I told people about it. Some recommended Verizon, but that is expensive. Others recommended Straight Talk, and these two I’ve heard recommended by truckers who have to drive all over the nation. I fixed the problem at the beginning of January for January, but it took four visits to the store for them to get it right, and I started February with Straight Talk.
I drove a long way on January 3, most of the last of it looking straight at a gorgeous full moon. Contrary to my fair-weather friends’ expectations, I did not turn into a werewolf. One friend kindly opines, ‘Not seeing werewolf as your best look’. I said, ‘I’d have more hair’, so which the friend responded, ‘I did think of that.’ But, I countered, ‘haircuts would be expensive’, to which she soothingly rejoined, ‘See, God has a plan.’
Another friend asked (responding to my assurances about not having turned into a werewolf), ‘How can you be sure? I hear such transformations may not be noticeable to the transformee!’ I replied coolly, ‘I don’t see any extra hair or longer teeth or a muzzle in the mirror, or longer-than-necessary hair.’
On Wednesday night, I testified based on the song, ‘He Hides My Soul’ (lyrics by Frances Crosby). I posted a link about the same time on my various Facebook pages with this song sung by an excellent choir. The song speaks of the ‘cleft in the rock’ primarily as a place of protection, and of course the Rock (Christ) does protect, but the original reference is God telling Moses to stay in a cleft in a rock on Mt Sinai while God causes his glory cloud (shekinah) to pass by. Moses got to Mt Sinai, and to this offer, because:
- he was hungry for God’s presence, wanted to be closer to God;
- he was angry with, but also interdecing for, the Israelites, willing to give his life for them even though they had done wrong and he hadn’t.
Then a blizzard hit, and afterward, while wind chill factors still hovered below zero Fahrenheit, I drove from upstate New York into western Massachusetts. The roads were clear, the snow lay thick on trees, hills and old house—incredibly beautiful. No wonder Norman Rockwell, Thomas Cole, Frederic Church and other painters got so much inspiration from the area. ‘The heavens declare God’s glory; the earth shows God’s skill.’
A Japanese friend said, ‘Japanese TV brought the heavy snow news in the northern part of America. There are many traffic accidents in the north of Japan, too, because of heavy snow.’ I told her, ‘I have been fascinated with Japan for a long time. I took a course in Japanese religious, philosophy, history and literature during my masters degree course. I remember a Japanese dinner from elementary school geography class. I read Miss One Thousand Spring Blossoms in high school or junior high. I saw Last Samurai and Memoirs of a Geisha. In the latter, I’m told they used Chinese actresses rather than Japanese because Japanese actresses had such a strong accent that general American audiences wouldn’t be able to understand what they said, but I’ve worked in a number of nations and a strong accent is not a barrier to understanding. I have been fascinated about the northern island of Japan, too.’
Another friend, commenting on snow in New England, said that there ‘they know how to keep the roads passagle even though heavy snow exists.’ I saw a MONSTER snow-plow truck bristling with at least three different plows on it. If I had a truck like that, I’d want to paint ‘Snow Boss’ on the side, but then I found out that name is already taken!
Since I finished last year and the New Testament in Modern English, translated by J.B. Phillips, at the same time, I started 2018 reading in an old pulpit edition NIV—the cover is so worn that I’ve had to cellotape it back on. Because it’s not a study edition, I haven’t done my main reading in it, but now I’ll read it and after I complete it, will leave it in one place instead of carrying it around—it’s too fragile to stand the constant hauling. I’m in Genesis now, and love God’s Word, the insights new readings bring.
By the end of January’s first week, I spoke on Moses’ Lessons—takeaways for our own lives we can learn from Moses’ experiences. So my text that day was apparently four BOOKS of the Bible (Exodus-Deuteronomy). Bible study requires both close looks at word meaning and broader sweeps that cross-link passages. So far, I’m trying to provide the latter when I speak to general congregations.