The night is still and starkly cold. A crust of ice on the snow crunches underfoot as I walk through a quiet, frozen world. Leafless trees cast black shadows upon the ground as the silvery moonlight shines down upon them. Overhead, bluish-white stars glitter like pieces of ice. There is no wind and all is silent, yet alive with the sparkle of starsshine and the reflected glimmer of frost. I am alone in the hushed darkness; the only sound is the crunch of my footsteps in the snow.
The silence is broken by the hum of a jet plane as it streaks across the nighttime sky, its lights twinkling amid the stars. Somewhere overhead a satellite circles. We are witnessing inventions never imagined by our grandparents. So much change has taken place since I was a child. All through my childhood days and later, we never locked a door. In fact, I don’t think there was a door on our house that would lock. On summer nights, when the air was warm and steamy, old-fashioned screen doors held shut by a metal spring were the only things that stood between the outside world and us. The barn door, shop door and tool house door were secured on the outside by a wooden button.
We kept the cured hams, hanging beside the sides of bacon, in the unlocked smokehouse. Nothing was ever locked up, and we never had anything stolen. Now in some places it is necessary to install double locks, security locks, deadbolts, and peepholes to assure personal safety. There are bewildering changes. Corruption among elected officers is almost the accepted norm. I remember the awe and respect that we children had for our country’s leaders. The past presidents were honored and held up as examples of honesty and integrity. One of our favorite debates at grade school was, “Who was the greater president, Abraham Lincoln or George Washington?”
Ask schoolchildren today their opinion of current political figures and listen to their answers. It is a sad commentary on our times when the majority of our political leaders are looked upon with contempt. There have been exciting advances made in the field of medicine-limb reattachments, organ implants, sophisticated surgery and rewarding research that surges onward. Physicians have become so specialized that there is a different one for each part of the body. Old Dr. Smith delivered our babies, sewed up our cuts and dispensed medicine for everything from a stomachache to a heartache.
Some of the changes are more than scary. Rebellions, wars, uprisings and coups in other countries have become commonplace. Riots, crime, drugs, and the spreading plague of AIDS make us feel uneasy and afraid. Now the very real threat of terrorism and biological warfare sits on our doorstep, while the war in the Mideast escalates. Change has come so rapidly in the last decade that it is hard for many of us to cope with it. The most dangerous change of all has been in the moral tone of our nation. Sin seems to have become an outmoded word, with personal liberty becoming the theme song. Any kind of behavior is condoned, even accepted, by a society that can’t seem to discern right from wrong.
We murder millions of unborn babies, then cry loudly when a convicted murderer meets his just fate in a court of law. It doesn’t take a profound thinker (which I am not) to realize that we have our thinking turned around. This is not the godly foundation upon which our nation was founded, or the moral fiber that made us strong at one time. Why do we think that we can escape God’s judgments? The Bible plainly states, “For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” (Isaiah 60:12) There is reassurance in this nighttime sky. When God stretched out the north over the empty place, and hung the earth upon nothing; (Job 26:7) when He stretched out the heavens like a curtain and pinned the stars in place, so that the morning stars sang together — it has remained ever the same.
There is peace in the knowledge that the Word that spake the heavens and earth into existence is holding the same in place tonight. Nothing is out of control with God. My musings are brought up short by the creeping cold that invades my shoes and steals up the sleeves of my jacket. A sharp tang of wood smoke hangs in the winter air and reminds me that a nearby warm fire waits. I head for the house, a chalk and blackboard grandmother a little lost in a computer world. With all the modern devices and “enlightened” thinking that surrounds us, our hearts still long for the basics — warmth and food, love and home. And most essential of all, God’s love and approval in our lives.
Cousin Alyce Faye