Wisdom

a wise owl

I think I told you I had posted on the door of my apartment a “funeral home” type fan that declared “I am a fan of Menno Simons.” The fan brought interesting comments, questions and occasional chuckles from the residents and their guests who pass my door.  Someone must have liked it, or not liked it. For some reason, the fan was taken from my door.

I allowed the space to remain empty in hope that the fan might show up and I could return it to its place. Finally I typed on letter-sized paper, “This space yearns for words.” and pasted the paper on my door. Now I change the paper daily with what I believe to be a few words of wisdom.  My google search led me to the image on the upper left corner of this post.

IMG_0161When I was ten or twelve years old a minister who visited our family gave me a small leather wall-hanging with the poem about the wise old owl.  I personally kept the hanging until coming to Greencroft. Now Rachel has it.  She had to keep some things for me because my space is so limited.

Richard Rohr wrote that St Francis of Assisi observed that his father owned much wealth and that he felt obligated to use violence to protect it. St. Francis despised all violence so he gave away the inheritance he was due, left the security he had within the city walls and became one of the outcasts of society.

IMG_3277Two nights ago I was sleepless as I struggled to clear the phlegm out of my bronchial tubes. I pondered the difference between ownership and possession. May I possess what I own or do I own something that someone else possesses?  I use a computer which I call my own.  I paid for it.

I pay  for its maintenance. It is mine by right. Permanently? No, some day I will give up my computer and everything else in apartment 83. The unease that disrupts my sleep happens almost every winter. My Sarasota doctor told me to go home, sit in my chair,and drink black lipton tea.

IMG_3282The comfortable old chair became mine when I paid ten dollars for it at Sunnyside’s annual yard sale. I brought it with me to Indiana and took it from my daughters house to greencroft. It had two, maybe three, previous owners.  I call it my chair.

What is more mine than the bronchial tubes that trouble me?  They carry air to my lungs where oxygen is transferred from air to blood cells. Oxygen filled blood is pumped by my heart through my arteries and capillaries to nourish every cell in my body so I can live, move, love and be.

My chair has proven to be sturdy, reliable,and usable. It will wear out. My body is now 89 years old and going on 90. It, too, is mine. The chair comfortably fits my body. Wisdom requires me to acknowledge that my marvelous body, intricate and resilient as it is, will not likely outlast my chair.

Wisdom is time worn
gained through life-long learning
Youth is spontaneous

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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3 Responses to Wisdom

  1. Mary Bew says:

    May your congestion clear up soon. Thank you for writing. About your chair: Sunnyside’s big sale is March 5, Saturday am ! Your chair was a great buy. We too have benefited from donating and from buying. The Sunnyside Foundation continues to be a blessing.
    I read your blog more than I comment. Your friendship and wisdom are a blessing to us.

  2. Jep says:

    Ahhh yes, the chair! And yes, Martin, the bronchial tubes are yours. I am so glad you do not find desperation in the words “Wisdom requires me to acknowledge that my marvelous body, intricate and resilient as it is, will not likely outlast my chair.” Still, there is a deeper meaning to this understanding, it seems to me. The deeper meaning is your understanding of how the Maker and Creator is present through a divine messenger, to be with you through this part of your journey. Thanks for the post.

    • Thanks Jep. I find the divine messenger in the air I breathe. The Bible word for air is spirit. So as the air surrounds my body and sustains it, so the Spirit surrounds the real me, enters me and sustains me beyond my knowing. I often ponder this amazing metaphor as I breathe deeply before falling into sleep.

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