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The river

By Major Barry Corbitt

The cicada song served as a blanket of harmony during those magical days. All the cousins played together on the small lawn in the mild and muggy Nashville evening, the scent of the Cumberland River hanging thick in the stagnant air. Fireflies were abundant, and we filled tall glass bottles with as many blinking lights as we could catch until the bottles became torches, lighting our path for wherever the summer evening planned to take us. In the twilight, aunts, uncles and grandparents sat on the glider and front porch steps sipping tea and gulping Double Colas, laughing at nothing and everything, brothers and sisters happy and free in the presence of family. As the western sky grew dim, we said our goodbyes and took the short trip across the river to a quieter place. We never wanted to leave, much like I have no desire to put aside the memory of such precious times as the mounting pressures of adulthood crowd out the happy images. It all seems like a dream now, like something from an American fable. In these trying, aging days, I am still enchanted by the peaceful simplicity of it all.

Karry and I went back a few days ago and stood at the gate. We could have easily pushed it open and stepped back in time, but the former occupants who always welcomed us with candy and open arms no longer reside there. I was tempted to go to the door and knock, but the hour was early and we were strangers to the new tenants. We settled for a walk around the perimeter, wandering down the alley to get a glimpse of the back of the house that we had not visited since 1984. It had changed very little, much to our surprise. It was nice to know that some things remain constant even as our lives continue to change, develop and grow with passing time; time well spent and sometimes wasted. After a while we climbed back into the car and crossed the river for the second time that day. It seemed to me that the river served as the dividing line between yesterday and now. There was emotion in the moment, but the promise of tomorrow dispelled most of the sadness. The promise lies on this side of the water.

The children of Israel stood on the banks of the Jordan, waiting for the command to cross over into the land prepared for them since the beginning of time. They were to follow behind the Ark of the Covenant, the tangible sign that God Himself would lead their journey. Joshua told them to "clean themselves up" both physically and spiritually, with the promise that the Lord would do amazing and wonderful things among them. He started right away for as soon as the feet of the priests touched the water's edge, the river parted and God's chosen walked across on dry ground. If there were doubts in the camp, I imagine they died away quickly when the first miraculous steps toward tomorrow were taken.

What about tomorrow? Do we fear the journey? I sincerely hope not. The same God that made good on His promise to Israel stands ready to part the waters for us as well. We don't undertake the journey alone although we often think we can. Reading further into the Scriptures will reveal the folly of Godless thinking. Without God, we will surely lose our way in the darkness of independent misdirection and free will. Do not be confused by those guided by pride and intellect. The fact of the matter is this; we cannot succeed without the presence of God to direct our every step. Our lives will simply unravel if we try to go it alone. We are not bigger or smarter than God. We will never make it across the river without Him.

Globetrotters program has Austin ARC men on the move

By making a difference in the lives of men and rebuilding positive lifestyles, the adult rehabilitation centers in Austin, Texas, and around the world are doing the most good.

"A man may be down, but he is never out" is a slogan Bruce F. Barton wrote while doing volunteer work for The Salvation Army during World War I. Barton must have seen first hand how God restores men whose lives are in shambles. At the ARC, participants are reminded daily that there is hope for today and tomorrow.

(L-R) Major Gerald Street, Howard Jones are shown with Richard Budd and Robert Green,  two of the Globetrotters participants who have logged 100 walking miles in the program.

"Our program is designed to treat the whole person rather than just a specific problem," said Major Gerald Street, administrator for the Austin ARC. "The majority of men who come to this center for assistance have problems in many areas of their lives. Those may be social, medical, spiritual, personal, family situations and employment. The common factor for most of these men is addiction to drugs and/or alcohol."

The Austin ARC in offers men a second chance and an opportunity to start again. It also provides skills and employment readiness training, individual and group counseling and other tools for rebuilding positive lifestyles.

One of the tools used to rebuild positive lifestyles is the Globetrotters program. "Globetrotters was set up for the men at the ARC to log 100 miles of walking around the perimeter of the property or within the surrounding areas," said Howard Jones, program director. "The men are expected to keep a steady pace within a specific period of time and log sheets turned in at 25, 50 and 75 miles." The Globetrotters program has also garnered community support. For example, through partnership with Shoes For Austin, a local non-profit organization that gives new athletic shoes and socks to those striving to improve their lives, men completing 100 miles receive brand-name athletic shoes. Since its inception this year 19% of the men at the Austin ARC have met the 100-mile goal.

Down, you say? Richard Budd, an ARC program participant, doesn't want to hear it. "I have been down before, but now I'm up standing on solid ground," he said with a firm nod. "Not only am I walking, eating and feeling better, but I even ran my first 5K run this summer. I had no idea I had it in me!"

Houston ARC welcomes

Blackard as new member

of advisory council

Kirk Blackard (center) was presented with his member pin and advisory council plaque at the Houston Adult Rehabilitation Center by Major Larry DeBerry, Houston ARC administrator and Mr. Bill Sherwood, Houston ARC Advisory Council Chairman.

Blackard is a mediator, labor arbitrator and adjunct professor in the Communications Department at Texas A&M. He is a board member and active volunteer in the Bridges to Life prison ministry, a member of the Houston Kiwanis Club, the Texas Writers' Guild, and Bering Drive Church of Christ.





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