Written on Monday, January 7, 2019:
Today I came home feeling good from being "out and about." It is a strange, intangible sensation. Feeling a little bit stronger. Feeling a tiny bit exhilarated. Feeling somehow not so tired. Hard to pinpoint. Hard to define.
During my twice-daily VEST chest-thumping treatment, I've been lately reading Billy Graham on "Nearing Home." A lot about old age, and the process of getting there. Of the things you can't do any more - but also the things of the Spirit you are drawn toward doing. A kind of wisdom into which you come, that you can actually pass on to others.
In some ways it's been a little more of old age than I wanted to hear. Some of that concentration can get you down. He even wrote about the tendencies toward depression of some older folks.
But, for me, the whole day turned around. A phone call reminded me that at 9:45 am I had a toenail clipping appointment. I quickly ended my vest-pounding treatment, jumped into my clothes and hurried downstairs.
My sweet practitioner washed my feet. It reminded me of the thousands of pairs of feet Molly and I had washed during our Pilgrim Center healing retreats in the genocide countries of Africa over the 23 years we were working regularly in that ministry.
Then my over-long toenails were clipped. Then filed. Then washed again. Sort of a healing exercise in itself.
Then upstairs to finish morning meds, a piece of toast, a bit of milk, and then off to Park Nicollet for my INR blood draw.
Suddenly one of the young men of our Advent 7:00 am Bible Study at the Hilltop Restaurant was standing before me. He'd brought his mother for her blood test. I knew all was not well between mother and son. "Look Mom, who I found here," he said to his mother, "Arthur of Colonial. Maybe he would pray for us." She grudgingly brightened up. I prayed for the peace that passes understanding to be upon them. An indirect prayer for reconciliation.
Then, I was on my way, realizing that meeting was not an accident. It was a "divine appointment." Perhaps the joy started within me then.
Out at the Flagship some of my coughing came on. "You all right? Want some water?" a stranger in the locker room said. "Oh, I'm fine. It's chronic." He disappeared and then reappeared. "I'm a poor listener," he said as he handed me a cup of cold water.
Then a former parishioner approached me. "Got your glasses?" he asked. "I'll read this to you" - from his iPhone. The day's faith reflection from my friend Steve Moore who sends out his word of encouragement daily to hundreds, perhaps more, across the country, if not the world. A shout out about a "great Minnesota pastor" who had taken many cold Minnesotans to Africa to help the poor of the world.
What a surprise. A quick affirmation, in a public place, from a friend on the Way.
Upstairs another coughing, and a young woman bore down on me from across the gym. "Are you all right? They told me you're an old regular here. You're...How old?" She was a cardio-therapist and wanted to help. We talked. I explained. "I'm Heather. We'll meet again and talk sometime."
Several of the little contacts with friends ensued, and finally I was home.
Something was happening to me. I confessed it to Molly at dinner. "I feel kind of good. Sort of exhilarated. Lifted. Not tired. Alive, and glad to BE alive. I think I'm feeling even stronger."
Well, who knows. All I know is there was a difference. It is lasting into the evening. I found I wanted to write about it, to say to my friends who might read this: "You know, He comes. He really does. He flings an arm around us and lifts us up. He lightens the load. Mysteriously. A visitation of the Spirit, working through a handful of people who attended me. Almost angel visitants who helped this old guy have joy on a drab day, and have his heart lifted, and his body lightened, and his spirit filled with hope.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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