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The Best Times of Your Life

Economic turmoil. Massive unemployment. Environmental stresses.

No, I'm not talking about 2008, though you might have thought so. I'm actually referring to 1933.

The country was in the midst of the Great Depression, unemployment that year was 24.9%, and the Dust Bowl was sweeping the middle of the country.

1933 was also the year my parents were married. (I'm the caboose in the family, with my eldest brother and sister old enough to be my parents.)

Getting married while my father was still in college and the economy was in shambles was probably not the smartest thing to do, but they did it anyway.

During the next two years, while my dad completed his coursework toward a degree in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University, my folks eked out a living, scraping together just enough money for him to stay in school and for them to survive.

They both typed term papers and theses for other students at a nickel a page. (It wasn't uncommon for them to see a mouse peering out at them late at night as they typed away...)

My dad borrowed $150 from the Iowa State Student Loan Fund. He did yard work for one of his professors. And my mom made some extra money preparing meals for a handful of students who ate with my folks.

They occasionally managed to set aside enough money to go to a movie, hitch-hiking the three miles into town and walking back along the railroad tracks. Not very glamorous. Yet my parents would recall those two years in Ames as among the happiest of their married life.

It's funny how, even in the midst of financial turmoil and economic uncertainty, it's possible to find the means to experience some of the best times of one's life.

As this recession deepens and we step into the "great unknown" that is 2009, maybe that's a good lesson to keep in mind. After all, as Paul said, if God is for us, who can be against us?

May we enter into the new year keeping this verse close at hand: "With God all things are possible."

"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.'"

The Gate of the Year
Minnie Louise Haskins

Wishing you and yours God's richest blessings in 2009.

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