An octogenarian at night

RobinSome Native Americans call March’s full moon the worm moon because it’s the time for the ground to thaw and allow worms to come to the surface and be food for robins.  The sun shone most of the first day of spring in Goshen, Indiana, still there were snow flurries and some robins.  The next day I awoke to snow that had recovered the ground. By 5:00 p.m. that day the temperature was 56 degrees.

In his senior years a friend of mine reflected on changes in his life style.  At his age he could easily doze off at any moment, just like a baby. That happens to the Old Fool, too.  I do try to lie prone in my bed for eight or nine hours. Some of those hours are wakeful

I am alone in my bedroom except for my friend, the CPAP, that keeps me breathing. Some people die in their sleep.  Perhaps their apnea was unattended, so they quietly died. I’ve adjusted to the feel of the mask on my face and often forget that it’s there.

A radio is beside me. I prefer to listen to the National Public Radio station in the morning.  When NPR broadcasts Jazz, I scroll to a religious radio station that broadcasts Christian hymns and biblical sermons. I often disagree with some aspects of the religious message, still I am soothed more by the sound of hymns and sermons than by Jazz.  Morning programs on NPR are the best on the radio, Sunday morning especially. Recently I found the GLOBE, an award winning station sponsored by Goshen College. It features Christian progressive music.  I will listen to it more to see how it fits my taste.

dreamsAsleep, I dream dreams filled with colleagues of the past.  Together we muddle at church planting or solving a dying church’s problems.  But this morning was different.  I dreamed I was a young man in Florida, I think, with a hurricane coming.  I was responsible for a shadowy young woman (Rhoda?) and her little daughter (Rachel?).  We went to the basement, so it must not have been Florida.  I put us under a mattress.  When I crawled from under the mattress I was awake.

Awake at night my brain/mind/spirit  engages in the desire for a better world. It may be prayer. At the moment I am listening to Desmond Tutu describe his God of surprises.  This reminds me of a sermon I preached at Ashton Mennonite Church on the text that declares that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I said in the sermon that if that is true we are in for surprises forever, for Jesus on earth was always surprising the people around him.

graceThe Mennonite Church USA is struggling to find the way.  The conferences in the West and the East are unhappy with each other and the unity we have is threatened and seems fragile. A person from a western conference said “we have the children from the East.”  An aging minister of the gospel asked a daughter about a grandson in California.  When the grandfather learned that his grandson was gay and active in a church in California, the old preacher paused a few moments and then said quietly, “I must learn some more about grace.”

So must we all in east, west, and middle America, learn more about grace.  So I sleep at night in hope, and waken in the morning with hope for a better tomorrow; hope for spring; hope for a world at peace; hope for more surprises, hope that the church will see the visions of it’s youth, hope that the unity of the church will be kept and expanded.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to An octogenarian at night

  1. Miriam says:

    Just delightful.

  2. says:

    Great thoughts, Martin!

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