Post 29/2020 Monday 31 August A trip to JCPenney hardly registers as a day’s noteworthy activity. Nevertheless, our recent visit to the going-out-of-business retailer yielded more than the items we bought. I asked the salesclerk how long she had worked there. “Nineteen years,” she said. I thanked her for all the customers she has served and wished her well in future employment. “You made my day,” she said. Actually, she made my day, too. That nanosecond we shared was more than a financial transaction, it felt like the divine touched all three of us with extended arms of blessing.
Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak stands for tasty food, along with a fried egg or something else. I’ve commandeered the name while I’ve paused my weekly blog to occasionally reflect on a few thoughts from within the close-to-home “bubble” many people are observing. I could call it Bubble and Squawk, but what’s that, me a noisy complainer? No, I prefer “Squeak,” even if it’s definitionally limited beyond the pleasurable sound from a fry pan.
From the reading file
I recently finished reading a historical fiction novel, The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (St Martin’s Publishing Group, 05/26/2020). Austin wrote six major novels concerning the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen lived 16 December 1775-18 July 1817. Jenner’s novel is set in the mid-1940s and involves eight people with a love for Jane Austen who come together to preserve her home and memory.
In May 2019 we visited the Austen Museum in Chawton, Hampshire, with friends Stanley and Marlene Kropf, as part of a visit to the Isle of Guernsey. You’ll find a few details in the 11 May 2019 blog, Ruminations from Guernsey, Channel Islands. Such fond memories I have of the entire excursion.
One fan of Jenner’s book noted “the power of books to unite and heal.” May such uniting and healing overshadow what historian Rick Perlstein calls “the politics and culture of the American berserk.”
I came across a review of Perlstein’s just published book, Reaganland. I don’t think I can hold a 1000 page book in my hands, all-the-same, I applaud this seminal work. What I gain is a sense that those in the body politic who stand against an ordered society, the common good, the worth of every human being are on a path that leads to a rubbish heap. That’s a harsh and incomplete assessment, but for people to operate outside the framework of normal politics, to work against nature and a better society for all simply promotes a downward spiral.
I take the Christian belief that we are part of nature, not set against it. One person said, “Creation is so important Jesus came to be part of it.” A recent Zoom worship service highlighted Romans 12:1-8. We are members one of another, we care about everyone, by promoting the welfare of the city we demonstrate how God would have us live, our outer journey guided by our inner journey.
For goodness sake today
On average, we take roughly 20,000 breaths per day. That can range from 17,000 to 30,000 breaths. Yesterday no longer counts. Tomorrow does not count. Today is what matters. The present is where we live and breathe and have our being. May we be inspired to be and offer goodness today.
Pictures from recent weeks
Marty and I spent two nights at Amigo Centre, near Sturgis, Michigan. Amigo offers a camping ministry, retreat setting and outdoor and environmental education. We walked some of the paths, recalling earlier times we had spent in family gatherings, planning retreats, and other activities there.
For the first time I read the 50th anniversary booklet, Amigo Centre: In Harmony with God and Nature, edited by Elizabeth Stauffer (2007, Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Camp Association).
The story almost overwhelmed me. I came face-to-face with Amigo’s growing pains, adventures, innovations, influences on campers, staff, directors, volunteers. Reading about the host of people who gave time, energy and money, who overcame obstacles and developed a wide-ranging ministry with faith, prayer and perseverance, brought tears to my eyes. Well done, ye faithful host!
In his August letter, Mark King, Greencroft Communities President and CEO, encouraged residents of the eight Greencroft-affiliated communities to “Find ways to be safe, yet get the personal interaction you need to maintain your mental, spiritual, physical and social wellbeing.” Amen.
PS Some readers know I had aortic valve replacement surgery in early August. I’m convalescing well, grateful for the excellent medical team, the unparalleled, loving care Marty has provided, spiritual and social support, and the amazing resiliency of the body to heal. We walk regularly, ranging in total from 1 to 4 miles over the course of the day. More steps ahead!