Yesterday was appropriately marked on the calendar as a day to honor mothers. The day began with Conrad picking up me, Joyce, and Jill in that order. We went with Conrad and Jill to their newly discovered church known as The Vine. The meeting place was near the Old Bag Factory in Goshen.
We went for the first service and chose seats on the 3rd row as we would do at College Mennonite. It is a fast growing church which aims to change Goshen. It attracts young families. The ambiance was much as I anticipated: Loud singing with a platform of musical instruments. . What I had not anticipated was the sermon by a young woman on the question, Who says who we are? Her answer was simple, God does. She supported this answer by careful exegesis of the Biblical text. It was a powerful sermon, and I could not leave the meeting without telling her so.
Then Conrad and Joyce’s daughter Jill took us to Niles, MIchigan to the new home of Joyce’s other daughter Beth and her husband, Mark Hooley.. The Hooleys have purchased a large house to rescue from depredation by a dog that was never seen out of doors by the neighbors. The house stinks!
We ate delicious food in an outdoor patio warmed by fire in a firebit. The food was grilled chicken, baked beans, potato salad, green leaf and fruit salads. As the afternoon wore on clouds broke and we were warmed by the sun.
Beth and Jill were born six years and six months apart, and their choices have tended to keep them separate. Joyce happily saw her daughters begin to really know and care for each other. She told me that it was the only Mothers Day in her memory as adults that the three of them had been together. Her daughters honored her with cards and gifts. She was surprised and pleased.
Conrad and Jill brought us home in late afternoon. I walked into Apt. 83, sat on my chair at my computer desk and fell into a deep sleep. In the middle of the night I awoke thinking of my own mother. The mother of my mother died within a year of giving birth to her youngest daughter, my mother. So my mother did not remember her mother.
When my mother thought of heaven she often spoke of the future joy of meeting her mother for the first time to know and remember her.
If you live in Northern Indian you know spring was late coming in 2018. I’m told that Indiana farmers are concerned about the abundance of rain that keep them out of their fields. I go to sleep each night to the song, “The Farmer Feeds them all.” Here are the words of this reminding song Click here for the words pictures and music. If you want to hear the song sung in country style click here.
This forenoon it was rainy, but I believe it will be clear enough for me to ride my scooter to the grocery store for avocados. The avocado is the prime ingredient for my evening smoothee. Cousin Nate and Kathy Lehman used their iphone for a face to face telephone call this morning. He sent me by email the title of a book he recommends. It is: “What about Now?” By Gina Lake, available on Amazon. We are reading “Radical Happiness” also by Gina Lake. I also recommend any book by Gina.”
In return I told them about “The Same Different as me” which is the story of an unlikely friendship between a white millionaire art dealer and a black sharecropper who is an illiterate and homeless man who lived on the streets of Fort Worth. These two men were brought together for a life-long friendship by a woman who was forgiving, caring and insightful. The men learned that they were the same despite their vast differences.
Joyce and I read another book that stretched our understanding of cultural differences and scientific dilemmas. The book title is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Henrietta produced cancer cells that continued to live and multiply after they were excised from her body. The immortality of her cancer cells gave scientists the opportunity to experiment with them and find cures for many difficult diseases that plague humans. The history of these cells was researched by a persistent white reporter named Rebecca Skloot. This lead her to a small community south of Baltimore, Maryland.
Joyce and I have each lived a long time. In 2000 the average life in the USA was 77; in 2015 the average span was 79 years. Joyce is older than that and so am I. As we read about Henrietta Lacks we wondered if the immortality of her cancer cells has anything to do with our longevity.
As you know, my Joyce and I spend much of our time together reading what interests us. I read faster privately and am reading David Copperfield by Charles Dickens. I must have read it in my youth because I recognized “Barkus is willin” and remembered Uriah Heep. Dicken’s writing is not what I think Joyce and I would enjoy reading out loud to each other. The language is difficult and the times are so different that I am being stretched by what I read. Like other authors, Charles Dickens reveals a lot about himself as he writes his novels.
The same is true of Sarah Quesada. Joyce and I have read her book: “Love undocumented: Risking Trust in a fearful World.” She fell in love with an undocumented person, and the book is about the long process and the struggle they had to correct his status to get married with standing. You may go to her website by clicking here. I encourage you to go there and to follow her blog. You will learn much about relating to your neighbours who are undocumented, fearful, and feeling unwanted. She writes, “I would love to include you in my weekly email, which I call The Road Map. It’s a quick list to keep you informed and inspired as we navigate faith, justice, and culture in our world today.” She makes it easy for anyone to sign up on her blog.
Joyce and I are also reading books by Ron Hall and Denver Moore about their friendship and the influence on them of Ron’s wife, Deborah. Ron is white and rich, and Denver is black and homeless. The books are “The same different as me” and “What difference do it make.” You may link to the work of these authors by clicking here.
In these books we learned of the potential of becoming friends with those who have failed in life and have no hope. We recommend the books to the readers of this blog. When I followiedthe link my self I found youtubes of Ron and Denver telling their story. Click here for a Youtube of Denver telling his story.
As I write I am remembering that Pastor Phil Waite advised the congregation that reading novels would help us to empathize with others. I believe that to be true.