Choosing the road to life and wellness

This scripture from the Bible book Matthew reminds me of the famous poem by Robert Frost. The late poet Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry; his work is among the most widely read and often quoted poetry to this day. Listen to it here if you don’t remember it.

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14, ESV
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Road Not Taken

This scripture from the Bible book Matthew reminds me of the famous poem by Robert Frost. The late poet Robert Frost won four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry; his work is among the most widely read and often quoted poetry to this day. Listen to it here if you don’t remember it.

“The Road Not Taken” was originally published in The Atlantic in 1915 along with two other poems from Frost. It is now widely considered to be one of the most popular works of American literature.

“Its signature phrases have become so ubiquitous, so much a part of everything from coffee mugs to refrigerator magnets to graduation speeches, that it’s almost possible to forget the poem is actually a poem. “The Road Not Taken” has been used in advertisements for Mentos, Nicorette, the multibillion-dollar insurance company AIG, and the job-search Web site Monster.com, which deployed the poem during Super Bowl XXXIV to great success.”

What does the poem mean?

The poem’s meaning has been extensively dissected, discussed, and debated; most assign a deep meaning about life, choices, regrets, what-ifs, etc.

(This and several others in this post are affiliate links, meaning I earn a commission to fund this blog if you make a purchase through it.)

So I was surprised to read that Frost himself didn’t take the poem nearly as seriously as everyone else has. He claimed that he wrote it as a joke for a friend.

At poetryfoundation.org , Katherine Robinson wrote,

“Soon after writing the poem in 1915, Frost griped to Edward Thomas that he had read the poem to an audience of college students and that it had been “taken pretty seriously … despite doing my best to make it obvious by my manner that I was fooling. … Mea culpa.” However, Frost liked to quip, “I’m never more serious than when joking.”

As his joke unfolds, Frost creates a multiplicity of meanings, never quite allowing one to supplant the other. When Frost sent the poem to Thomas, Thomas initially failed to realize that the poem was (mockingly) about him. Instead, he believed it was a serious reflection on the need for decisive action. (He would not be alone in that assessment.) “

What did Jesus mean in Matthew 7?

This scripture is part of the Sermon on the Mount attributed to Jesus (I’ve written other posts about these verses from Matthew chapters 5-7.) It also is widely known and quoted, as well as other verses like the Golden Rule, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Beatitudes.

The overall message of the Sermon is anything but a joke; Jesus makes bold and daring statements in this passage, which explains why it is so widely quoted and taught on. One famous preacher, Oswald Chambers used it often enough that his wife included several selections when she published a collection of his sermons as a daily devotional know as My Utmost for Hhttp://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-7879000-13261435?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.barnesandnoble.com%2Fw%2Fmy-utmost-for-his-highest-gift-edition-oswald-chambers%2F1100998706%3Fean%3D9781572933941&cjsku=9781572933941is Highest.

In a devotional titled “All Noble Things are Difficult” for July 7th, he wrote

“The Christian life is gloriously difficult, but the difficulty of it does not make us faint and cave in, it rouses us up to overcome.

God’s grace turns out men and women with a strong family likeness to Jesus Christ, not milksops.”

It is always necessary to make an effort to be noble.”

Oswald Chambers

Milksops. That’s not a word we hear often; I looked it up and it means exactly what it sounds like. What happens when you dip bread into milk? It gets soggy and falls apart. So a milksop is ” a person who is indecisive and lacks courage.

Choices, choices, choices

Despite Frost’s assertion that his poem was a joke, multiple commentaries dissect it extensively and assign all kinds of meaning to it, suggesting that we do believe that our choices matter in life, whether relationships, finances, education, or health.

Doctors and other health professionals now believe that lifestyle is one of the chief determinants of health and emphasize preventing and even treating illness with nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, sleep, healthy habits, and stress management.

Consider the Foundation

Whether you’re building a house, a career, a family, or your health, what you build on matters too. Jesus concluded his sermon with a building lesson.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 

 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 

 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:24-27, ESV

Reading these verses reminds me of the rain storms we endured in Oklahoma this past spring leading to extensive flooding causing loss of homes and businesses; other parts of the country suffered the same, and now we’re watching coastal areas deal with devastating hurricanes. We’re pretty helpless to defend our property against the ravages of nature. That doesn’t have to be the case with our health if we build well. To paraphrase Oswald Chambers, “It is necessary to make an effort to be healthy.”

