Written on Sept 10, 2017
The river was golden today. The water still, placid. Few other travelers on the river. Only bird sounds. Except for the one intrusion, with throaty motor sound of a speed boat actually travelling at a "No Wake" speed. The lone driver greeted me. We agreed on the wonder of this late day in mid-September.
The sun was in and out of passing clouds. Next door the four extended docks are almost empty. It is, after all, a week after Labor Day.
Church was a straight-arrow morning as our preacher launched us into a 40-day experiment of reading the Bible. Two hundred and fifty people signed up to take the course under Rick Warren's video leadership. We need 40 days in "The Word."
I marvel that our regional church of 500 members, coming from two states and several dozen towns, can bring this off - as they consistently do.
I thought, as Molly and I sat in the one Sunday morning class we will be able to attend, "what good people these are, coming from everywhere, and earnestly eager to be about bring 'The Word' more deeply into their lives." It felt a signal honor to be with them.
While eating our eggs and bacon lunch at our beautiful lakeside in New Hampshire, we watched the rain-swept reporting of NBC and ABC of the Florida Gulf Coast and the ravages of historic Hurricane Irma, so shortly after Hurricane Harvey. It felt as though we too, were in the storm.
But, we're not. At least not yet. What a wonder that we are so safe while other thousands are not. They are mortally threatened and, though desperately seeking help, often times at great pain to help others.
It is a moving lesson of life, this ordinary autumn day. We are surrounded by the miraculous wonder of an awesome God! God help us learn the lesson.
Written on September 2, 2017
How happy was today, the second of September. Despite long sleep, it was still morning light that filled our room. And, when Molly padded by, already busy with her tasks of the day, I was up, and could greet her - so glad for life.
Tasks of the sink awaited me - a long list of medicines, with a coughing spell as I set about taking them. I'd leave shaving to tomorrow, Sunday, when Molly and I would go to church together, just the two of us. An honor and joy for me.
We had wisely, reluctantly, begged off on our always anticipated preaching weekend - Saturday night in Newton, NH and Sunday morning, twice (a different sermon) at Kingston. Our busy long weekend hosting the Pilgrim Center team for Retreat, church, and Dinner for Friends, and all the welcomed interactions, were nevertheless enough, and now we are relieved to just stay home and have Ossipee be our church, and see friends, and go slow.
I asked to test my body with a row and Molly granted it. I make it. Out to the point at Pine River's mouth, and then back. Longer strokes, putting a little more on the blade than before. I feel the strength returning.
After getting the shell in place, I got me up to the house for lunch with Molly and, an afternoon of rest. Such a simple day.
I managed scriptures on the deck before we headed to Gary Wallace's auction, and the fun I have there, of sketching some of the interesting characters who come, bid, and make their living on what they take away.
A retired Harvard Archaeology professor with flowing white hair was ahead of me, and behind a regular, who buys up boxes of jewelry, determines the quality goods and makes a living from his own sales. The latter didn't believe he looked like my sketch. Every row is full of interesting faces.
I think often of God making us all "in His own image." God was there, looking out through so many fascinating faces. It was the delight of my day.
Written on Friday, Sept 1, 2017
I'm thinking about "finding time." It is the beginning of Labor Day weekend in New Hampshire. Many hundreds, if not thousands of cars, will crowd the Interstate up the coast from Boston, through Portsmouth, and on up the Maine coast. Hundreds will peel off onto Route 16, the White Mountain Highway, passing within a mile of our little road to Ossipee Lake, to see, be in, the mountains. To get away, leaving cities behind, hoping to rest, paddle, swim, be with families, barbeque.
The air today is stunningly clear. The wind raises white caps across Ossipee - too much for me and my canoe to make it to the mouth of Pine River for my daily peaceful paddle "to the bridge," checking on the flowers that are passing and the new, autumn flowers still coming. The brilliant cardinal flowers are slowly disappearing. And, more and more, there are signs of late summer's dying beauty.
The days, and the river flowers, spell the time of seasons changing. With three weeks to go before we turn homeward to Minnesota, we scramble to try to see all the people we'd longed, through the year, to see. Will there be time?
And, what about the writing, that could still be done in this precious time away? Molly, with her book of stories from Africa. Me, with my "Notes on Life: Reflections on a World Changing, from an Old Pilgrim Returning Home"?
Even here, with no one to say us nay, it is hard to capture time, and just sit down and look at lake and hills, and just to write what God seems to be prompting me to say.
The chill comes on as I sit on this afternoon deck to write what I feel about seasons of the earth, and of the soul, and of life.
Sometimes the answer seems to be to just start writing. To take the time that's here today, and write even what may only be a few pages. Just say it, for whatever it means.
I marvel at what came to Jesus to say - actually to a very small cadre of friends. Not knowing they'd be read and re-read for 20 centuries.
His insights are so sudden, almost blurting out something He's known for a long time. "Blessed are the meek." Oh, really? The hang-back, humble, shadow people? Not the ones who instinctively seek the center of attention?
"You are the light of the world." You are meant to shine, and be seen, and be an example.
"You are Peter, and on this Rock I will build My Church."
I think most of us have more to say than we dare to say, and that those held-back words and ideas are important ones for the world to hear. I am going to try to say it. You say it, too.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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