Notes from Jan

Fall, Fallout and Faithfulness

September 28, 2019


Pumpkins and mums on porches and steps, signs of Fall in New England, our show-off season. Some maples  show hints orange is the new green.

Outside my Perch the marsh yellows.   Good Harbor beach sees fewer swimmers,  more dogs. Two boats hug the coast, fishing or simply enjoying calm seas on this stunning September morning.

Noticed yesterday, the Farmer’s Market’s thinner,  fewer stalls with the growing and harvesting season winding down.  Apples sweeten the air.    Brooksby and Appleton Farms boast fresh cider and warm donuts dipped in cinnamon sugar.  We have it good and yet…

The beauty of this season contrasts with current and impending disasters, natural and man-made. Consider  the fallout from impeachment hearings, global warming,  fires  ravaging the Amazon,  hurricanes, flooding, droughts, starvation,  gun violence, homelessness, wars and rumors of wars.

What have we done to this earth and each other?

It feels risky to hope, but who survives without it?

Thumbing through Mama’s copy of Streams in the Desert, I found notes in the margins, her place to journal.  In shaky handwriting she’d scrawled, “November’s a difficult month.  No sight in sight…like a wilderness with no path.”  I felt her despair thru words penned five months before she died, just shy of her 91st birthday.

Then, Mama added, but “God is God.  I am not.”

Not resignation.

Hopeful affirmation!

After years of experiencing God’s faithfulness,  Mama chose, one more time, to trust in God’s overall goodness and purpose, even when life’s “like a wilderness with no path.”

Thanks, Mama, for teaching me to sing in the dark with “no sight in sight”.

“Great is thy faithfulness!

Great is thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy had hath provided-

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” (lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm)
















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  • Reply Tara September 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Amen, amen, amen! Just the reminder I needed this morning!

  • Reply Radina Welton September 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Yes, God is God, bigger than we are , bigger than all the negatives you list. Our sight is SO limited. Reminds me of a Sunday School song we used to sing: “……so high you can’ get over it, so low you can’ get under it, so wide you can’t get out of it. Oh, wonderful love!”

  • Reply Randall Mathews September 28, 2019 at 3:09 pm


    I grew up on Streams in the Desert. Brings back many fond memories. Your blog is always much appreciated in Chicago land!!

  • Reply Pat McBain September 28, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Amen. Hope and faith springs eternal.

  • Reply Dan Russ September 28, 2019 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for this reminder of God’s faithfulness in the midst of our shortsightedness, fear, and hopelessness. I was shocked the first time I read Jeremiah’s words in the context of Lamentations, a lament that begins “How lonely sits the city that was full of people” and ends with “Restore us to thyself, O Lord, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old! Or hast thou utterly rejected us? Art thou exceedingly angry with us?” It was so encouraging to realize that Jeremiah affirmed God’s faithfulness in the darkest of times for Jeremiah and Jerusalem. Wow! We have no corner on dark times and are assured of God’s faithfulness when life’s “like a wilderness with no path.”

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 28, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      Father Patrick’s been preaching from Jeremiah these past few weeks. Jeremiah was the “weeping prophet”with good cause. Thank you for context for readers of the blog who wish to dig deeper. It’s good to remember “we have no corner on dark times.”

  • Reply Raquel September 29, 2019 at 2:16 am

    Dearest MamaJan, THANK YOU! There is always hope in our precious Lord. We love you!

  • Reply Shannon Granitsas September 29, 2019 at 6:56 am

    I needed that today. Thanks Jan (and Mama)!

  • Reply wendy lane September 29, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    So good. So thoughtFUL. Especially love: Not resignation.

    Hopeful affirmation!


  • Reply Maggie Rowe September 30, 2019 at 5:23 am

    Jan, I find myself thinking often of you and your mother as we serve here in Norway this fall. I remember meeting her at Congress many moons ago. Thank you for sharing her with us once again, and for your always thoughtful and well-considered, poignant words. Such a privilege to read your writing.

  • Reply dale September 30, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    Sometimes I struggle with faith so confident it becomes fatalism; the reminder its affirmation of what God has done and not resignation as to what might happen that provides the hope.

    Fall has not hit MI yet – near 90 tomorrow.

    Blessings, Dale

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