ANNIVERSARY: HOPE TOGETHER

Today is our 32nd wedding anniversary. No couple spends this many years together without experiencing lows as well as highs.

As I think of our 25th anniversary, I remember that’s the one that we celebrated apart. My spouse was hours away in cancer treatment while I was home and at work. The memory of wedding vows related to “in sickness and in health” had real meaning that year.

Today we’re celebrating together, and we appreciate this circumstance more because of our past experiences. Today brings a reminder of blessings we should not take for granted.

We are both cancer survivors, so I remember another low 10 years ago. We went through it and emerged stronger. Our Christian faith was the “glue” that held us together in dark days of not knowing the outcome of surgery, 5 years of exams and tests, and temptation to yield to fear before a pronouncement of “cancer-free.”

I appreciate my spouse more than I show. I am thankful for marital blessings that have added a beauty and richness to my life.

Today another anniversary is here. I remember those in our past, and I am hopeful for those in our future.

I’m glad to say we’re still together in this marriage. We still believe in our vow of “till death do us part,” and our God still fills us with hope that lasts.

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it….” (Song of Solomon 8:6,7)

“Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife  even as himself and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)

“Finally, be you all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love… be courteous.” (1 Peter 3:8)

EMMETT TILL: HOPE BY CARING & REMEMBERING

In August 1955 a horrendous crime was committed when a 14 year old boy, Emmett Till, was brutally murdered in Mississippi. I was only a baby at the time of his death, but I remember when I later learned about it and could barely believe such evil had happened. Even today — decades later — I choose to refrain from writing about his death and the real sorrow it evokes and will focus instead on the memorial sign and the hope associated with it.

According to Tara Law’s recent article in “Time” magazine about the  Emmett Till memorial, here is where it stands so to speak….

“A repeatedly-vandalized sign remembering the death Emmett TiIll, a 14-year-old boy whose August 1955 murder in Mississippi called attention to the epidemic of racist violence against African Americans, will be replaced with a bulletproof sign, the Emmett Till Memorial Commission has said.

The sign, which has been replaced three times since it was first erected in 2007, will be replaced with a metal marker weighing between 500 and 600 pounds, Patrick Weems, the commission’s executive director, tells TIME.

Vandals have repeatedly attacked the sign and previous markers. In a little over a decade, the signs have been tossed in a river, splattered with acid, shot up, defaced with KKK graffiti and stolen, according to the commission.

What gives us hope is that the country cares,’ Weems says. ‘Our county is one of the poorest in the nation. These signs have been put up with private funds from the community…. We have moral responsibility to make sure that the sign keeps getting put back up,’ he said.” (Tara Law)

Tara Law may be contacted at tara.law@time.com.

Donations may be made to Emmett Till Memorial Commission (a 501C3 organization).

“But the one who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11)

“If someone says,’I love God’ and hates his brother, he is a liar for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen, and this commandment we have from Him that the one who loves God should love his brother also.” (1 John 4:20, 21)

ANGELS IN ORANGE: HOPE TO SAVE LIVES

Someone giving of oneself to help another in need shows a better part of humanity. I recently learned about some volunteers called “angels in orange” that show love, offer hope, and express kindness by their actions. United Hazallah in Israel is an organization that provides hope both for those needing emergency medical assistance and to those looking for ways to help meet such medical needs. Their unusual methods inspire this hope and result in extraordinary success.

To increase survival chances after an emergency happens, medical treatment must be quick. With uniquely designed ambucycles (specially equipped motorcycle ambulances), United Hatzalah’s volunteer medics perform fast and free care to thousands. Their work is impressive and brings hope.

“United Hatzalah of Israel is the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. United Hatzalah’s service is available to all people regardless of race, religion, or national origin. United Hatzalah has more than 5,000 volunteers around the country, available around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With the help of our unique GPS technology and our iconic ambucycles, our average response time is less than 3 minutes across the country and 90 seconds in metropolitan areas. Our mission is to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies as soon as possible and provide the patient with professional and appropriate medical aid until an ambulance arrives, resulting in many more lives saved.” (Israelrescue.org)

I am thankful this worthwhile work is multiplying, and the more work there is then there’s more hope for needed emergency care. Now in addition to United Hatzalah of Israel,  there’s Friends of United Hatzalah in the USA; British Friends of United Hatzalah in the UK; Ihoud Hatzala France in France; and United Hatzalah Canada in Canada.

United Hatzalah is a fine organization that welcomes your request for the latest annual report, which may be obtained from Friends of United Hatzalah, 208 East 51st Street, Suite 303, New York, NY 10022 or from the New York State Attorney General’s Charities Bureau at Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, 15th Floor, New York, New York 10005.

Check out this organization and remember their amazing work when you’re ready to make a donation. Go to www.israelrescue.org for more info.

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
(1 John 3:17, 18)

 

BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE: SWEET HOPE

Did somebody say CHOCOLATE???

It seems that University College London (UCL) has researched the relationship of chocolate and depression. Their study indicates that those who eat dark chocolate are less likely to be depressed.

If you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of research in chocolate over the years. Personally I would welcome the opportunity to participate in a chocolate study. I want to decrease my risk of depression, and I prefer chocolate over almost anything else!

Knowing there may be a real health benefit just sweetens the taste of dark chocolate on my taste buds.

Will I go so far as to say the study gives me hope? If I enjoy something so much AND it’s good for me, then it may be easier to be hopeful. Especially when it reminds me of an even greater hope (more on that later).

The UCL team in the United Kingdom worked with scientists in Calgary and Alberta, Canada. The UCL press release headlined, “People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed.” It was a proclamation that blessed my chocolate-loving palate! See the scientists’ results that were published in the journal,  “Depression & Anxiety.”

Dr. Sarah Jackson of UCL explained that more work may be needed to better understand and determine the “type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression prevention and management.”

Dr. Jackson, I VOLUNTEER for future studies (all in the name of science of course)! To all the researchers, thanks for the hope!

As I think… desire (… crave?) chocolate I remember the goodness of God. He loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life, and He deserves my desiring Him with all that I am.

Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

Now there’s sweet hope that’s even better than chocolate!