It is – suddenly – the “good old summertime.” The temperature is right. The pools are open. Green leaves are at their full. The lawns are lovely.
There’ll be a graduation gathering for one of our grandchildren. Another, with her husband is having two weeks at Tamarack Lodge, our summer house on Ossipee Lake. The Freedom Hills of Maine are directly across the lake. The mountains range with: The Ossipees, The Sandwich Range, The Eastern Slopes, The Presidentials. Our vigorous young climbed Lafayette, and Liberty, and Haystack, and Flume, and Garfield, and Bond, and West Bond. They slept two nights in the mountains. They called to tell us about it.
One child is off to a quiet, one-person retreat. Another grandchild is visiting friends, catching up.
I remember those summer trails, and the very same mountains. I’ve paddled daily the little river the young navigated before meeting the loon, up close, at the river’s mouth.
My heart would love to be there. But, SOMETHING ELSE IS EMERGING. Molly said this Sunday afternoon, “How about we walk together out the back door of Covenant Village, and cross the parking area and sit outside at the new tables at Byerlys, and drink coffee?”
It was a challenge. “Let me leave my walker behind, and hold your hand if I need to, and make it my exercise run.” We did. Just Molly, and me. With coffee and tea. With our masks, watching the passers-by. Young and old. Cripples and athletes. Black and white. Round and thin. A delightful parade of summer humanity.
Later, we did some homework, ate our supper, watched the birds outside our window, wrote letters, talked with two daughters on the phone.
Tomorrow I see Laury, my wonderful helper, for website and typing, and high-tech tasks.
The next day we’re invited by a friend of many years, to attend at a northside church, a RAP ON CULTURE, with a handful of people who want to meet, as friends, to bring our experiences together to explore the possibilities of “restorative justice,” ways of uniting, and working together, trying as Christians to be peacemakers in this summer of 2020.
Doors are opening, of possibility. Of talking together. Of renewing friendships. Of taking steps. Maybe making a difference. It won’t be like the ‘60s and ‘70s. But, may be right, for this age and stage. For what we learned – as church, through three tumultuous decades, working with Rotary for Sabathani Center; with Arne Carlson for Alpha House; and Judge Lindsay Arthur for Wayside House, and later the Colonial Residence for Girls, and the My-Your Nursery, and more.
And in the decades after church, fighting the famine, with World Vision, in East Africa, and later laboring for reconciliation in Rwanda following the genocide there, a spreading out to Eastern Congo, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan, South Africa, LeSotho, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania. Work our Pilgrim Center is expanding now.
Ossipee would have been the lake, the hills, the river, friends, rest, and peace. But maybe staying home was for a reason, to do new work crossing over, helping barriers fall, help my true history be recovered, and new partnerships be created.
My sense was that the turmoil, the wind and fire of our city on Pentecost weekend, was in fact a Pentecost sign from heaven, that now is the time to act, to speak, to write, to take hands, to do a new thing, that can be LOVE’S WORK, to be undertaken on our knees, with humble hearts, and Jesus lighting the Way.
It could be, couldn’t it? To help this be a summer, of hope.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES