Give me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My script of joy, immortal diet,
y bottle of salvation.
My gown of glory, hopes true gauge,
And thus I'll take my pilgrimage.

~Sir Walter Raleigh

A hiker, walking for pleasure, likes to choose between several alluring trails.
The pilgrim desires only the road that leads home.

~Frank W. Boreham

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Distresses and Blessings

Dear Reader,

I have been away from posting of late and with reasons good enough to perhaps warrant your forgiveness.  Shortly after my last post, I received news that my First Hero and Last Champion was found to have an inoperable brain mass.  This mass is fast moving and quickly destroying all faculties and abilities in its path.  

Such  news is always devastating.  Even more so, for those of us who have loved this man well.  As my own dear son remarked : how sad he couldn't die as he lived, with poetry.

My dear, brilliant brother lived his entire professional career in the sphere of academia.  When he received his degree in Library Science if I remember correctly, it was one of only six in the nation in those early years. 

He has traveled the world, assisted learning centers, given counsel to governments, been instrumental is establishing museums and their collections.  He has authored books and encouraged generations of students in their pursuits of excellence.  And along the way has been a trusted and encouraging friend to many.

He has been a most kind and loving man in all his relationships, familial and otherwise.  He has rubbed shoulders with the famous and influential yet never lost his delight in telling of receiving his primary education in a one room country school.

As I look around my personal library I realize in very large part it came from him -for birthdays, Christmases and 'just cuz' gifts.  Books and learning have been his life.

For much of our adult lives geography has separated us, yet the childhood bond of siblings only three years apart has never weakened.

While I am prevented from being by his side in these his last days as his world becomes smaller and darkness comes in, my time has been spent, via technology, sending him daily chronicles of our country childhood as shared and remembered.  It has taken constant thought and much writing.  Yet it has been a joy and great privilege.

And here, Dear Reader is the blessing!  Never before have I thought of the astonishing gift that memory is.  Certainly all throughout the scriptures is the call to 'remember' given..remember My Words... My Laws .. My Sabbath .. remember the way in which you have come .. My comforts in the night seasons .. My death till I come ... Remember.  We are called to set up alters of remembrances .. Ebenezers .. noting times and circumstances when our God has drawn near and provided  help, refuge, strength, mercy, love etc.

Remembering and memories are true gifts and reasons for giving thanks. I'm aware too that one of the comforts of old age is the looking back.  Perhaps the reason for the vividness of youthful memories is the comfort it brings in last, difficult days.  Perhaps that too is a gift and not just an evidence of one drifting in ones dotage!

For my brother and me, it has been a treat to call to mind the small things and simple people and godly parents that made up the landscape of our childhood.  This has not been a time to remember the unpleasant, but only  the bright joys and loves and goodnesses.  

It has been a challenge and a stretch to be sure.  It has also given me a reason for my days.  It has given us deeper love and appreciation for the pilgrim path we have traveled.  It has given me a fresh glimpse of the Faithfulness of our God whose goodness and mercy truly has followed us all the days of our lives.  I now have a most detailed relief map of our Faith and that of our parents.

This childhood documentation will continue on until my dear brother's Arrival safe Home.  Then, perhaps, I will more faithfully resume blog writings.  In the meantime, Dear Reader, I have a more pressing claim.  

I know you understand.  And thank you.