A Pensive Persistent Melancholy

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

There is no life – no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up… To more than I can be.

You raise me up… To more than I can be.
Josh Groban

Today, I am a little sad. Not the kind of sad that looks like the beginnings of some deep dark depression, but sad nonetheless. Maybe a pensive persistent melancholy is a better way to describe how I feel today.

Moving back to Vicksburg was about coming home. About coming back to the place that was so much of a tether, at least in my mind.

I was going to be grounded here.
Being surrounded by old friends, old surroundings, and familiar haunts was going to make this a safe place–providing a security I wanted and needed.

I am so glad I came back. I am glad Becki was here. I am grateful for the sense of being important and loved she gives me. She is a constant source of strength and encouragement. She has made this house we live in a home for all of our boys. Truly we rise up and call her blessed. That this town is a safe secure place is largely due to her.

But today, I am a little sad, a kind of pensive persistent melancholy.
Mourning a little bit.
Grieving just a tad.

Mostly today, it is about me.
The loss of me.
The loss of purpose.
The loss of friends, circles, and fellowships.

Don’ get me wrong. I am not without friends. I have a group of buddies scattered about–mostly in the South–and we communicate as a group every single day of the week and have for years thanks to the internet. Preachers mostly. We are all save one connected by the now defunct Magnolia Bible College. Most of these guys I have known since I was 18 and three of them from an even younger age.

Those guys are my friends and brothers (one of them is my little brother), and I love them unequivocally–even the one whose politics are way outside anything I can understand and appreciate.

But today, I am a little sad. Once again, a pensive persistent melancholy, if you will.
Rebuilding a shattered life was going to be easier here.
At least until I figured out it was going to be hard anywhere.

Life has a funny way of moving on.
People change.
Life happens.
Time rolls on.
And relationships have to be nurtured in order to be sustained.

In the meantime, please understand it is not nearly as dreary as it may sound.
I know good things are coming.
I know they are. I believe that with all my heart.
I do, however, get very frustrated when God’s timing is not in line with my I-want-it-now perspective.

So.

Here’s to new friends and new situations…
Here’s to moving forward and growing stronger…
Here’s to building a new life on stronger foundations…
Here’s to God as the cornerstone and architect!

Today, I am a little bit sad and yet very determined to face the challenges of a great new adventure with the God who raises us up.

How about you?

Les Ferguson, Jr.

The Dirt You Are Waiting For Me To Shovel

It’s a beautiful day in Vicksburg, MS. Living here again has satisfied my strong obsession with nostalgia.

I have enjoyed living in places that had more to offer economically. I have loved living on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. And like John Denver sang long ago, if I had my druthers I’d go fishing, find myself a vacant lazy day…

Wade fishing for speckled trout on Mississippi’s barrier islands is a joy I will not soon forget. A boat and daily access to Cat Island is my rich man fantasy (that and an exotic sport car).

But for whatever reason the current of this place has always tugged on my heart and mind.

Maybe it is the mighty Mississippi River. I have fished for catfish in her, learned to water ski on her, and played for countless hours on her sandbars and tributaries.

Years and years ago, my dream was to ride the river on tugboats pushing massive loads of tied together barges. Three days after high school graduation, I flew to Paducah, KY and caught my first boat running south. I enjoyed being a deck hand even if I was the lowest man on the totem pole.

Vicksburg has a lot of problems. Like many other small towns, politics, economics, and a lack of hope has hurt my favorite little place. But even so, over the years she has been good to me.

The sun is shinning. The sky is blue. A soft breeze is blowing a few distant clouds around. And I love this place…

No matter how old you are, no matter the miles behind you, coming home can restore a sense of equilibrium. And for me? It has been a place of hope, healing, and peace.

God and I still have our differences. I continue to want for Him to play more fairly than He has… But I am so thankful to be here, to catch my breath, to see what this next stage of life has in store.

To be sure, I have days when I am pretty pitiful, despondent, and overly worried about the future.

But not today.
Today I am thankful to be home, to be loved, and to love again…

Oh yeah, before I forget… Smile! The dirt you are waiting for me to shovel is right outside the front door. I am headed there now to plant a new pink rose bush for Becki.

Happy Shoveling,
Les Ferguson, Jr.