It is the second law of thermodynamics that says that things are winding down, that everything is seeking a common level of energy and temperature. How do we know that this level has not yet been reached? Simply observation is enough to show us that there are hot spots on earth and in the universe and there are cold spots. In a long enough period of time, everything will reach a constant temperature and energy level…and that in nature, this is not a reversible process. To put it more simply: things are winding down.
Now one can make lots of scientific and even theological arguments based upon this law of thermodynamics, but that’s not my point today. Today I just simply want to note that things are winding down, slowly, inexorably, inevitably. My energy level is not what it was in my younger years. Nor is the energy level of my kids what it was years ago. Every year (though we can’t notice it by normal observation), the earth slows in its orbit around the sun.
It is enough to get one depressed if you are of that mindset. Or, we can just accept it as part of life, which we all know is winding down for us and will some day cease. For those people of faith, there is belief in a new life – even a much better one – beyond the veil of this world. It is an object of faith, accepted by faith, and held to tightly because there is something in us that rebels at the notion of this life “being it”. We don’t like the fact that our bodies and faculties are winding down…we want them restored, made better. And I think they shall be and I personally find that quite exciting!
This past summer at a family reunion in Iowa, we visited the farm where I lived when I was born and for the first 9-1/2 years or so of my life. Today’s photo is of the back of the house (away from the road). What you see here is an enclosed porch area. The door on the right (it didn’t have a dog door in it when we lived there) was toward the barnyard, the left door what led to the dark, scary basement was close to the garden area. Just inside the door to the right there were windows that looked northward across the barnyard to the barn. On cold winter mornings, my sister and I would stand inside waiting for the school bus (this was after they closed the one room school that was a mile from our farm – we used to walk to it) to come and get us to take us the 5 miles into Churdan, Iowa. I clearly recall waiting there and looking at the thermometer that was attached to the outside sill and see it was 20 degrees below zero on some school day mornings. Ah, the memories of childhood!
But look at the house. It is winding down. It was sad to see it in this condition. The paint along the eaves flaked and falling off, the wood around the middle window discolored and undoubtedly rotting. The only reason this house looks as good as it still does is the yellow aluminum siding my parents bought from Sears WAY back in the late ’50’s that they had installed. It still looks as good as it did then (if it were given a bit of a scrubbing). Still, for all the perseverance of the siding, the house is nearly a goner. It won’t fix itself. Unless there is an injection of time, love and energy, it will ultimate collapse.
Life is like that: we need constant infusions of love, time, and energy. Marriage is like that. We do have choices to make that can hold the winding down process at bay for while, but ultimately, time will have its way with all things.
Let’s all make the best of each day. Let’s infuse a bit of energy and love into those around us each day. If I am right in my faith beliefs, people are the one thing that will ultimately last…and that makes each person a worthy object of our attention.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: on November 3, 1941, the Combine Japanese Fleet received Top-Secret Order No. 1: In 34 days time, Pearl Harbor is to be bombed, along with Mayala, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines.
Relations between the United States and Japan had been deteriorating quickly since Japan’s occupation of Indochina in 1940 and the implicit menacing of the Philippines (an American protectorate), with the occupation of the Cam Ranh naval base only eight miles from Manila. American retaliation included the seizing of all Japanese assets in the States and the closing of the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping. In September 1941, Roosevelt issued a statement, drafted by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, that threatened war between the United States and Japan should the Japanese encroach any further on territory in Southeast Asia or the South Pacific.
The Japanese military had long dominated Japanese foreign affairs; although official negotiations between the U.S. secretary of state and his Japanese counterpart to ease tensions were ongoing, Hideki Tojo, the minister of war who would soon be prime minister, had no intention of withdrawing from captured territories. He also construed the American “threat” of war as an ultimatum and prepared to deliver the first blow in a Japanese-American confrontation: the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
And so Tokyo delivered the order to all pertinent Fleet commanders, that not only the United States—and its protectorate the Philippines—but British and Dutch colonies in the Pacific were to be attacked. War was going to be declared on the West.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Bore-hole seismometry indicates that the land in Oklahoma moves up and down 25cm throughout the day, corresponding with the tides. Earth tides are generally about one-third the size of ocean tides.