Last blog from Ossipee -
The days of this last week by the lake I love, are stunningly beautiful. Our forest home, with great, ancient pine trees beside the house, and soft Tamaracks, swamp maples, and birches in the meadow that frame the lake beyond, is its own paradise, in a way preparing our hearts for heaven. How truly "the beauty of the earth."
I had to drive to Wolfesboro today, a half-hour away, to test my blood at the local hospital. Too thin, it turns out. A reminder of the fragility of the body. Especially old ones. And the fact of mortality.
On the way, there was coming color in the trees. And above, deep blue in the sky. Oh, autumn. Crisp air, stirring waves on Ossipee all day.
But our days here, surprisingly, most about people. The new friends next door, practicing neighborliness - determinedly. A particular joy in my summer. God has so beautifully given me, this sedentary summer, life's wondrous future, in people.
Today came another reminder of that reality, as a young couple came to visit us. I had married them in the Ossipee mountains at "Castle in the Woods" 15 years ago. They, with his parents and a brother, had traveled with us to Africa, as Pilgrim Center retreat leaders, loving healers of the so many Rwandans, wounded by the demonic terrors of the genocide.
These two had been happy-go-lucky, yet deeply sensitive in spirit. They were eager learners, solidly stable in their own lives and always ready to touch the hearts of others.
And now, wonderfully, they are experienced missionaries. They, and their four young children, went to Fiji, to work especially with men and women in prison, countering the culture of abuse that lies hidden behind the reputation of islands of sand, beneath swaying palms, surrounded by blue ocean.
They loved the work. Their children loved the life. And now, in two weeks' time, they are going back, for a longer stay, and deeper work.
They said, as they bounded into our home, "we're 40" and they are anointed by the Spirit. We talked of life, and family, and their joy in the life God has given them so far from home.
They've been home in Tennessee for a year. Built a home on Look-Out Mountain. Done successful work in the family motel business. But, they're leaving all that for they know not how long. Yet, they are eager to go, and so are their children.
Remarkable. Deeply moving for Molly and me. These beautiful young adventurers for Christ - about to be "on the road again," going back to people they've learned to love.
They are, in a sense, children of the Pilgrim Center, carrying with them deep things from the healing ministry, and carrying them carefully into the lives they love across the world.
Molly and I cannot go on those high adventures of the heart anymore, but, what a privilege to bend in a circle of prayer with them before they left, and then to yodel them on their way (as is our Ossipee custom as dear ones leave us here.)
Such a reminder that people are the best in this life God has given us. They light up our days. Their own love touches us and blesses us, and fill our days with meaning.
Especially these last Ossipee days. For we don't know whether there will be another one for us. We say, "God willing," when people say good-bye, and "see you next summer!" It is in God's hands. These days, and all our days. And yours. Catch the wonder. Bless you dearly. We'll see you in Minnesota soon.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES