Our Home is Green

Today I talked with Louse for the first time.  Her face is familiar to me, and I decided to introduce myself since she was sitting in her open door and looked lonely. She told me she was waiting for some one to cone to take her home. (She did not mean she wished to die.) I said this was my home and suggested that it could be her home, too.

Not a welcome suggestion. Someone had taken her to her house, but it wasn’t home.  She wants to go home. I offered the information that I take my home with me wherever I go.  I’m  satisfied because I am always at home.  Home is wherever  I am.

Home and light are important to life.  Residents look out of their windows to see the shining sun and falling rain that gives the grass its verdant green color in the spring time and summer. Still, even though I can’t see the sunrise from my apartment, I am aware of that event.  Like me, my petunias can’t see the sunrise, but I am aware of  their wish to turn East.  When the sun sets in the West the petunias stretch their petals to gather its rays into their seeds. The ecosystem on my back porch includes ants, bumblebees and other pollinators and bugs,

Our home is a “Croft.” Its an old word with German origin and comes to us through Scotland.  Croft originally described a fenced meadow-like plot of fertile soil behind  a home. An original croft was naturally green because it’s fertile soil was covered by verdant growth. This “croft” was appropriately called Greencroft. Our croft is carefully maintained with green grass, evergreen and deciduous trees, ponds and a butterfly garden.

My first was in the Greencroft Health Care unit. Then the “green” nomenclature followed me to assisted living in Evergreen Estates, not ever-gray, ever-balding or ever-autumn, but evergreen.   Green is the color of spring or Summer, not of multi-colored autumn or the black or whiteness of winter.  Green suggests emerging healthy growth.

When our daughter experienced her first remembered winter in Pennsylvania she wrote to that she was so tired of black and white.  I advised her to wait, and assured her that she would be pleased with the lush colors of spring in Pennsylvania.

This evening I went by scooter  to College Mennonite Church to the show DISCOVERY, A COMIC LAMENT; by Ted and Company. It was about land, love and loss with a message for the settlers. When Columbus came here he was guided by the doctrine of discovery. Because of it he did not see a settled land, for the people he met were not Christians, so they could not be real people.  So, the Native Americans were dispossessed; their babies dying on the trail of tears, and their surviving children were  robbed of their culture by being placed in boarding schools. The White Settlers asked:

Is this land your land
can’t be— you are nobody
so says God and pope

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Toward the Light

On ascension Sunday, Pastor Phil Waite reflected on his six years of pastoral ministry of College Mennonite.  You may hear this part of his sermon by going to the website and scrolling for an hour into the service.  Click here to hear.  Phil reported that during those  six years, 153 members of the congregation have passed on.

A new family is welcomed to the church

Most of those who passed on were raised in a mono-cultural community that prompted them to regular church attendance and generous giving.

The younger replacements are not as committed as their elders were to regular attendance nor to giving as generously to the church. 

After the service I told Phil that in my life I have faced toward the light.  Phil hugged me and said, “I know”. A snippet of I John 2:8 has long guided me.  The writer of the first epistle ascribed to John reminded his readers of the new commandment that is my motto, and sets the stage for my life’s direction when he declared that “the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining”.

I’ve turned my back to the darkness of strife between nations and tribes, and divisiveness in the church.  I focus on the horizon where the light is already shining; of a world at peace and plenty;  a world in which the petitions in the Lord’s prayer are fully answered;  a world in which God’s name is hallowed, a world to which the Kingdom has come, a world in which the will of god is done on earth as in heaven; where everyone is given daily bread; where all debts are forgiven; a world bereft of greed

When my daughter and I went to Bob Evans for a meal recently I saw a glimpse of the diverse community in which we live.   Seated across the aisle from us were a pleasant, white-skinned,  young brunette. A small, red-haired boy sat next to her. Across from these two was a  girl with a purple scarf wrapped around her head that hid her hair and accented her beautiful face. I assumed she was Muslim. Siting next to her was an African American male.  The happy mingling of cultures and colors reminded me of the diverse community which feeds the church now and even more in the future.

let the darkness go
focus on that before  you
the True Light shines now 

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Catching Up

My cousin, Grace Lehman Burkholder

My computer has been in the shop for clean up and  so I have been using my iphone to contact friends. One friend that I called was Grace Lehman Burkholder, a first cousin who is four years younger than I am. She had sent me a letter by snail mail. Our childhood homes were less than a half mile apart, so we shared many childhood memories. I also talked with Ruth Lehman who is Grace’s oldest brother’s widow. Ruth is also near my age. Now that we have shared telephone numbers we will talk to each other more frequently.

Grace wrote her letter to tell me that our first cousin, Lehman Martin, had died and been buried on the same day of another first cousin’s burial. Lehman’s mother was my father’s sister, and like me was given his mother’s maiden name as his first name. Though we were about the same age we had few contacts through the years.

Below is a picture that may have meaning for the Lehman family.

L. to R: I am setting on the lap of Aunt Lizzie Martin, my mother’s oldest sister,next is my brother, John, then our mother, Ruth, next is my Aunt Susan who was my father’s youngest sister and the mother of  Lehman Martin. On the far right is my father, J. Irvin, who is holding my cousin Aldus Lehman. The picture was taken on the lawn of my grandfather, David B. Lehman”s home. .

Lehman had more conservative influences than I, and was a bishop and church planter in a conservative branch of the Anabaptist movement. He lived for a while in southern Indiana and died in Tennesee. He was a writer who contributed to a devotional booklet titled, “Beside the Still Waters.” Grace read a few rich excerpts to me and I hope to be able to find this booklet on line.

This morning I learned that another first cousin, Emmett Lehman, died at age 82.  He was a lawyer and he and his wife had sons and daughters with advanced degrees.  He was very proud of them.  In retirement he wrote letters to the Lancaster newspaper, written with the precision of a lawyer. He complained when the editors asked to publish  simplified versions of his letters. He didn’t want anyone to tamper with his original wording.

Mary Bew

Also, during this time without my computer I called Robert and Mary Bew who live at Sunnyside Retirement Community in Sarasota.  It so happened that they were in the midst of reading My Spiritual Pilgrimage  as posted on my website.  When they finished reading Mary wrote this evaluation and  sent it to me:

D: for decisive and daring. Daring, not foolhardy , but thoughtfully courageous.

Bob and I were with you as Sarasotans in Florida in the 80s. We were invited to attend a Sunday morning with Grace Mennonite fellowship, a new group, meeting at the Sarasota Christian school.

We became part of this congregation, which needed counsel. I remember my relief when you came to give us that counsel.

Grace Fellowship sent many for discipleship with Youth with a Mission.  Grace was one of the founding churches to establish Resurrection House, a day resource center for the homeless.

Feel free to share this bit of our shared history.
Thanks for sharing parts of your faith journey.


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