Written on New Year's Day, 2020:
It's Christmas time, and I finally - after hospital, and homecare - got back to Starbucks, my "House by the side of the road, where I can be a friend to man."
Such a lovely reunion for an old guy who was, for so long, a habitue' of that coffee shop of meeting, in Edina, my town for 45 years. Sandy brightened into smiles behind the counter, saying "Arthur, hold on while I come around and give you a hug!" Then introducing me to the new manager, saying, "This is Arthur, he's a legend here. We love him."
Then Brenda drew close, saying, "And Arthur, I'm a new grandma!? It was the bright light of friendship showing there in warm and genuine welcome.
I take it as a sign, that now, at last, I am free - and able - to be "out and about." I praise God, the Lord of all mercies.
I know I need people. They have been my life, all my life long. You never know who will come along. And what they will bring. The very inspiration of their presence.
The other day a young 30-year-old teacher in training sat with me for an hour and a half by the fireplace in our Covenant Village common. At one point he regaled me with his story of meeting my Lizzie one day at Jerry's of Woodbury. He couldn't get over how effusive she was at her sample station, helping shoppers try out her samples, directing them toward aisles for which they were searching, laughing and talking with them. At one point he mentioned the work, post-college, he had been doing, of reconciliation after concentrating in it at Bethel College. He mentioned his work with the Pilgrim Center, and how much it had meant to him. Then he mentioned having worked with me. Did she know that name? "He's my father!" she answered. A delightful, unexpected, connection. He went on and on, about our out-going Lizzie, and how she inspired him. And, of course, what news for her father!
People stir us, and make all the difference in those places where we meet them, "out and about."
Today, the first day of the New Year, a small contingent of us kept a family tradition of meeting for breakfast on New Year's morning at Edina's Original Pancake House, just to be together. What fun I had telling Lizzie about the uplifting encounter this young man had with her.
So, we cheer each other on. We're meant to do that in life. That's what Jesus did, in His unique, mysterious way. Through questions. And comments. And observations.
It's really the work of love. Of seeing the good in others and bringing it out. Brightening the world. Lifting its heart and giving it courage. Helping it live. And hope.
Good work for us in this year opening before us.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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