Calm in the storm

REVIVE US AGAIN #11 Sunday 29 January 2017 The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus may be closing down for good on May 21, 2017, but the  political show this week in D.C. sadly failed to match the circus for true deeds of derring-do. It was a frightening week, as though wild beasts have been let loose.

I know some people say of President Trump, “Give him a chance.” “God put him in the White House.” “We need change.” I say, let’s build a country with policies that actually work. Govern all as we would be governed. Be real people, not shadows. Speak words that ring true, not ones we’ll have to eat. Send a healing balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22), not executive orders.

Yet President Trump gives every indication that his deeds follow his words. I hate to think such thinking belies what U.S. writer Philip Wylie (1902-1971) wrote, “You couldn’t squeeze a dime between what they already know and what they will never learn.” For such people there are no new conclusions, no collaborative findings, no alternative solutions. Wylie also said, “If liberty has any meaning it means freedom to improve.”

My wrap-up comments will have to do with a dream I had before the U.S. election. First, though, what follows is a photographic wrap-up of our Thursday walk in Ox Bow County Park. This  week it was extra time with family and friends, winter walks, and worship service today that helped calm my soul.

The Ox Bow walk was cold, bleak, just removed enough to do my body. mind and soul well.

Photos from Ox Bow Park

A dream from September 2016

Some months before the U.S. election I dreamed that I was sitting on one side of my grandmother Rachel’s bed in rural Ontario, Canada, and Donald Trump was on the other side. The bed was empty, though not made up. Mr. Trump was subdued, quiet, human, a visitor in a foreign land.

Here’s the story I told.

Rachel, Granny, as we called her, daily read her Bible and prayed for each of her grandchildren by name. She would do the same for you, Mr. Trump. This is holy ground, a thin space between earth and heaven.

Life for Granny and her husband, Solomon, whom we called Pop, was not easy, though that was never made obvious to us. We loved to come to their house, have a windmill -shaped spice cookie and a peppermint and play Figmill, drawn on the back of a calendar.

Rachel and Solomon lost their farm in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Neither of them ever talked about what it was like to have to auction off their purebred Holstein herd and move to a house that was so small my youngest uncle had to go to a neighbor’s farm to sleep. We knew only the coziness of their tiny farmstead, with pasture for their two Jersey cows, a few pigs, and chickens they raised for eggs and to butcher for Saturday Kitchener Farmers’ Market.

When they lost the farm the family of four boys and one girl moved to a small house a bit more than a mile away and Pop started working for a neighboring farmer. The farmer moved a log house onto a corner of the farm and provided a few acres for my grandparents to graze the cows and plant evergreen and fruit trees and grow big gardens—both vegetable and flowers. That’s the welcoming home we grandchildren knew. My parents a few years later bought the farm where Pop worked.

Pop also hauled milk to a local cheese and butter factory and in the winter did custom butchering. My aunt Elvira worked as a domestic successively for three doctor families in New Hamburg. Granny and Pop and Vera were such dear, loving people, with hearts of gold. When Granny’s brother and nephew wanted them to join a splinter church they were starting they simply said, “No. We’ll stay where we are.”

Rachel was able to come to a shower held for Marty and me at the village hall in Hickson. Every time we were in Ontario we went to see her and Vera. Pop had died some time earlier. One winter, Granny, while Vera was still working, stayed with her son Milfrid and his wife Edna. During that winter thieves broke into her house and took her fine china, silverware and other collectibles. I think all the rest of the family was more put out about the theft than Granny. She would have prayed for the thieves.

Suffering from a hip fracture due to osteoporosis Granny was cared for at the Freeport Campus of Grand River Hospital in Kitchener, a facility that provided complex continuing care at no cost to Rachel. That’s where she died. “She would have prayed for you, too, Mr. Trump and prepared a wonderful meal for you, Just as she did for all of us.”



6 thoughts on “Calm in the storm

  1. I fee like I know “Graanny” as her attitude and prayers lived in my Grandmother Mary Augsburger Greider’s body as well. We loved going to her house for fun & snacks. We need more such Grannys in this world to carry us thru uncertaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain times.


  2. That brought back warm memories of Granny and Vera. I loved going to their home. Every time I smell toast I think of them, having delicious bread toasted over the wood fire on the stove. And just this past week I thought about all the war bandages she knit over the years for the soldiers.


  3. Thank you, John, for your thought-provoking writing of your grandparents. I would have enjoyed meeting these kind and gentle folks. You are blessed!
    God permits things all to happen, yet, He works in all of these things. We do not know where our country is headed, with what has been happening so far in the new administration. It is frightening, indeed.
    I pray that the leaders of our country come to their senses and return to good. The political machinery is cumbersome, but slowly the momentum may change, if one by one our Senators and Represebtatives would listen to their heart, instead of their mind.
    May we know and trust that God is with us…


  4. Thank you, Ginger. I take courage in the angel’s words to Mary, “Fear not.” Concerned, wondering, open to God’s path, yes; fearful not. Blessings to you and Monty. -John


  5. Hello John,

    Wonderful memories of your grandparents, salt-of-the-Earth people! We need more caring and loving people like this in the world. They might pray for President Trump but they wouldn’t likely vote for him!

    Monty & Ginger



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