Jun 12 2013

Learning From Bonita

Bo's picToday is a special day for me. It is my 32nd anniversary. I truly have been incredibly blessed to be married to Bonita all these years. She is both a wonderful wife and person. I honestly do not know what I would do without her. She enriches my life in so many ways.

BonitaOne of the things that I appreciate about Bonita is how excited she gets when confronted by the beauty of God’s Creation.   She will see something and say “Isn’t that just beautiful?”  The interesting thing is I often will not respond in the same way.  I think this has something to do with my being a nature photographer for so long.  I have been out and seen some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sights there are on the face of the earth. For that reason I tend to be hard to impress. It takes a very spectacular sunset to blow me away. That is not true for Bonita. When I don’t respond to her enthusiasm in the same way she does she sometimes chides me. She even kids me at times by saying something along the lines of “God is going to be so upset with me for not appreciating His beauty more.” It wouldn’t surprise me if she was right about that.

red barn 267Why is it that some of us are so hard to impress? Why can’t we appreciate what we see for what it is? I have no doubt that Bonita’s approach is far more appropriate than mine. Things should not have to blow us away to have us express our gratitude, wonder and praise. It is crazy that people like me have to compare what we’re seeing with what we’ve seen before or experienced elsewhere. There is so much wisdom in living in the moment. I’ve read that in a lot of books but it’s nice to have a living reminder with me each and every day. Thanks, Bonita! In appreciation for what she’s taught me I chose a picture she took recently to lead this blog entry. The same night she took this picture I didn’t even get my camera out.  Maybe someday I’ll learn…

–Chuck

(As noted above, Bonita took the top picture showing a sunset on the Ohio River.  I took the picture of her and the field of corn earlier today.)


Sep 30 2012

Companions For Life

Last night I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony for our church choir director.  Thanks to a break in the weather the service was able to be held outdoors high on a mountaintop in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Everything about the service was beautiful, including the surroundings.  As the bride walked toward me and I took in the awe-inspiring surroundings my mind couldn’t help but wander back to the Genesis story where in another garden setting God provided a wife for the first man, Adam.  Genesis 2:18 declares, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.” 

What comes next in the story is kind of funny to me.  The Scriptures say that God “formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky.  He brought them to the man to see what he would name them…”  After this we read, “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.”  Apparently Adam didn’t think any of the creatures God had created would make an appropriate mate.  I don’t understand.  What could be wrong with a porcupine or a giraffe or an ostrich?

Because Adam found “no suitable helper” among the creatures “the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (vs. 21-22)

When Adam saw God’s new creation he was ecstatic.  In this woman God provided the “suitable helper” Adam needed.  After this is noted we read the words, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”  (v. 24) The story recorded in Genesis 2 seems to serve as the beginning or institution of marriage.  Interestingly, I used these same words in Melanie and Ryan’s wedding last night.   There in that beautiful outdoor setting they seemed so very appropriate.

I realize that I do not write much about the human side of Creation in this blog but it certainly is part of the story too.  In the Creation accounts found in Genesis 1 and 2 it is very obvious that God created a world where the needs of all might be met.  He created a world where fish and birds and mammals and insects and trees might all thrive.  Without a doubt God also wanted His human creation to thrive and realized that for men and women to flourish they would need companions.   I won’t go so far as to say everybody should or must get married to be complete but I will say that I believe that we humans are made with an inherent need for others.  Even those, like myself, who are introverts recognize that life would not be worth living were it not for the friendship, love and companionship we find in others.  I guess there is a sense in which all of my family and friends are “companions for life” for my life wouldn’t be the same without them.  They all give me so much life!  So today I would like to give thanks for God’s provision of companions.  I am very thankful for my wife, Bonita.  I am also extremely grateful for my family and friends.  In fact today I give thanks for all those God has allowed to cross my path thus far, and that includes you.  Thanks to all for the “life” you give me!

–Chuck

(I took the top picture several years ago at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The middle picture is the happy couple, Ryan and Melanie Brown, last night.  The bottom image is of my wife and I.  Rob shamed me by posting an image of his wife earlier this week so I felt compelled to do this.)


Jun 12 2011

Thirty Years

The foundational text for discussing Creation is, of course, Genesis 1-2.  This is where we find the biblical accounts of Creation.  We learn here how God made the light, the skies, the land, the sun and moon, the plants and animals.  We also learn in these accounts how God made humans in His image.  Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Furthermore, we read in the biblical accounts of Creation that God said “It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.”  (2:18)  Before Genesis 2 concludes reference is made to  how “a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife and they will become one flesh.” (v. 24)

In this blog I don’t talk very often about the human element of Creation but I will make an exception today.  In fact, I have good reason to.  Today is my thirtieth wedding anniversary.  On June 12, 1981 I had the privilege of taking Bonita Bonta as my “lawfully wedded wife.”  I cannot thank God enough for allowing our paths to cross in Louisville, Kentucky, and for the love that we have shared all these years.  I realize that not everyone chooses to marry and that is quite o.k. but for me personally God knew that it was “not good for Chuck to be alone.”

Bonita is an incredible woman.  She is beautiful, gifted, compassionate and, like myself, has a great love for both God and His Creation.   I could never have asked for a more supportive wife.  She has been my “helper” in so many ways.  She is an incredible “pastor’s wife” and has served every bit as much as a minister as I have at all of the churches where I have been pastor.  She is also very supportive of my passion for photography.  Even when it’s our 30th anniversary she doesn’t complain I’m flying out tonight to photograph with Rob in northern California.  I am so richly blessed to have a wife who loves me like she does and who brings me so much joy.

So today I give thanks that when God created the world He came up with the idea of marriage and that later on down the road He made a woman down in Florida that I would eventually meet here in Kentucky and take for my wife.  In this woman it is not hard to see the image of God at all.  She is a constant reminder to me of the goodness of Creation!

–Chuck

(The image of Bonita was taken in Hawaii this past April where we celebrated our 30th anniversary early.  The bottom image is an abstract I took with Rob a couple of years ago of redwood trees in Muir Woods National Monument near San Francisco.)