Molly smiled at me over lunch, and said, "I have an unusual thought. In case you were not able to come back to Ossipee next summer, maybe you would like to write a good-bye to the lake you love."
Several friends have assured me they would see me here next year. I raise the caveat, "Yes, if I am alive." They look at me with an affirming love, and say, "Oh, I am sure you'll make it."
By then I will be 90. But of course, at Covenant Village I live among many 90-year-olds. Some, well beyond that. I am confident Molly will live long beyond that. All the signs of enduring vigor are there in the capacities and the way she is able to live her life.
I have been strangely dogged by doctors and hospitals, medicines, and treatments, despite my daily exercises and attempts at strength over the years.
My sister, bound to her chair as she aged next door to us on Ossipee Shores, always insisted, "I want to die, looking at the lake." Alas, that was not granted to her. Yet, I have much the same feeling.
The New Hampshire poets have written about this lake and these forests and they have helped to stir the deep feelings I long have cherished about this place of my summer childhood and my growing up, and return after return, bringing my Molly and our children with me. And now their children have felt what our Lizzie calls "the Ossipee mode," and have found this to be sacred ground to them.
I'm not sure I ever could say good-bye to this lake and these hills. They are part of my soul, my being. My pictures are in my heart and in my sketch book. They are part of what I feel about life, about God, about this world and about eternity.
I hope I can say good-bye, in my heart, when I have to. But always I will wish and pray to come again, somehow. This is all part of the gift from God, of my own life to me. I so gratefully receive and cherish it, for me, and mine.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES