Less me, more others: reflections on a fall

Featured image: Visiting preacher Doug Kaufman has an adult audience, too, at the end of Children’s Time and sermon on The River of the Water of Life.

Cornwall Cogitation (North America) #3 Saturday 14 October 2017   I fell last week. Short story, I’m recovering well.

Long story, my gratitude wells up for those at hand to help when one is unwell.

I foolishly started to walk across the room in our vacation rental home without paying attention to what was in my path. I was paying attention to a cell phone message. As I said, foolish. I tripped on a footstool, falling backwards on my head.

The CT scan showed a bleed on the brain. I was transferred to the trauma unit of a hospital closer to home, a ride of a bit more than an hour. I chatted most of the way with the EMT.

My gratitude wells up for these two EMTs who were on the last leg of a 24-hour shift. They had been busy all day, their previous stop as standby at a local high school football game. Reassuring, personable, alert to needed tasks and monitoring.

On the radio I heard of two other call-outs in the community we had left, one for a 101-year-old woman with “unknown medical issue.” The other was for a drunk man with a hatchet.

God bless EMTs in all they are called to do. And give these two a good night’s sleep from time to time.

My gratitude wells up for my wife, Marty, and our friend, Marcia, who was spending these three days in Michigan with us. They insisted that I not get up from the floor. Then, from the local hospital, they got me transferred to South Bend Memorial instead of another hospital in Michigan more than an hour from home.

God bless Marty and Marcia in all the immediate and follow-up thinking and acting they did. And may they long have received rest after a near-sleepless night on this last night at our rental home.


Last Saturday we attended the dedication of the Aschliman Peace Arts Center at Goshen College. Marty. (back turned) congratulates Kathryn Aschliman, her early childhood professor, whose passion for exploring how people teach peace to children endures. “I think peace is the heart of Gospel,” the professor emerita of education said. “It’s all about love, acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation, and it’s the heart of the Gospel.”  She continued, “Peace is so multifaceted,. It’s not just violence and no violence, but how do we live, how do we move, how do we interact in a way that provides a peaceful atmosphere.”
Carrie Diener, whom we visited with Marcia Parker last Saturday. Carrie, 100-years-old, had just returned with her daughter Karen from a morning at a Women’s Retreat at Amigo Centre. Carrie lives in an assisted living home at Greencroft Goshen.

More gratitude resulting from my fall

My gratitude wells up for the medical team at both hospitals, the ER doctor, the nurses, the X-ray technicians, the transporters, the call-person who guided my driver to ER at Memorial, the chaplain whose name is Sunday, the environmental crew, the neurologist who confirmed that the subdural hematoma was small enough to take care of itself, and the therapists who assessed that I could maneuver on my feet well enough to be discharged.

Marty and Marcia wrapped up things at the rental and picked me up at mid-day about 18 hours after that frightful fall.

My gratitude wells up for my pastors and friends at church who offered prayers and encouragement.

When one is incapacitated, the world changes. I’m overwhelmed at all the forces of good that come to your aid. We are dependent on so much and so many. Thank God for the assurance that help can be both received and given. It’s a lesson that should not be lost on all who profess to want a better home, church, community, country and world.

As I return to normal in the next weeks, may my gratitude well up for the well-being of all: the people I love and care for and those who care for me. Praise God for the ready commitments of professional, family, faith, and collegial bodies around us. With gratitude, first and foremost, for the Healer of our every ill, God above, before, behind, beneath and among us.

My prayers include those for whom I’m less than encouraged by. Those unwilling, unable, or uninterested in fulfilling the common caring mandate for all of humankind and all of God’s creation. May my prayers not fail them.

Scenes from the week

Epic Art adventures wraps up in Elkhart County this month

Seward Johnson’s bronze sculptures have graced cities and towns throughout Elkhart County this summer and fall. They wrap up their stay October 21.

One of Seward’s series shows people involved in everyday activities. Another series, Beyond the Frame, lets the viewer walk into the scenes of Impressionist paintings. His most recent series, Icons Revisited, “asks provocative questions concerning our society’s embrace of particular visual icons, and their impact and shift of message over time.”

We’ve enjoyed seeing many of these 56 sculptures. For more information visit EpicArtAdventures.com.

Sculptures in Nappanee

Sculptures in Wakarusa


The Gift of the Blue Moment

This from a chapter by the same name in the book Small Graces, by Kent Nerburn:

“Listen carefully to me,” a woman who lived through the terrible times of Jewish classmates being removed from her school, told Kent Nerburn, (Small Graces, 1998). The woman had watched him and saw his loneliness. He was a student alone in a German university.

The woman told him that she saw his “heart running away. You are like so many people. When life is hard, they try to look over the difficulty into the future. Or they long for the happiness of the past. Time is their enemy. The day they are living is their enemy. They are dead to the moment. They live only for the future or the past. But that is wrong.

“You must learn to seek the blue moment,” she told him. “The blue moment can happen any time or any place. It is a moment when you are truly alive to the world around you. It can be a moment of love or a moment of terror. . . .

“This is a blue moment . . . At this moment you and I are closer to each other than to any other human beings. Seize this moment. Hold it. Don’t turn from it. It will pass and we will be as we were. But this is a blue moment, and the blue moments string together like pearls to make up your life. It is up to you to find them. It is up to you to make them. It is up to you to bring them alive in others.”

From a country drive and a county park walk


Last evening we attended a dinner sponsored by Anabaptist Disabilities Network. We heard moving stories of how people with disabilities have been included fully in the community of faith.

ADNet defines people with disabilities as “Those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

God grant us the transformation that comes when individuals with disabilities, and all others, are free to share their God-given gifts and experiences in the Body of Christ.

May blue moments flourish in healing, art, nature, and inclusion of all whom God has made.


4 thoughts on “Less me, more others: reflections on a fall

  1. Sorry to learn about your bad fall, John. Wishing you Blue moments as you rest and recover. Your vacation rental just became very memorable!

    Monty & Ginger

    My iPad says that a smile always increases your Face Value!



  2. Sorry about your fall and I wasn’t there to help pick you up. I thanked God for Marty & Marcia. Thank you for showing me Seward Johnson that I missed otherwise. Amazing that we had so much of his work in Elkhart County. Also thank you for your report of recovery and your getting on your feet again. Please keep on reporting, sharing of unique photos, and the many other things you do for as to make this a better and more interesting place for us to live.


  3. So glad that you are doing well after your fall! It is amazing how quickly something like that can happen. You had a host of helpers along with your dear Marty and Marcia. God is good and had you in the palm of His hand!
    Great pictures, as always!


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