Today In Former Years

This section of my website traces a day, or related set of days, from my diary over a span of years. Each change to a different year is marked by a yellow highlight. -- jwc

Excerpts From John Cowart’s Journals:

March 7, 1992 to 2002


John W. Cowart

Saturday, March 7, 1992:

Up early to drive Eve to some meeting or the other in Avondale where she caught a ride to Camp Weed in Live Oak.

Ginny spent her first day of vacation catching up on little chores she's been meaning to do for ages -- sewing zippers, kitchen stuff, plant stuff -- she must have been straining at the bit to get re-domesticated.

Patricia decided that summer has arrived so she cleaned off the back porch and set everything up for a cook-out and we grilled steaks for lunch. Then she played in her clubhouse -- spring cleaning -- all afternoon.

I finished writing the working draft of the prayer book! It was wonderful to work in my own office.

Looking it over, perhaps we should title this book: The Book of Very, Very Common Prayer.


Sunday, March 7, 1999:

Up early for church.

In Sunday School, Wes Basset taught two things which caught my attention:

First, even a person who does not believe in God or any absolute moral law proves himself a sinner by either accusing someone else or excusing himself. When he says, "They ought not to ...." he appeals to a standard which he believes other people should conform to. When he says, "I should not suffer for doing this or that because...", again he appeals to a standard of behavior which he believes should not apply to himself in this particular instance. In either case, accusing or excusing, he has, for all practical purposes, affirmed the existence of a higher law which has been broken. Therefore, logically, he must have some reason for believing that such a law or standard exists and that it came from somewhere outside the observable scheme of nature. For instance, what in the observable world would give rise to the concept of fairness? or mercy? Where did those ideas come from if not God?

Wes also addressed the concept of salvation by works, that is, that even when we have broken God's law that we can do good stuff and thereby accumulate credit to offset the bad we have done. Wes used the example of serial killer Theodore Bundy. According to the book The Only Living Witness Ted Bundy murdered between 30 and 40 women. He was tried, convicted and executed here in Florida for killing a group of college girls in Tallahassee. It was one of the first times that I know of that bite marks on the bodies were used as evidence (forensic dentists matched Ted Bundy's teeth to the imprints.)

OK, suppose Bundy faced the judge and said, "Well, I did kill 30 women, but think of all the hundreds of women I've met whom I did not kill. In fact there are thousands, even millions of women in the world that I have not harmed at all. Doesn't that count to my credit? In fact I've done good deeds to many women. I've held doors open for them. Helped old ladies cross the street. Bought Girl Scout cookies. Contributed to N.O.W. The women I've not killed and helped out-number the handful I raped and tortured to death. I deserve to go free".

We say the same sort of thing to God when we try to offset bad deeds with good.

Kill one woman and you are a murderer. Break one law and you are a lawbreaker. Sin one sin and you are a sinner. We have no merit, no possible way of earning merit. We, without excuse,  can only throw ourselves on the mercy of the Court and beg the Great Judge to forgive us.

After church and breakfast Ginny and I dabbled in our garden for several hours cleaning the pool, watering plants, clearing flower beds, enjoying eachother's company. Then we retired to bed … she snuggled on my shoulder and we slept deeply for two hours. When I awoke the weight of her head had cut off circulation to my arm so much that I thought it would have to be amputated. Such a happy pain. I got up and my sweetheart continued to sleep for another six or seven hours, waking for a snack supper about 2 a.m.


Tuesday, March 7, 2000:

Jennifer is supposed to come give our home a thorough cleaning on Thursday so in preparation I moved loads of books from the house out to my office and prepared some new shelves to house them all.

Complicating this matter, Dennis from across the street delivered an additional box of books, mostly Old Testament studies, to our door yesterday. So I have even more to go in the office than originally came out of there. Of the making of many books there is no end... Lord, help me to make another book before I die.


I have many books. Enough to last a lifetime. I'll tear down my old shelves and build larger ones, then I can relax and say, "Soul, thou hast much books. Eat, drink, read thy fill". And The Lord said...

Well, do I really want to follow that thought?

Gin & I attended the pancake supper at church. Many people commented on having seen me in the newspaper or on tv. I said that as long as they had not seen me on America's Most Wanted, that was OK.


Wednesday, March 7, 2001:

Today I skipped my morning walk and instead worked on the pool, the sink and a broken hose... the work on the pool was successful, the other stuff needs more work. I also wrote one single listing for the will of God bibliography, which is more than I have been doing.

Between bouts with the sink and acid, I began re-reading David Burns' book Feeling Good to get a new take on cognitive therapy so that I can work more effectively. While the most painful aspects of my depression seem manageable now, I still am not working on my writing capacity as I wish.


Thursday,  March 7,  2002

Donald had said that he was coming home to work on our computers “early” Thursday. I rushed over to Warren’s at 8 a.m. to move dirt for an hour and then get cleaned up to meet Donald…. By 2 p.m. when Donald still had not shown up I tried to send him an e-mail, but got tangled in the sticky web so bad that eventually I gave up and called him by a real telephone…. He had not left Gainesville yet!

So I ate breakfast and took a nap.

Donald got here right at 5 p.m.

So much for “early”.

He took Gin and me to supper at Golden Coral where we feasted on steak and goodies. We talked life and computers till 1 a.m.


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