The Legacy of Oswald and Biddy Chambers

Here’s the story of Oswald Chambers and his wife Biddy. After his death, she collected writings from his lectures and talks into books and the well known devotional mentioned above. In the introduction she wrote,

it is sent out with the prayer that day by day the messages may continue to bring the life and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

 

Biddy Chambers

exploring faith, hope, and love

Thanks for joining me to explore poetry and scripture; my hope is that this prompts you to further explore on your own. Here are some other posts from this series

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

Opportunities to do good Living and giving lavishly

Why pray The Lord’s Prayer

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out

 

You can find many books about Oswald Chambers’ writing and teaching at this affiliate link (meaning it will pay a commission to this blog if you purchase anything through it.)

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Faith, Love, Hope

Learn more about Lifestyle Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine

“Lifestyle medicine (LM) involves the use of evidence-based therapeutic approaches, such as a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet, regular physical activity, adequate sleep, stress management, and avoidance of risky substance use, to prevent, treat, and, oftentimes, reverse the chronic disease that’s all too prevalent,”

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Light and life without limbs-meet Nick Vujicic

Do you ever feel you can’t let your light shine? Nick Vijicic felt that way and he probably has a reason to. Nick was born with amelia- absence of arms and legs. He wondered what he could possibly accomplish without limbs.

Matthew 5:14-16

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 

 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Do you ever feel you can’t let your light shine? Maybe you feel you don’t have any light to shine? I sure have, even as I write this blog or take care of patients.

LIGHT & LIGHT WITHOUT LIMBS-MEET NICK VUJICIC

Meet Nick Vujicic

Nick Vijicic felt that way and he probably has a reason to. Nick was born with amelia- absence of arms and legs. He wondered what he could possibly accomplish without limbs.

Reflecting on Matthew 5, Nick wrote in his devotional book

Limitless: Devotions for a Ridiculously Good Life  


Nothing will bring you down faster than living without purpose or losing track of whatever you are most passionate about, the gift that gives you joy and makes your life meaningful.

Finding purpose took Nick from being a depressed suicidal teenager to a man who “travels the world on God’s business” and has a “ridiculously good life” with his wife and children. He tells this story in his book

Love Without Limits: A Remarkable Story of True Love Conquering All


When our focus becomes self centered instead of God centered, we lose our greatest source of power. Our God given talents are meant to benefit others.

I agree with Nick. I became a doctor and write this blog to use whatever skill and talent I have to help you. When I forget that purpose, both quickly become burdens instead of sources of joy and excitement.

Ask yourself these questions.

  • What in life matters to me?
  • What brings me joy?
  • What drives me and gives my life meaning?

Read more about Nick

I recommend Nick’s books where he tells the story of his remarkable life and more about what motivates and inspires him.

I’ve included some affiliate links to them, for your convenience and to help me fund this blog.

Thanks for joining me to meet Nick and explore his incredible journey. Please follow me here and on social media to explore and share the HEART of health.

                              Dr. Aletha 

Here is a link to Nick’s website

Life Without Limbs

Watch this video to see what happened when Nick went to prison.
Be the Hands and Feet: Living Out God’s Love for All His Children (Unabridged) – Nick Vujicic

The Narrow Corner- a classic novel

The reference to lilies of the field which neither toil nor spin is from the Bible, specifically Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as related in the book Matthew.

Matthew 6: 28-30, KJV
“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

I recently read a classic  novel The Narrow Corner by W. Somerset Maugham. I remember also reading his classic Of Human Bondage in high school.  

The Plot 

In The Narrow Corner, Maugham tells a story about Dr. Saunders, an English physician who lives and practices in China. He is quite in demand among wealthy Chinese; we never learn exactly why he left England but the author hints that he was more highly regarded in the Far East than he had been in Britain. 

Dr. Saunders is summoned away from his home  to a South Pacific island to attend to a wealthy man who requests his medical care. He boards a small ship with a salty captain and a young man who keeps his reason for travelling a guarded secret.

