all prepared for Daddy while I was on the road from Sunday evening 'till yesterday morning.  Hanging over the back of my chair, was a beautiful pair of US Cavalry Saddlebags, circa 1915-ish, from the US 109th, which have miraculously lived out the last near-century in someone's barn in relatively perfect aged condition!  Inside of each saddle bag, was a picture of me with each of my children, in frames they painted themselves, and on top, slid gently beneath one of the straps, was a note from my bride... now that's somethin' to wake up to: old leather & a love note from my bride, and presents from my children!  And lest I fail to mention it, a necklace my daughter made for me (and yes, I'm wearing it right along with my Barbie band-aid!)  It was enough to get this old Texan emotional.

As I left this morning, then, I packed my saddle bags with the books, and needed accoutrements, of the day, and wondered how many times they had been packed by their original GI in the old US 109th.  I thought about the fact that so often the old things just seem to work better than the new things.  How an old wind up swiss watch will tend to keep perfect time, how real books don't "crash" and get lost on a computer's hard-drive when a virus hits (if you're not a mac user of course), and how almost 100 year old leather, properly cared for, is immediately ready to get right back in the saddle again... only this time carrying the Bible of a simple clergyman in his Jeep.

This morning's reading in the Scriptures was, in part, about the days of Moses, how old he was when he got his 'big assignment' and so forth.  I guess its impossible to tell whether we're at the beginning of our life's 'big assignment', at the end of it, or even in the middle, but I know this thing for certain, that when I slung my saddle bags over my shoulder, I was glad they had been tested, I was honored to bring them back into service, and their beauty is in the scars earned from many a trail ridden to guard the freedom my children now enjoy.

Perhaps as good leather grows better with good aging, so my soul grows closer to God with years along the journey... and in the end, it's simply good to be in the saddle, on the trail of the Almighty, and packed well for duty.

May God go before us all on the journey he has set before us!

Pax Christi!