Bob and Carolyn Zook founded a home for elders called Cottage Garden. It houses a small group of elders and helpers who need a verdant place to flourish. So Cottage Garden is filled with love, laughter and living. Bob and Carolyn invited me to come nd share some life stories. I asked how I would know their wants. Bob is a pilot and was in the air while I was at the cottage. Carolyn sent me the following list of helpful questions:
- What were the turning points or steppingstones in your life?
- Who were two or three individuals who most influenced you in your life?
- What do you know now about living a full life that you did not know when you were 30?
- What were some of the more difficult experiences that you faced and what did you learn from them?
- What is the secret to a happy marriage?
- What are the three most important books you have read?
- What are the top two values you live by now?
- Do you have a favorite story or poem to share?
- Losses give significant contour to our lives. What losses have shaped your life?
- As a child, what made you unique from your peers or siblings?
- How did your personality and gifts first begin to show themselves?
- What are the values you may have discarded along the way?
- What experiences first illuminated the knowledge that you were being called to an understanding not given to you by your parents or elders?
- What has been significant and shaping relationships with your adult children?
- Describe a single event in your childhood or adolescence that exemplifies the richness or the poverty of the culture you grew up in?
I used only the first question to prepare for talking with the elders and noted 12 steppingstones in that quesion. Here I share one stone related to my education. I am not an athlete. All through the eight grades I was the last to be chosen on a team to play baseball. But in the classroom I was at the top of the class in reading. As I moved from class to class I read all of the books in our small class library. I even read dictionaries.
When I was fourteen I attended the Eastern Mennonite High School at Harrisonburg, Virginia. Professor Dorothy Kemrer taught me Latin for three years. This expanded my English vocabulary. I am still a friend of words.
Moses Slabaugh taught introductions to the history and geography of the Old and New Testaments. He showed me that there could be several interpretations of a single Bible passage.
For instance, Jesus prayed in the Garden, “take this cup from me.” The cup is usually thought to be death on the cross. However, Slabaugh said that anyone who sweats blood is about to die. Knowing this, Jesus prayed that death in the garden would be taken away. but not death on the cross. As Jesus was leaving the garden he said to his followers, “the cup that my Father giveth me shall I not drink it.” God answered his prayer and was spared death in the garden. He willingly drank the cup of death by crucifixion.
I explained to the elders and helpers that this understanding allows me to look for multi-meanings in a Bible passage and be more independent in my study.
One man besides me!
Of women I’ll ask, tell me
about loved men, please