507. Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. ~Victor Hugo

E = mc2, WW II, Shakespeare,
Parliament, ABC, Home Ec,
Digital, Olympics, Dewey Decimal,
H2O…

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If one desperately needed to laugh, he/she would probably not look first in the “groves of Academe” for that which brings the gift of uproarious laughter, but that’s where I found it yesterday. And the folks around the table at lunch, including me, whose areas of expertise are expressed above the photo, had all long been high school educators. During our time together in those “groves” we formed bonds like hydrogen does with oxygen to make a life-giving source.

We were young then and raising our families, but now decades later we’re retired. The bond we formed while we taught, however, is strong still, as it usually is, with people who share in each other’s tragedies and failures as well as rejoice in each other’s triumphs and joys. Inside and outside classroom walls, we were part of the village it takes to raise a child, ours and those of others, and overtime the village was forged into a fortress that has withstood the test of time.

After my friends and I retired, we decided to meet for lunch once a month. But because I’ve been experiencing more pain than usual this last year, I have not been joining them for a while. Though not life-threatening the arthritis in both of my feet has kept me from being able to stand very long for years.  Now the Restless Leg Syndrome I’ve been experiencing has worsened rendering some nights virtually sleepless, and the problem with my left knee that developed in January has not been resolved which keeps me hobbling around with a cane. Together these issues have lately had me spiraling down into a dark and humorless pit; so I decided last week I needed to and therefore should attend our little gathering this month, and I’m so glad I did. Though we eat in the restaurant where we meet, my friend Liz always makes dessert, and yesterday she brought her “world’s best” cheesecake. So it was that as all headed home our bellies and souls had been richly fed, and we had shared in long, joyous, and spiritually healing laughter.  Winter had been driven from my face, and now I can enjoy autumn even more than ever.

Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. ~Psalm 126:2a   ✝

Thank you, Lord, for these and all your “tender mercies.”

338. Memory is the diary we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde

Memory is a way of holding onto
the things you love,
the things you are,
the things you never want to lose.
~From the television show The Wonder Years

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More than half a century ago my father died on this date, and yet I listen still for his voice, a voice held dear and silenced forever when his mortal heart ceased to beat. In memory his deeds and words echo on in my heart, and neither the tears of sadness I’ve cried nor the moments of bitter resentment about his early death I’ve endured have muted the sounds of that beloved voice. Regrettably this was a door, and it has not been a singular one, that closed long long before it should have, and none of the ranting or raving or railing against any of it has altered the impact of the losses. The simple truth is that time marches unstoppably on as season after season passes over the fields of our lives; people continually move in and out, and there is a never ending series of opening and closing doors along the way. In the aftermath of unavoidable, grievous experiences our faith is tested, tried, and sometimes even forsaken, but the Holy One who walks with us is never absent nor is the offer of His gift of grace ever retracted.

How very precious every breath and every moment of life is! Declarations of love to family and friends and the Lord should be vocalized over and over again, and we need to hear the same from the ones we cherish. If such things are left unsaid what goes unspoken leaves gaping holes and wounds in the human heart, and the subsequent path to healing is enough of a long and arduous road as it is.

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Psalm 31:1-3  ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!

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