Saturday, July 28, 2007

Focused on the Goal

Cottonwood Trees in the horizon

Lake Manitou is a large inland lake, about 30 miles long and 10 miles wide at its widest point. With many islands and bays, it would be easy to get lost on the water especially because there are very few buildings, roads or bridges, and little boat traffic. At the west end of the lake is the distinctive "Cup and Saucer" land formation consisting of two heights of limestone cliffs. The sun sets behind these hills and always makes a spectacular show.

It was a little harder to find the entrance to Bass Creek, but if you looked carefully, the Cottonwood trees on the property of the camp towered above the other trees along the shore line. I always watched for this landmark when we headed back in the boat. There were many lighthouses on the island marking harbours and warning of rocks and shallow water. I love lighthouses and would enjoy staying in one if I had the chance.

Channel marker

We need to focus on our goals, whether to find our way back to shore, or to move ahead in our lives. People I see at the hospital who have nothing to live for are miserable and do not survive long. One of the dearest patients I ever had became a good friend in the three years I knew her before her death at age 60. Crista had five children and it was her prayer and goal to see them all married and established before she died. She had many medical problems and was always one infection away from death. Her youngest son finally set his wedding day for August, and Crista was thrilled. She was alarmingly thin and losing weight. Tests showed she had developed bowel cancer, a new problem that required immediate surgery in June. No one believed she could survive, but she did. One month later I was playing the piano at the front of the church as the congregation sang "Great is Thy Faithfulness" (one of my all time favourite hymns). Crista made a late but triumphant entry in a wheelchair, pushed to her usual front seat by her son. She did attend the wedding in August and died a few weeks later, her goals on earth achieved. I played the piano for her funeral and was able to share with others the dreams she had shared with me.

Cup and Saucer land formation

This scripture is from the fourth chapter of Proverbs. I teach it to the 10 and 11 year olds in my class each year and have them illustrate it as they learn it.

My son, pay attention to what I say;
listen closely to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them
and health to a man's whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
fix your gaze directly before you.
Make level paths for your feet
and take only ways that are firm.
Do not swerve to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.


  1. Ruth, such a beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you.

  2. Ruth, this is a post I'd like to print and keep.

  3. Anonymous3:18 pm GMT-4

    I echo the other sentiments expressed. May I keep it and use it sometime for our InHouse Cable Devotions in the Retirement Village where I live? It makes me think of the Poem by C.D.Meigs “Others”, which I have tried (with not great success) to live by.
    Father “C”

  4. Ruth-that was such a touching post.
    It brings back some personal memories that I'd like to share some day.-thank you.

  5. MaryC- Thank you. I had lots of time to reflect on things while sitting out on the water. And I have always wanted to tell Crista's story.

    Lynne- I am honoured if you do so. (I corrected some typos!)

    Father C- Please use this post as you wish. I am sure you have given and continue to give your life for others. Here is your poem.

    Lord, help me to live from day to day
    In such a self-forgetful way,
    That even when I kneel to pray,
    My prayer shall be for others.

    Help me in all the work I do
    To ever be sincere and true;
    And know that all I do for Thee
    Must needs be done for others.

    And when my work on Earth is done,
    And my new work in Heaven begun,
    May I forget the crown I won,
    While thinking still of others.

    Others, Lord, yes others,
    Let this my motto be.
    Help me to live for others
    That I may live like Thee.
    -- C.D. Meigs

    Larry- You will be able to share those special memories when the time is right. I am glad my memories touched you.

  6. Anonymous8:53 pm GMT-4

    Such a wonderful post and makes you think for sure! We all need to be focused on our goals sometimes! Thanks for the reminder!

  7. This is a truly inspirational story. Crista was truly blessed. So much wisdom in the quote from Proverbs.

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  9. Which just illustrates how much we all need a purpose in life. Striving towards a goal, looking forward always and yet knowing when our time is done, that last move forward will be so peaceful. I am sure Christa was as blessed by your friendship as you were by hers.

  10. Very nice, Ruth. Christa was blessed to have been given inner strength. You are very kind.

  11. What a beautiful post Ruth. Christa's story is inspiring..her courage and spirit was such a blessing and a lesson for us all.
    Thank you for sharing it. I'm sure she cherished your friendship too.

  12. Anonymous5:18 pm GMT-4

    An eloquent post.


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