the in between is what really matters

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Anne Frank, Anne Frank’s Tales from the Secret Annex:
A Collection of Her Short Stories, Fables, and Lesser-Known Writings


(looking down on the top of the original grave marker for my grandmother’s
great grandfather / Julie Cook / 2020)

Yesterday, I wanted to escape.

I wanted to go anywhere—anywhere where there were no protests, no looting, no riots,
no fires, no pandemic, no hate…but oddly I wanted to go to a place of death.
Or more aptly put, a place of final rest.

Odd yes, but I just really wanted to go away.
Just for a little while.

So where do you go to escape the world and her madness on the final Sunday in May?

I had a thought.

We got in the car and drove for a while.
Driving to a tiny rural middle Georgia town…
It was the birthplace of my grandmother.

There isn’t much to this tiny speck of a town.
It is a rural area with its share of farming and cattle.

My grandmother isn’t buried here but her mother, sister, and brothers are.
She, on the other hand, is buried in Atlanta and Atlanta is under siege so I wasn’t
about to go back over there…the middle of rural nowhere Georgia was much more appealing.

My grandmother’s father was killed in 1900 during the Spanish American War and
in turn, she and her three siblings were raised by their 26-year-old widowed mother
along with her father–their grandfather.

It was in this small rural town where they were raised.
But how in the world did they get to this place in the middle of
nowhere I’ve often wondered.

I knew that their family had come to this small middle Georgia area by means of Savannah.
Their great grandfather had been born in Savannah and before that, their great-great
grandfather was born in Germany finding his way to Savannah via London and North Carolina.

He fought in Chatham’s Artillery during the Revolutionary War.

The son severed in the Georgia Legislature and later as a state Judge.
Following the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1820 that killed 4000 in Savannah,
the elder man took his small family to rural middle Georgia as a hope
to avoid the sickness found in a swampy coastal region.

And since neither man, grandfather nor great grandfather were buried in
the hometown of my grandmother, I wanted to know where they were.

It didn’t take long to locate them with a quick google search.
They were only about 12 miles away in a small cemetery located in another small town–
the county seat to this particular rural county.


(the grave of the man, along with his wife, who raised my grandmother / Julie Cook / 2020)

And the irony found in my day’s journey was that I got a call while we were exploring the second
cemetery from our son, asking where in Arlington, the Atlanta Cemetery in north Atlanta,
where my dad, his Pops, was buried.

It seems that seeking peaceful rest was a running thread in my small family today.

He wanted to visit his grandfather’s grave, introducing his young son to his great grandfather–
and in turn, my mom, my uncle, my grandmother, my grandfather, and my cousin.
My brother was elsewhere in the cemetery.

A family reunion of sorts.


(my grandson meeting my mom, his great grandmother/ Brenton Cook / 2020)


(my grandson meeting my dad, his great grandfather/ Brenton Cook / 2020)

So with all of this notion of death, eternity and yes, even peace, swirling in my head,
and obviously in my son’s as well, I shifted gears right back to the madness plaguing our land.

For you see, I couldn’t truly get away.

I kept thinking about an article I had read the previous night.

It was an article by a black woman who was riling against anyone using
the phrase ‘all lives matter….’
In her mind, the folks who were saying such a phrase were white and due to their skin color,
“they didn’t get it”—
and thus, such a comment was to be considered racist…
so we can only say black lives matter…while forgetting all the rest.

She was angry.

And the odd thing is that I actually wrote a post about this very thing back in 2015…
five years ago.

Imagine that—five years ago we were digging the same divide we see continuing today.
Five years ago we still had national trouble.
We were riding the wave of the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

Antifa and Black Lives Matter were rising violent groups who sought change by the use
of force and violence at any cost.

Police officers were part of the problem.
In particular white police officers.

We don’t seem to change much in this country because we continue having the same
tragic incidents over and over.

