Monday, January 02, 2017

Day by Day the 'MillieWay' (by Peter Black)

A tiny cottage nestles in the woods on a country road, with little more than the basic services of electricity and a land phone. The lady of the house pretty much takes care of herself and day-to-day chores with a little help from her son, who calls by from time to time to ensure she is OK.
Not Millie's Cottage
Courtesy: Google free

Not only is her home tiny, she’s tiny, too. Obviously frail, she weighs in at well under one hundred pounds. The actual number doesn’t even match her age – ninety-eight! Suggestions that she should move into town don’t receive much of a hearing from her. And her friends’ statements of concern that, “it’s so lonely and remote out here,” don’t gain any traction at all.
Millie reminds me that physical frailty doesn’t necessarily equate to either weakness of character or of spirit. This tiny titan has character and spirit in abundance. Her stalwart independence was developed throughout her life’s journey, meeting challenges and disappointments, bereavements and losses along the way.
Not Millie: IStock Photo
However, her independence represents only one side:
~ She lives alone, but is not lonely.
~ She is frail and weak, yet she is strong.
~ Her means are modest, yet she abounds in the richness of contentment.
Here’s the other side: Many decades ago Millie committed her life to the Lord Jesus. He is to her a close and constant companion.
Importantly, she didn’t get stuck on the periphery of the Christian life, but journeyed along that pathway, exercising dependence on God’s grace, growing in faith and in her relationship with the Lord. Reading the biblical scriptures and meditating on their implications and significance for her life, while keeping daily prayer appointments with God and serving others in His name – these have given her sustaining power.
This indomitable soul has faced her todays with gratitude and grace, despite whatever her yesterdays might have brought. And now Millie continues facing her tomorrows in readiness of spirit. She’s homeward bound to be with Jesus, her Lord and Saviour, while continuing house-bound in her tiny cottage in the woods, journeying on into this—another New Year, with hope and peace, joy and love. . . . And contentment.
Contentment what a great quality!
Hopes, dreams, aspirations and ambitions, and even discontentment might be OK, if well-placed and well-focused; they can occupy an appropriate, beneficial place in our lives.
Of course, unless these desires and motivations are honourable and others-oriented and we go about fulfilling them by honourable means, such urges may consume us with a soul-destroying selfish obsession. Unchecked, they can leave a trail of ruined lives, broken relationships and families, violence and crime and murder, and even become amplified as feuding communities and countries at war.
But this isn’t so with folks like Millie and friends of hers I’ve come to know. Regardless of whether people are financially poor or wealthy, they can be either intensely selfish and discontented, or selfless and truly contented.
Let US journey on into the New Year, balancing contentment and ambition the “Millie way.” It was Apostle Paul’s way, too – content and ambitious at the same time. He says:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (1 Timothy 1:6-8 NIV). 
And, “. . . one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV).
Peter A. Black lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond.



Rose McCormick Brandon said...

Peter, thanks for writing about Millie. People like her bring balance to our unbalanced world. Meeting those who are totally devoted to Christ, and as you say, alone but not lonely, is refreshing. I'm sure she's a treasure chest of wisdom.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

Thanks, Peter for this delightful story of one of the heroes of the Faith, and for the reminder that we need to try to be like her in the year ahead. Love the way that you appreciate the contributions of others, like Millie and so many writers. Blessings for the New Year.

Peter Black said...

Thank you Eleanor and Rose. You're both assuredly 'people persons.' The biographical aspect of your writing reflects your admiration and appreciation for people who inspire and teach through their overcoming challenges or demonstrating grace in the ordinariness of life (often through their trust in the Lord).
New Year blessings to you and your loved ones. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

Oh my. I love Millie. What a genuine soul. Do you know here, Peter?

I love how 'rich' she is. And I admire her stamina and her desire to stay strong in the face of her frailty. A good example of godliness and contentment - a powerful lesson to the world.

Ruth Smith Meyer said...

I like Millie! I especially like you you put it
~ She lives alone, but is not lonely.
~ She is frail and weak, yet she is strong.
~ Her means are modest, yet she abounds in the richness of contentment.
There's contrast like that in all of us if we lean on Jesus.

Peter Black said...

Thanks, Glynis and Ruth. I'm eagerly awaiting meeting Millie in person. I've seen her cottage in the woods from the outside. She's a lifelong member of the country church I'm involved with at the present time. My friend is her pastor and he has shared with me so much about her, and informed her he plans to take me along to visit with her, so that she'll know who this guy is she reads about in the bulletins she receives.
He has painted such vivid verbal pictures of her also when updating the congregation on how she's doing that this profile readily came together. ~~+~~

Carolyn R. Wilker said...

May Millie be a blessing to you, Peter, as I'm sure you would be to her.

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