A young former student of mine wrote a sweet email to me this early summer. She recalled walks around the lake in Richfield. She described the day, the scruffy path, the fallen branches, the pools of lily pads, the little ducklings following their mother ahead of her. It was a rapture, a song of nature from the world she knew.
It was a word of comfort, though I don't think she knew that, It was a word I needed. For I long for paths of summer I see vividly in my mind. They are mountain trails, and they are paths to the beach, at the Ossipee I love. Two grandchildren will be going there soon for two weeks. Two daughters have gone, for just three nights there. One will return in late summer, for longer.
The trouble for me is those paths are part of my soul. The little winding river I could paddle in my canoe showed me flowers along the river banks, ever changing. It was a daily trek: just me, and my canoe, the water beneath me and the sky above, and the sun, and the shade, and long, long thoughts.
But this summer is different. I cannot walk far without a staff to lean on. I am old - beyond 90, and with two diseases affecting my body. But two fine doctors are treating me this summer. I live in a senior residence, so I am among the most vulnerable of our population. Across the street, in our infirmary, several people have died of the coronavirus. Our "keepers" work courageously to keep us all alive. But, our vulnerabilities keep us in a "high risk" category. My strong, hard-working wife does everything imaginable to keep me going. I am so grateful. I deserve none of it, but I receive it all gratefully.
To travel would mean dragging three machines which I use daily and taking many, and nameless, medicines. Neither car nor airplane would be an easy way to get to the places so dear to my heart.
So, I try to be a man of peace where I am. For, after all, God is here, is He not? Jesus walks beside me in Minnesota as He would in New Hampshire. What I need to do is to be of good cheer. I need to think about others all around me who need encouragement far more than I. I need to thank God, and the daughter and her husband who drove Molly and me to the Arboretum to drive the three-mile route through groves of maples, and Japanese lilacs, and birches, and pine, and meadow flowers at our feet. They walked slowly beside me for part of the way to the car. So I could do what I could do.
And others now, are beginning to come to me, to sit and talk about life, and living by faith, and keeping a smile.
And Laury, my dear assisting pal helps me write to the world - through this blog. And notes come back. And we encourage each other.
Of course, that's what is needed for pandemic time - people caring about each other. And, as for marching in the streets, now protests that turn to riots, and people getting killed, my call is to keep Jesus ever with us, in our hearts, in our conversations, in our hopes and dreams, so that He can moment by moment remind us that He is the Lord of love, and it is His power, and no other, that America, and the world, needs. We can do it. Even I can. Praise God.
Love you, friend,
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES