My Joy has gone Away

img_1593Yesterday I started the day by saying good by to my Joyce.  Several months ago she dreamed that she had gone to Switzerland which is the home of her Mennonite ancestors.  She awoke with the realiziation that if she were to visit Switzerland in this lifetime she must do it now.

Her husband David and her oldest daughter, Beth, had toured Europe while Joyce chose to stay at home with Jill, her youngest daughter who was in Junior High School.  Fully awake, she determined that she and Jill should visit Switzerland.


Beth sent her mother a walking stick for the trip

Joyce told me of her dream and determination. I made a search of TourMagination’s tours and found an unhurried ten-day visit to Germany, Switzerland and Bavaria and informed Joyce.  Immediately she told her daughters of her dream and contacted the TourMagination office. When I told the authorities in the tour office of my weak knees they kindly informed me that I had waited too long to take the trip.  (So I went to Arizona instead. If you are not aware of my trip, check the archives for reports and pictures.)

Today, according to schedule Joyce is visiting Riquewihr, an ancient walled city in France’s wine country with some houses that were built in the 16th. century. and still standing.  John Ruth is the tour guide.

Riquewihr (France), maybe the most romantic medieval city in Alsace, is hidden among vineyards and Vosges mountains

Situated between the peaks of the Vosges mountains and the Plain of Alsace, Riquewihr is a medieval town right in the heart of the Alsatian vineyards, classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”.

For centuries this magnificent town has managed to combine the quality of its architecture with the quality of its world-famous wines, from where it gets its nickname “The Gem of the Alsace Vineyards”.  (Picture and description from google.)

This after noon I went to see La Bohem with Pavarotti courtesy of Ron Guth, a retired attorney from Louisiana who is a friend and a member of the College Mennonite Church.  I told Joyce I was going to see the opera not because I like opera but because I liked Ron.  Next month I will go because I also like opera.

took My Joy to the home land
of her ancestors

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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4 Responses to My Joy has gone Away

  1. Don Blosser says:

    Martin… I am very pleased for Joyce—a trip back to Switzerland is the kind of family experience that is so important. To see where “our people” gave expression to the faith that we now call our own is an inspiration and a solemn tribute to their lives.
    Carolyn and I have had the privilege of doing that on two separate occasions. My own Blosser ancestors lived in Langnau, and we still find “Blaser” names on tombstones in that churchyard.
    For Carolyn and me–as well as for our children–a visit to Trachselwald castle (prison) was a lesson/experience I will never forget. I stood in one of the cells and looked out the tiny window overlooking the beautiful Swiss valley that could easily be the cover for a Swiss calendar–or a jigsaw puzzle. What a contrast in God’s beauty with humanity’s judgmental religious sentence. It was in that room that I renewed my vow to live in such a way as to give positive tribute to those ancestors, and to Jesus for whom they gave their lives rather than deny their faith.
    Thanks for the reminder–may we together be found faithful in our commitment to live the Jesus life, just as they did—and may our great-great-grandchildren someday say the same of us.

  2. Martin Lehman says:

    Thanks Don for your response. I’m glad Joyce has this experience and I am eager to hear her talk about it. I’m also glad it stirs your memories and that you can share them.

  3. carroll lehman says:

    Ah, my oldest cousin, you are now hooked on opera. I sang about 20 leading roles over my career–never sang La Boheme tho. My last trip to Switzerland was with my brother, Nelson, now gone. It was one of my best times with him. I offered to take my mother after Daddy died, but as was her custom–it was to risky.

    • I never really knew your brother Nelson as an adult. I’m glad that you and he had a happy trip to Switzerland. Brothers deserve such experiences. I relived a happy time with my brother by viewing with Joyce a recording of a Lehman cousins reunion called and moderated by our cousin Aldus. I ocassional call his widow Ruth by phone, and did so a few nights ago. She reminded me that the reunion was held at the Pleasant View Church. If you saw the video you would be reminded that I am not your oldest cousin. Uncle Reuben’s oldest daughter Helen was the first grandchild born in 1919. She still lives at Menno Haven and will be 97 on November 30 of this year. Helen, my brother and other cousins shared memories. Wilmer represented your family. When John first learned of the reunion his immediate response was that he wasn’t interested. When I said I would not go unless he went he changed his mind. We flew together to and from the event.

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