Considering ‘all’

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, May 7, 2023

Deep thoughts? I don’t think I qualify for that category, but words continue to fascinate me. This week the tiny word “all” seemed to wiggle around for a place in my brain. It may be small, but it can carry an immense amount of interpretation.

When our kids were small and a fever bug would attack them, I knew our doctor’s pink medicine prescription would be the solution to their discomfort and my mother-heart-pain. When Othel would bring it home and the instructions said to take it ALL, I didn’t have to be reminded. I followed the instructions without question or negligence.

When sports entered our vocabulary during child-rearing, we heard many of their coaches say and adhere to the same passionate rule: “It’s ALL or nothing” — meaning that if each team member didn’t give his or her ALL, the results probably wouldn’t be what the team would like. “ALL” meant 110% and then some if possible. For some coaches that meant if a team player didn’t give it their ALL, nothing would automatically mean being on the bench or sidelines.

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Daddy struggled through five years of dialysis, burdened physically with more than one disease. We watched how he pushed and persevered for my mother’s need to have him near her. Finally the day came when we understood that ALL men and medicine could do wasn’t enough. Everyone and every option offered no improvement. “We have done ALL we can do” may not have been spoken words, but we heard them through their voices and my daddy’s condition. That was a heart-breaking ALL.

However, ALL can express great joy. Having to share desserts with siblings can show you a lot about your heart. Greed and selfishness can be rooted deeper than we might realize, but oh the thrill of Mother passing out a treat or hefty serving of dessert and saying, “You can have it ALL.”

Having ALL of what we love is definitely a wonderful ALL, but the ALL that Jesus offers and promises tops them ALL! “Your eyes saw my unformed body; ALL the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16. Stop and ponder that wonderful, amazing thought. God has known every twist and turn of our lives before we were even in existence.

Knowing the sinful choices we would make, our Father made a way of cleansing us: “IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Just meditate and rejoice over the scope of that promise.

There’s more! “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me ALL the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23:6. When we look back over our shoulders, it shouldn’t be for regret or to long for the past; it should be to see goodness and mercy following us. What a rearguard!

As the hour glass continues to drain away the days of earthly life, I find great comfort in Matthew 28 — “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Always has another translation that works best for me — ALL the days, nights, hardships, joys, breaths — well, just in every circumstance of life and death — ALL!

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.