What was supposed to be a pleasant and uneventful trip to a tropical island, turned into an uncomfortable and shocking adventure when they meet four people whose lives proved more complicated that they initially appeared.  Dr. Saunders and his travelling companions soon find themselves sucked into their intrigue. 

The Language of  the novel-1932

Maybe because it is old, written in 1932, many of the words and phrases seem formal and archaic.Perhaps Maugham wanted to avoid dull prose. Here is an example of his eloquent way with words, with some explanations in parentheses.

“He (Dr. Saunders) was not very fond of idealists. It was difficult for them in this workaday (ordinary) world to reconcile their professions with the exigencies (urgent needs) of life, and it was disconcerting how often they managed to combine exalted notions with a keen eye to the main chance. They were apt to look down upon those who were occupied with practical matters but not averse from profiting by their industry.

Like the lilies of the field they neither toiled nor spun, but took it as a right but others should perform for them these menial offices (menial jobs). “

The Narrow Corner copyright 1932

In this passage, Maugham uses several phrases or quotes much older than his writing .

exalted  (lofty or elevated ) notions (thoughts or beliefs)  which has been attributed to Aristotle. 

eye to the main chance

referring to someone who is ambitious and eager to promote their own advancement. The first known use of it in print is in John Lyly’s, Euphues, the anatomy of wyt, 1579:

The reference to lilies of the field which neither toil nor spin is from the Bible, specifically Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as related in the book Matthew.

Matthew 6: 28-30, KJV

“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

King James Version, public domain

The Language of the Bible- 1604-2006

King James authorized a Bible translation in 1604 , so this passage also uses terms we don’t use much today, like raiment (clothing) and  arrayed (dressed) . 

orange daylilies
Photo by Cindy Gustafson on Pexels.com

Some of the modern language versions translate lilies as “wild flowers”, or “flowers of  the field.” I think the image of lilies is much more descriptive. In 1932 most people still read the KJV of the Bible, so  Maugham  used this version. 

Here is a modern English translation of the same verses. 

“And why do you worry about clothes? Look at the wildflowers in the field. See how they grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. 

But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.”

Easy-to-Read Version Copyright © 2006 by Bible League international

These verses are among those attributed to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Here are some other posts based on  verses found there. 

Living and giving lavishly

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

 

W Somerset Maugham

W Somerset Maugham was one of the 20th Century’s most popular novelists as well as a celebrated playwright critic and short story writer.

He was born in Paris but grew up in England and served as a secret agent for the British during World War II.

He wrote many novels including the classics , The Razor’s Edge, Cakes & Ale, Christmas Holiday, The Moon and Sixpence, Theater, Up at the Villa.  (Affiliate links)         

Here is a link to the opening chapters of The Narrow Door.

Thanks for reading my review of a classic novel that borrows some familiar verses from the Bible. Please share and follow this blog as we explore the HEART of health  and more words of faith, hope, and love.  

Dr. Aletha

FAITH, HOPE, LOVE in wooden block letters
Faith Hope and Love

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The best meal you can eat

“When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. ”

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.  Matthew 5:6 CEB

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Matthew 5:6 Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness

The Upper Room® is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully.

From its beginnings in 1935 as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service.”

Copyright 2018 The Upper Room

(Affiliate links that pay a commission to this blog are used in this post, your use helps fund this blog)

This verse is from a Bible passage called the Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-11, which introduces  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This version, The Common English Bible,  uses “happy”, while most others use “blessed” as The Message does

 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:6, MSG

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

The Contemporary English Version puts it a different way, making God the subject of the sentence.

“God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink.
They will be given what they want!” Matthew 5:6 CEV

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

And in Spanish, the Nueva Biblia Viva reads

“¡Dichosos los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, porque quedarán satisfechos! “Mateo 5:6 NBV

© 2006, 2008 por Biblica, Inc.® Usado con permiso de Biblica, Inc.® Reservados todos los derechos en todo el mundo.

THE BEST MEAL YOU WILL EAT-WWW.WATERCRESSWORDS.COM-

What do these verses mean to you?

Using this guide from The Upper Room, try praying these Scriptures- use one of these versions, all of them, or others that you prefer.

