The most troubling time in the history of the United States of America was the era of the Civil War. The country, devastated by the ruins of war, was also drained emotionally and spiritually. The hostility between regions of the country spilled over into families and institutions. At given moments of the war people questioned whether they would ever be able to recover from the debacle that had been wrought upon the nation. People lost their perspective on time because the period was so traumatic. They found it almost impossible to imagine the future or any type of recovery.
My wife, who thrives on organization, has a motto: “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” It’s an expression of her passion for keeping a room, a house, or a garage orderly. But I think the principle extends still further. It goes beyond just physical spaces. For what is true of cupboards and closets is even more profoundly true of a human life.
I've had many reports of the Remembrance Sunday service held at Dickleburgh (in Norfolk, England) this year, mostly about the preacher. Since Dickleburgh has a historic connection with the Americans from the time of Second World War, they always invite the American Air Base at Mildenhall in Suffolk to join them for the service, and always invite the current American air force chaplain to preach.
On the Sunday afternoon following Thanksgiving, when I was in seventh grade, it began to snow. It started slowly and undramatically -- much like any number of other snows I had experienced growing up in Detroit. The sky turned the shade of dirty wool and the flakes danced through the wind as in one of those glass balls that you invert. Little by little the sidewalks whitened, and soon the neighborhood was alive with the rasping sound of shovels. Before long the roads were filled and you could no longer see the curb.