A lot of noteworthy things happened in 1937. Howard Hughes flew cross-country from Los Angeles to New York City in a record-setting seven hours and forty-seven minutes. the German airship, Hindenburg, bust into flames and was destroyed. San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge was opened to traffic. Amelia Earhart disappeared after takeoff from New Guinea on her quest to become the first woman to fly around the world. That’s quite an array of noteworthy, sometimes pivotal events.
There were some less majestic events that year. A new meat product called Spam was introduced. Ernest Hemmingway’s novel, To Have and Have Not, was first published. Walt Disney’s animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered.
Some people with recognizable names were born in 1937. They included Vanessa Redgrave, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda, Tom Smothers, Waylon Jennings, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Saddam Hussein. It was quite a year for births.
Oh, yes, there was one more. I was born one Saturday in March at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. It was the first day of spring. My entrance was orchestrated not by birds singing in the sunshine, but by muddy raindrops splashing against the windows. It was raining mud–the result of clouds emptying their moisture contents through the filter of dust from the great Midwest dust bowl. What a way to make an entrance!
Across seventy-some years since then I have discovered that there are many kinds of contradictions that often exist side-by-side. The hope of spring interrupted by muddy rain is one example. Another might be the horrific disasters that often occur in the midst of great celebrations. Sometimes we can feel trampled by the stampede of it all.
It’s always possible for life to rain mud on us. It’s also possible to rise above the storms to the heights of enhanced fulfillment. The world of the Twentieth Century into which I was born is not much different from the world of the Twenty-first Century where I now find myself. Tragedy, suffering, and hardship are always present. So are love, hope, faith, and enduring relationships. How we experience the world depends a lot on how we walk through it.
I’ve learned that I can only do life one step at a time. Whenever I’ve tried to plot a path to take me somewhere I thought I needed to be, I’ve hit unexpected roadblocks. I’ve had to learn to have goals, but keep my focus centered on one step at a time. Sometimes my steps leave deep imprints in my mind and spirit. Some pieces of the journey serve to enrich and inform new experiences. Often it’s only by looking back that I can see how to go forward. I venture that we’re all like that.
Life is often orchestrated by muddy raindrops–but there are always offsetting strains of promise and hope waiting to be discovered beyond a waiting rainbow. God is the composer of it all, and when I keep my spirit tuned to him, muddy raindrops never form
the last chord!