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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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I Was Wrong

I Was Wrong

By Amy Patsch

Amy Patsch
Amy Patsch

OK. I admit it, I was wrong. A few weeks ago I wrote about the dark days of February and ever since that column, on the whole, we have had the most lovely February I can remember. And, I freely admit that due to the days being shorter I have seen more beautiful sunrises and sunsets than at any other time of the year. So, I was wrong to moan but very right not to leave town for any far-off shores.

One bright sunny day I walked to the boardwalk and sat staring at the ocean. Looking out over the calm sea of blue I realized how thankful I am for those who came to America before me – The Pilgrims, the American Indians, the hardy Jamestown men. I am so very sure that back in their day I would never have considered traversing the Atlantic or other waters in a wooden ship with masts and sails to voyage to a faraway country using only the stars and a sextant. What brave, daring souls came to settle this country.  

What drives a person to be courageous enough to put life and limb in danger to pick up and move from one continent to another? With the Pilgrims it was that they sought a more perfect freedom to practice their faith. With the American Indians it possibly was a migration seeking better food sources. The Jamestown men were willing to set their mark on a new place and claim the land for England. All of them were seeking a better and more perfect life.

Sometimes we end up where we are by chance (or more fittingly – God’s providence). Sometimes we get there by choices driven by marriage, job opportunities, or even a desire to live a different lifestyle. Where we land is not always where we want to end up.

When I joined the Air Force I was young and wished to see more of our country so I traded my orders for McGuire Air Force Base here in New Jersey with another airman who had orders to go to McCord Air Force Base in far-off Washington State. How excited I was to be traveling across all of America to see the other coast. How very naïve I was! I quickly found out that all coasts touching the United States are not equal.

The Washington and Oregon coasts are quite beautiful but the water is deadly cold even in the summer months. Wow, wasn’t that a disappointment. I wonder if the people coming to America really considered what it would be like without the ease of commercial enterprises providing food, clothing, and materials necessary to build homes. Were they, too, disappointed once they landed? Did anyone pine for their home country? 

We are a mere 417 years since Jamestown was founded and look at us now. What a mass of people have come to our country over all those years to seek better lives for themselves. And, although their original homelands may be full of fond memories, many immigrants have stayed the course and made wonderful lives in America. 

I used to work with an elderly man who emigrated from Greece. He loved Greece and waxed poetic of its beauty and his love for his country. He begged me to travel and see its beauty for myself. When I asked if he would ever return home permanently his eyes grew misty and he told me he came here for a better life for himself and his family and he could not retreat and move back to Greece again.

Throughout our lives we make momentous choices and decisions that bring us to new shores – sometimes even physically. When we choose to follow God because of the gift He gave us of his son Jesus Christ dying to forgive our sins and rising again to free us, that is a very momentous choice. Our lives change forever from the instant of that decision and we never want to turn back.

We become citizens of a new nation, an eternal one – Heaven.  We will live forever with the One we have given our hearts and lives to. We are surrounded by the love of the Father, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We become new people because now we are no longer living for ourselves but for our Lord.

It is very much like my Greek friend said – we cannot retreat to what we knew before which we thought was beautiful because now we know what true beauty is and once we have found it we cannot give it up.

I was wrong about the dark days of February. Even February can bring a new light into our lives – Jesus.  But only if we make that forever momentous choice.

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com.

Columnist

Amy Patsch writes religious and faith-based opinion content for the Cape May County Herald.

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