“When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. ” Continue reading at 

Praying the Scriptures

man with hands folded in prayer
photo from Lightstock .com, stock photos and graphics(affiliate)

In her memoir, FIRE ROAD- the Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace ,  author  Kim Phuc Phan Thi  wrote,

“One of the passages that never failed to comfort me when I was feeling especially down was the Beatitudes, the  list of blessings Jesus proclaimed to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Please continuing  reading at my related post

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

Thanks for joining me to read and explore these words of faith, hope, and love and for helping me share the HEART of health. 

To start following Watercress Words , use this form to get an email notification of new posts . Please find and follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Thanks so much.

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love in cursive letters
another inspirational graphic from the Lightstock.com collections of stock images, an affiliate link

Living and giving lavishly

Therefore, because God is so generous to us, we’re to be lavishly generous to others.

 

Exploring the Golden Rule from the Sermon on the Mount

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 7:12 ESV

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Matthew 7:12 NIV

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

LIVING AND GIVING LAVISHLY-www.watercresswords.com- exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

 

 

The Golden Rule-from the late Reverend Billy Graham in his book

The Journey-How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World 

“How different our lives would be if we actually practiced this!

Instead of ignoring people or treating them harshly, we’d handle them with respect and kindness.

Instead of manipulating them for our own purposes, we’d help them achieve what is best for them.

We’d also try to see life through their eyes. Most of all, we’d point them to Christ, for the greatest gift we can offer anyone is His salvation.”

(from Chapter 21-When Others Disappoint)

 

also by Billy Graham (these are affiliate links used to help this blog share the HEART of health)


Life Wisdom: Quotes from Billy Graham

Life Wisdom: Quotes from Billy Graham


The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham

The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham

Understanding the Golden Rule from desiringGod.org 

“The word so indicates that Jesus’s teaching is his conclusion from what he’s said previously. The entire Sermon on the Mount might be in view.
But it may be that Jesus is thinking more specifically of what he has just said, in Matthew 7:7–11.
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’
There he tells his followers that God is their loving Father and always gives good things to those who ask.
Therefore, because God is so generous to us, we’re to be lavishly generous to others.
The Golden Rule is glorious overflow.”
Read  the rest of Stephen Witmer’s  article at desiringGod to find out

Three Things Jesus Didn’t Say

 

 

Does this make you think differently about the Golden Rule, what it means, and how it plays out in your interactions with others?

Who has been “lavishly generous” to you?

Who have you helped to “achieve what is best for them”?

Please share your reflections , share this post, follow this blog for more watercress words of faith, hope, and love.

Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles
These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

Why pray The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer
Christians pray these words exactly as written or may use them as a model or outline for prayer. They are prayed during church services and in private devotions.

 

Matthew 6:9-13, NIV 

(Jesus said)

“This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

give us this day our daily bread
social graphic from Lightstock.com, an affiliate link

And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Lord’s Prayer

This passage from Matthew may be the most quoted from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Although traditionally called the “Lord’s Prayer”, it might also be called the disciples’ prayer.

In the book of Luke, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.

various types of bread

Forgive us our sins,for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

 

 

Christians pray these words exactly as written (although there are now many different Bible translations and paraphrases), or may use them as a model or outline for prayer. They are prayed during church services and in private devotions.

Why pray the Lord's prayer

 

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer has been set to music in various forms. A family friend sung it at my wedding. Some choose it for funerals or memorial services.

Singers ranging from amateur to professional have recorded The Lord’s Prayer in multiple languages. I enjoyed this Kenyan choir singing it in English.

Umoja English choir, Nairobi, Kenya 

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes,

“Jesus taught us to pray for daily bread. Have you ever noticed that children ask for lunch in utter confidence that it will be provided. Children do not find it difficult or complicated to talk to their parents, nor do they feel embarrassed to bring the simplest need to their attention. Neither should we hesitate to bring the simplest requests confidently to the Father.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer at iTunes 

The song has been recorded by a diverse group of artists including Andrea Bocelli, Susan Boyle, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Evancho, Elvis Presley. 

Find these and others at iTunes.

