There’s a quote from the movie Hope Floats that has resonated with me:
Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most.
We’re somewhere in the middle. We had a great beginning and recently an end—not THE END, but the end of a chapter.
Philinda Humiston had a scary and sad beginning, but a great middle. Who was Philinda?
Her story begins with her husband, Amos Humiston, a Union soldier at the battle of Gettysburg. A few weeks before the battle, Philinda had sent Amos an ambrotype (photo) of their three small children. He responded enthusiastically, “…I got the likeness of the children and it pleased me more than any thing you could have sent me how I want to see them and their mother is more than I can tell I hope that we may all live to see each other again if this war does not last too long.”
Amos was killed in the battle of Gettysburg and he was found with the picture of his children clutched in his hand. The mystery of these “battlefield orphans” gripped the nation and the story appeared in numerous publication across the country.
One publication, The American Presbyterian, reached Portville, New York and the hands of Philinda Humiston, his widow.
Funds raised from the selling of the copies of the photograph of the three children were used to found the Homestead Orphanage in Gettysburg in 1866 and Philinda and her three children moved there, along with 30 other orphaned children.
Philinda’s legacy is in her children, but also in how she took a scary, tragic beginning and made a great middle.
We’re at the beginning. Like Abraham, when he was known as ‘Abram,’ we’re on a journey. A beginning of sorts that is scary. I have to imagine that Abram was scared too—there are things that I wish we were given a little more detail on—like how did Abram and Sarai feel about this ‘beginning?’ We’re not told. At least, for us, we have a place to live. When we packed up the truck, we knew where our first stop would be. Abraham was told that God would give him a ‘land’—kind of vague, don’t you think?
But, Abraham was faithful; and so too should we be. I’m sure Abraham would have liked to know where and when his ‘land’ would be. As he left his homeland, he probably had no idea that a sojourn in Egypt would be part of the deal. We knew that a sojourn in Macon was part of the deal. It’s definitely easier somedays than others—but, and this is important to remember, it’s all part of the middle. God has a plan for us and a place for us; there are pages and chapters yet unread.