Thursday, November 10, 2016

One Blessed Day

November 10, 2016

The sun came up again this morning, casting shadows from the trees, slowly drying the dew. Hector, our stray cat soaks up the warmth sitting on the end I cut off the barn beam when I made the mantle for our living room fireplace. It sits in front of the house next to a half barrel filled with the remnants of the summer's marigolds. Emma charges across the creek chasing scents and sounds only she can detect, while I changed the oil on my bike and sorted out some of the junk in my shop. It's amazing how quickly stuff can accumulate when you're a packrat.

Spruce needles covering the surface of the goldfish pond needed to be removed, so donning my boots, I waded in with the pool skimmer. My fish thanked me profusely, if that's what's meant by their darting to and fro as I moved the net across the water. Otherwise, they were just trying to avoid being tossed in the grass with the needles, a task at which they were eminently successful.

Earlier in the morning, Harry and I met at a friend's house, taking in the lay of the land as we figured what would need to be done to solve the soggy lawn and water seepage into his basement. I'll get my tractor back next week, just in time to haul it down the road to move the gravel we'll put in the ditch along with the drainage tile. Being able to help our friends is one of the blessings of being a part of a congregation that takes seriously the gospel injunction to love one another with brotherly love, ministering in practical ways to each other's needs.

Jordan's Funeral Home is one of the anchorages of our community. No one looks forward to going there, but we all do, and when we gather, comfort is given and received, and old friendships renewed. The gentleman in whose honor we will gather tomorrow was a pillar of the community for years, having lived his entire life in Sinclairville, except for his military service overseas during World War II. A longtime member of the Methodist church, a dedicated member of the volunteer fire department, and an even more dedicated husband, father, and grandfather, his quiet ways didn't garner much attention, but his sterling character lives on in his children and grandchildren.

Chuck and Kelly are delightful friends who bless us repeatedly with their kindness, their love for Christ, and their devotion to ministry. They blessed us tonight as we sat at their table, talking, laughing, and finally, praying together. They are the kind of friends most people wish they had, but we actually do. An evening with them is never a chore, and sitting with them in the house Chuck grew up in and recently had remodeled, was one of those experiences that fills the soul with deep satisfaction.

Across our country, people are rejoicing or lamenting our president-elect. Some, who two weeks ago were aghast at Mr. Trump's refusal to say he would accept the results of the election, are now refusing to accept the results of the election, rioting in the streets and fomenting the very violence and hatred they claim to fear from a Trump presidency. We live in a crazy, mixed-up world, but most of life consists in the small, everyday events such as I recount for today. Nothing spectacular; nothing earth-shattering, but it is days like today that I know how blessed I am to be a Christian, an American, and a retired pastor living in the same small community where I have invested most of my life. Sometimes I almost want to pinch myself to make sure it is real. It is, and for every moment of it, I give thanks.

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