Here is a portion of that post I wrote in September of 2015:

Fast forward to September 1st 2015…
Breaking News…a Fox Lake, Illinois police officer is shot by 3 assailants
and dies from his wounds.
He’s a 32-year law enforcement veteran who leaves behind a wife and four children.
The suspects are still at large as the entire community is put on lockdown.

This incident comes on the heels of a coldblooded assassination,
which took place over the weekend of a Texas Sheriff’s deputy who was shot while simply pumping gas,
filling up his police car.
A man approached him from behind, shooting him executioner style.
When he fell to the pavement, the gunman stood over the body,
emptying his gun into an obviously dead body—an exclamation point of murder.

This incident comes on the heels of a coldblooded assassination, wait, didn’t I just say that…
of two television journalists in Virginia…etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum.

There’s been a lot of banter recently about “Black Lives Matter”…
However, I heard a response from the Sheriff of the deputy who was shot that I think sums up
all of this craziness best…
his response to the press just following the murder of his deputy was, and I’m paraphrasing…
‘that there has been lots of talk surrounding the Black lives matter conversation
but we all need to drop the qualifiers and understand one thing…
that ALL lives matter—doesn’t matter black, white, brown, yellow…
ALL lives matter…’

For you see, in this one man’s grief over the wasteful loss of life,
he gets it–he can actually see to the core of what is yet just one more divisional line
to so many divisional lines in this Nation of ours…

…for in the heart of God, there are no distinctions…
there is no line of separation, no color, no status, no sides, no qualifiers…
all that exists is a Love that is as wide and tall as it is deep…as in never-ending.

It does not discriminate, nor does it look twice…
it does not set limits nor does it demand anything in return…
It is equal, all-inclusive, welcoming, and offered to each and every one…
who so chooses to accept it—-
and that’s the kicker…
choosing to accept it––
choosing love, forgiveness, surrendering of self, of pride, of ego, of hate, of suspicion
in exchange for Love…
a Love that has been offered from a Father and bought with the ultimate price by a son,
so that you and I could stop the madness and live a life that finally lets go of the hate—

So today, these five years later, I still say all lives matter.
I still say folks who seek violence as a means to an end are thugs.
I still know that we are all born and that we will all die.
And I know, more importantly, that it’s what happens in between both that living and that dying
that is what matters most.

I always find solace in knowing of those who went before me just as I find hope in knowing
that it is particularly important that I leave a path of goodness for those who
follow after me.

I would think that George Floyd would have desired that his life and death be remembered
not for the begetting of more deaths and violence but rather for the possibility of positive
changes for a future generation…

May God have mercy on the United States.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed,
and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 3:26-29

You must be a gambler

“Yes, I can understand that a man might go to gambling table – when he sees that all that lies between himself and death is his last crown”
Honoré de Balzac

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

James 4:14

DSCN0321
(an unmarked ancient grave in the cemetery of St. Kevin’s Monastery Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Words were once uttered.
Promises were clearly made
Covenants and tenants were freely given.

A roadmap, if you will, to living within the realm of balance.

Dos and Don’ts
Cans and can’ts
Yes and no

The wisdom of one Wiser than yourself issued a decree.

Ancient words now reduced to dust
Mumbo jumbo and poppycock
Fairytale dribble

You deem its relevance unnecessary

Was it real or imagined
Made up, fabricated, perpetuated
Promises given or just a pack of silly lies?

Yet in the back of your mind, you’re always left wondering…
There are days you consider the possibilities
Did He?
Didn’t He?
Was He?
Wasn’t He?

Is He…?

You live your life as though He never was.
His words, if they were His words, mean nothing to you.
You scoff, you ridicule, you curse His very existence.
Yet the words dog you, nagging and nipping at your heels.
Why curse that which you deem non-existent?
Why do you let it bother you, allowing it under your skin,
if it’s nothing but a tale?

