If You Look at it Right

I ain’t often right
but I’ve never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way
it does in the song
Once in a while
you get shown the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right

These words, penned by Robert Hunter in 1974 flood my mind this morning. It is 0430 in Kiglai, Rwanda. I am listing to The Grateful Dead perform Scarlet Begonias-Fire on the Mountain from their October 2, 1977 show at the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon. No, I was not at the show, but I did have the opportunity to see the Dead live a number of times in my youth. Thanks to the good folks at the Internet Archives, the show is preserved here for posterity. I have often reflected, as I think back on my life, about how I have been shown the light in very strange places. I suppose it really is all about the way in which I look. I now realize that I am just young enough to believe that the Light of Christ is shining through this amazing world, wonderful people, glorious landscapes, acts of creation and recreation, self-sacrifice, incredible beauty, and early morning rising.

God is good! And with Lou Gehrig, on this special morning I can make the statement, “…today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” And why do I make this statement? I will do my best to convey the answer to you.

I am a man who is loved by the Creator of the universe. Our Creator God has revealed the very essence of the nature of God’s own self in many ways to me. I recognize God’s working in my life, God’s will, God’s love, protection and purposes. While much remains a mystery to me, I will tell you that this morning, I can do nothing more than move forward in gratefulness and obedience to the call on my life. This call is one of service, investigation, commitment to truth, to justice, to bringing comfort and respect.

I am a man who is loved by others. I don’t understand it, but marvel at it. Sometimes I can barely accept that love, as I have continuously struggled with accepting and loving myself. Yet, I have a wife who loves me, and who has stuck by me for 30 years. This woman has been the model of care, service and love, not only for me, but for our children and for her community. I am so thankful for the gift that is Debbie. She has been disappointed and hurt by me many times, and she is still loving me and accepting me. She has made this long and challenging trip with me to Kenya and Rwanda. I am so pleased for her that she has fulfilled a life-long ambition to come to Africa and I am pleased that she is able to experience firsthand with me the joy and wonder that this continent holds.

I am a man who has children to be admired. My son Paul is here with us and I am so happy that he accompanied us on this trip. He is a fine man and I continually pray that God will bless him and keep him in God’s care daily. I pray that Paul might overcome the physical pain and disappointments of his past and be given the desires of his heart. And I give thanks for his love of his mother and his family. He has been a wonderful companion for Debbie on this trip.

I am a man who has children who miss him. Debbie called Ruth last night and we had a nice visit with her and the other girls. I am thankful that my children are safe and well cared for while we are on our trip. I miss my kids and look forward to being with them again soon.

I am a man who is blessed by his spiritual community. North Valley Friends Church is a community of Quaker ministers, making a difference in the world. I am so thankful for people who are seeking truth and love and justice together. No, the community is not perfect, but like family, to be loved and cherished!

I am a man who has meaningful, challenging and productive work to do. I have an employer that has permitted me to create, to learn and grow, to contribute and to support my family. For fifteen years I have worked for George Fox University and I am pleased to say that it has been a blessing for me to be employed here. We have had a number of changes in leadership at Fox since I arrived in the fall of 1994, yet we have maintained a commitment to our values and heritage which continues to serve us well. As a professor, I have been given the latitude and resources to dream, create, implement and amend programs that serve our students well. I have been encouraged in my service to the church, the community, to my profession and the world. The very fact that we are in Rwanda this morning is a testimony to the commitment of our university community to service.

I am a man who has colleagues that I admire and respect. I have departmental colleagues who work with one another, who care about students, who desire to do good work. I have colleagues who combine intelligence, creativity, humility and perseverance in the mission of delivering effective educational experiences for our students. I have witnessed, on this African trips, my colleagues’ abilities to be flexible and open in their approach to working with colleagues and participants in our workshops. We have dealt with a variety of challenging circumstances and in all cases, my colleagues have graciously risen to the occasion!

I have a dean that provides leadership that matters. It is such a blessing to me to have as our administrator someone who is trustworthy and committed to service. We are blessed to have had strong leadership in our school of education for a number of years. Linda has continued that fine tradition, providing for our School, the leadership needed at this particular time of our existence.

I am a man who is blessed through my recognition of beauty in this world. Whether it is Uncle Jerry playing tasty licks on Scarlet Begonias, or the sun setting on the Masai Mara; whether it is the delicate nature of the small flower on the Euphorbia shrubs which abound in Kigali or the remembrance of the evocative words of Chaim Potok in My Name is Asher Lev; I continue to be blessed daily by the beauty of creation.

Thank you God for this day. Help me to see the Light in all people, all places, all circumstances. Help me to be faithful to represent you and your love in this world. Help me to be courageous and just and creative in my dealings with others. Help me to reflect the light that comes forth from your heart for all today.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Africa, Faith, Family

4 Comments on “If You Look at it Right”

  1. Ralph Beebe Says:

    Great, Scot! I appreciate you.

    Ralph

  2. Nancy T. Says:

    This is great stuff, Scott. A hymn of gratitude.

  3. Hal Thomas Says:

    What a grace-filled set of affirmations Scott.

  4. Priscilla Says:

    Wonderful to hear from you. Livvy is here with us and we have enjoyed your girls.

    We prayed for you last night.


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