Itunes lrg f870299f99c48616f0cea96f29b076d24f47eeb4810e15dbe68bbf991d157081

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The Lord's Prayer record album
The Lord’s Prayer 

Share your thoughts about The Lord’s Prayer

What does The Lord’s Prayer mean to you? Do you pray it, or use it as a guide to prayer? Please share your thoughts about this powerful prayer.

wooden plaque available at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for joining me to reflect on The Lord’s Prayer. 

Please visit some other posts with words of faith, hope, and love from the Sermon on the Mount.

                            Dr. Aletha  Faith, Love, Hope

Opportunities to do good

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

5 lessons learned when the lights went out

THE GREATEST PRAYER

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out

One winter night an ice storm hit my city. My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. We couldn’t cook, wash clothes, or watch TV.
As inconvenient as that was, the thing I missed most was light.

LIGHT -Matthew 5:14-16

From Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out-www.watercresswords.com-exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

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The day my lights went out

On a cold December morning I awoke to no electric power in my house.No heat, no coffee,no hot breakfast, no television happened that day.

During the previous night rain fell, quickly turning to ice so thick that it brought down exposed power lines. It also took down tree limbs which in turn knocked down more power lines. By dawn, a city of a half million people was largely without power, including my home and clinic.

Upon arising, we started navigating the challenge of life without electricity. We had no heat, could not cook, wash clothes, watch TV, use our computer, or recharge our cell phones.

So, after opening our automatic garage door manually, we drove around looking for an open restaurant , finding traffic signals not working, and many businesses also closed. I didn’t go to my clinic since it didn’t have power either.

Somehow we made it through the day; it was something of an adventure at that point. But at sunset, we faced an evening and night in the dark.

My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. By the third day my clinic reopened so I had access to a computer, could charge my phone, and had a warm place to spend the day.

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As inconvenient as all the other things were, the thing I missed most was light.

I felt grateful to have candles and flashlights, but they weren’t the same as being able to flip a switch on the wall or turn the switch on a lamp and have bright light flood the room.

By living in the dark for 5 days I learned

I should not take light for granted.

Natural sunlight lasts from 8 to 14 hours per day, depending on where you live- unless you live at the north or south pole,where you may be in darkness for 24 hours part of the year. Once the sun sets, you are in darkness unless you create light in some way.

Light is a great equalizer.

It didn’t matter who you were or what part of town you lived in. Rich and poor and everyone in between experienced the power outage. Some people already had generators or were lucky enough to find a store with one for sale. Otherwise, you were in the dark.

Life without light is difficult.

Sitting in the living room listening to our battery powered TV (now a relic) by candlelight, wrapped up in blankets wasn’t too bad. I just had to remember to take a flashlight to go to the bathroom or into my closet to change clothes. With no power or windows to catch a little moonlight, these areas of my home were pitch black. We couldn’t cook, and could not safely store cold food-I had to throw everything in the refrigerator and freezer away by the third day. We quickly tired of peanut butter and crackers. Dirty clothes stayed dirty for the time being.

a sketch of 5 lit candles in a row
image from Lightstock.com, affiliate link

It takes work to produce light.

Power company crews worked around the clock, helped by  crews from other cities and states. It still took 2 weeks to get power back to everyone. It took even longer to get all the broken tree limbs picked up from  streets and yards and hauled off to a central site for burning. Subsequently the city undertook a plan to trim trees that posed a hazard to power lines  and to bury power lines.

Light should be shared with others.

Residents and businesses who had power invited others in , providing places to eat, wash clothes, charge phones, and stay warm. We were all in this together, and everyone seemed to make an extra effort to be kind to each other.

New York City at night
We enjoyed a view of the lights of New York City from the Empire State Building

Related scriptures about light 

Mark 4:21

Luke 8:16

1 John 1:5-7

Previous posts in my series on Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount . 

Opportunities to do good

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

God's Promises for Women NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Women NIV Bible

God's Promises for Men NIV Bible
God’s Promises for Men NIV Bible

Share your “lights out” experience

I would love for you to share comments about a time you learned a lesson from a difficult experience. Or can you look back on a hard time and now see something that it can teach you?

Please share your insights, share this post, and follow watercress words as we explore the HEART of health and more words of faith, hope, and love.

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope, love spelled out in wooden block letters
Faith Hope and Love , a graphic from Lightstock.com