You roll the dice each morning when you wake.
You’ve perfected a poker face…all the while hiding behind the emptiness
You live your life as if the odds are stacked forever in your favor…
yet you can’t help but wonder…

Take the risk or play it safe, throwing caution to the wind…
Or do you simply turn around, walking away forever…
A friendly little wager of “what if”…
…or is it really something much more costly…

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Possibilities and Potential

Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.
Pope John XXIII

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
Winston Churchill

DSC00709
(a tulip tree bud ready to burst forth / Julie Cook / 2015)

Alarms sound
coffee brews
a sun rises
sleepy eyes open
showers taken
dogs walked
breakfast gulped
buses run
bells ring
traffic snarls
It’s Monday morning, again

A new day and a new week eagerly arrives
Last week is gone along with all that happened and took place,
be it good or bad.
This new morning, to this new week, offers all sorts of potential and possibility.
The sky’s the limit.
There are no “nos” yet shouted.
There have yet to be any disappointments
There are no failures
No quarrels
No wrongs
No crises
Only a clean slate just waiting for a fresh new mark
Greet the day with head held high. . .
For this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it
Psalm 118:24

Within each cloud exists a thousand possibilities

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
― Thomas Merton

DSC00184 2
(dot of clouds litter a mild January day / Julie Cook / 2015)

An endless sea of wispy white puffs dot an expansive sky. . .
Appearing as if from a thousand giant pipes. . .
The exhaled puffs of white smoke, all being released from hidden nostrils,
each at the same exact time.
As far as the eye can see, a continuous blanket of white cotton batting
rides a southeasterly wind streaming nowhere in particular.

It is the kind of day which finds idle heads turning upward,
beckoning the wistful to gaze wantonly into the azure blue sea of sky.
The deep baritone peal of the buoy bell bounces across the wind
As dried leaves scatter along the brown crunchy grass.
It is a day of gentle moods set to a symphony of gentle sounds.

It’s the type of day that asks for nothing in return.
There are no demands.
No one who must be seen.
Nothing must be done.
No places in particular to go.
Just a day to simply be. . .

These are the days of possibilities.
There are no expectations.
No agenda has been set.
And there are no lists of activities to be ticked off one by one.
These are the days of wonder.
Grab it fast, for these are the days of far and in between.

Today the shoulders soften.
The clothes are familiar and cozy
The air purifies the stale lungs of too much time indoors.
Cheeks gain a touch of color
There is simple adulation in breathing.

Grateful souls humbly receive the gift of such a day,
As it is a day when time is but one’s own.
A day when dreams mix with hope
A day when anything and everything is possible
A day when the sky is truly the limit. . .

DSC00188

DSC00186

DSC00187

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Psalm 19:1

It’s simply a matter of where you fall

“Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak!”
― George Bernard Shaw

RSCN7863
(a lone black oak acorn / Julie Cook / 2014)

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

DSCN7940
(a small cache of acorns / Julie Cook / 2014)

Consider the lowly acorn.
A tiny little nut wearing a tiny little cap.
Food to squirrels, chipmunks, mice and voles. . .

Think of the massive amount of energy and the tremendous potential for greatness which is neatly stuffed inside a tiny shell underneath a tiny little cap.

Yet this tiny little cap wearing nut is but a majestic oak tree in tiny disguise.
Despite the potential for staggering growth, which is locked inside the humble little acorn, should the acorn fall on anything other than fertile soil, all the potential and all the possibilities are but for naught as the little acorn is simply left to wither, perish and rot.

All of us come into this life, just like a little acorn. . .we come prewired full of massive potential and grand possibilities. . .
Yet, if there is no nourishment, no encouragement, no tending to, no nurturing, no fertile soil to feed the potential— we are left to wither and flounder. . .being lost to what could have been.

On this new morning of this new day to this new week, may we be mindful of the potential that hides within each of us. May we yearn to nurture and to feed the possibilities in not only ourselves but in the lives of those who are around us—for on this new morning of this new week comes to each of us a new time of growth full of endless possibilities and limitless potential for new growth . . .

May this be your day for the new potential and possibilities which is tucked deep inside waiting to be nurtured. . .