It is hard to leave. The lake is still. The misty morning fog hangs mysteriously in the trees. We rush to do the last things of closing our symmetrical, beautiful house "that Elton built." Our friend did it all with craftsmanly touch - and heart. He is gone now, tragically suffering through two years in hospital. Were he wealthy and powerful, he could have sued. But he was quiet, soft-spoken, in his New Hampshire way. He simply served, doing beautiful things his hands erected. And gave them to us.
For our life, in this north country land of lakes and mountains he dearly loved. We love it too, where four generations of us have had our eyes lifted, and our souls touched, and our lives formed.
We go back now, this painful, parting day, to the land of the Great River, where our work was formed and fashioned, in church, and hospital, and homes, and cemeteries, and in a remarkable community, of leaders and so many friends so dear, who walked with us many miles, in faith.
There, we crossed America, and oceans, and continents and learned, in dark places, the deepest pain of the human heart. Precious friends are still there from the years of serving and launching into "journeys out." Journeys of the heart.
Now, others go for us, and deep work goes on. The work God gave us. Precious gift.
And we are old. We have driven today, down out of the mountains, crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont, and down into Connecticut state - land of Molly's birth - and then the Hudson, into New York. We faced the sun this morning, we follow it this afternoon, all the while our Kristen driving.
Starbucks was a stop in Keene. Tonight we rest in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, near my mother's girlhood and her lovely paddles on the Susquehanna.
There's a dining spot we've come to love: The Inn at Turkey Hill. The elegant, gently sophisticated Giles will be our host and waiter, in his apron, and genteel flourishes.
We sleep in the Hampton Inn, then tomorrow cross "The Wilds" of Pennsylvania. Then out into Ohio and the middle west, stopping beyond Chicago, then home to Minnesota and the year that waits - almost at our doorstep: business with Laury, lunch with missionary Deb, eager church with Daniel and Colonial, followed by Friendship Village worship to preach at friend Mary Marcoux' invitation, followed by Pilgrim Center retreats, 25-year celebration, and whatever else God has in store.
All things we love, which lessens the pain of summer's end. Will there be another summer? Can we move gently into the newest of the last decades. Doctors will tell us. And Someone far greater will sustain us. It still comes down to one step at a time. Day by day, by day, by day. All of it in God's hands. The One Who knows and will let us know.
We are eager to see you all - so dear to us. To sit, and eat, and talk, and pray - about the deepest of things, and the most wondrous of truths. Bless you. Love you.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES