Today was our middle daughter's birthday. How wonderful are birthdays. And families, and our little lives. We all have the small world we are living in. In some ways it is made for us. It has our little haunts. For me, Starbucks and the coffee there, and the friends who come through. And the local garage, and the Walgreens. And, the gas station.
It's a little neighborhood in which we are known. And where we do the small business of our lives.
Today, a tall quiet man from another world I inhabit - the Flagship Athletic Club - stopped briefly by my locker. He commented on the Boys High School Hockey finals coming up. He allowed that we'd each have to cheer for the team from our separate towns.
Then, he commented on what the world around us has become - referring to its out-of-jointedness," Its hatreds, and angers, its rude public discourse, its uncivility. "What are we to do about the world?" he asked rhetorically.
I found myself saying simple things, like "we go to church. We try to thing well of all people. We try to be kind. We try to declare the truth." He was leaving, and our conversation was inconclusive. Many thoughts and unspoken answers hung in mid-air.
But, I've thought of things driving home, and during dinner, and now tonight as we call again our daughter, and she tells us of a couple of things she plans for August in New Hampshire. A climb in the White Mountains on the high Presidential Range, to the Galehead Hut and to Zeland Falls and the Zeland Hut - both of the Appalachian Mountain Club. A three-day, two-night outing, planned by REI, with a guide from the company. She grew up on those mountains. She and I made my last climb together, when I was 75. She wonders if she can make it. She's younger than I was. She's an athlete on the trails. She'll make it, and have a wonderful time.
Unspoken is the truth that it's a way of fighting back. Going with God into His world. Climbing high and looking far. Making new friends. Doing what you did when you were 20, 30, 40 - still young. Letting your spirit soar. Walking with God.
A way of believing, reminding yourself that the mad world is still and nevertheless in God's hands. He made it. He will teach you still. His spirit will help you remember.
Your life can be re-centered, and you can be reminded of the great charges to us, by Jesus, and St. Paul. "Whatever things are good and lovely, think on them." Or, "Don't be afraid. I am with you. Come with me."
Walk with Jesus and listen to what He says. Pore over the great passages of the Bible. Be God's person. Be one who thinks. Who loves. Who cherishes. Who walks humbly. Who shines the light of Jesus' love onto this world that seems sometimes so dark.
It's a way of fighting back. Of overcoming. Of winning - in the great battles of this world.
That's how good is done. And answers are found. And humility is lived. And truth is told. And the world is changed. That's what God's people do.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."