Prairie View

Sunday, January 22, 2017

PSA for the Locals

Dorcas Smucker, blogger and author, will be in this community for several days this week.  She plans to be at the Gospel Bookstore on Tuesday to sign books and meet friends and make new friends.  Here are the details, copied from her Facebook post:

Kansas friends: I'd love to see you and at least say hello at a book signing/meet-n-greet at Glenn's Bulk Food Shoppe & Gospel Bookstore on Tuesday, January 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
6405 W. Morgan Ave., Hutchinson, KS

I hope this event is profitable all around.  Thanks to Dorcas for taking time to make it happen.

Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inauguration Day Celebration

Today I saw the first outdoor bloom of the 2017 year.  It was a witchhazel blossom at Dyck Arboretum in Hesston--tiny fronds of yellow on the otherwise bare branches of a tree.  My horticulturist friend Pam was the first to spot it, and she documented this phenological event with her camera.  I presume that she also recorded it inside the visitor's center where, in a nod to Aldo Leopold, the American father of Phenology, this 35th Anniversary year has been designated as a year-long celebration of  Leopold and his work.  The witchazel bloom makes today a day of celebration for people like me.  Spring and summer are coming!

Eight years ago on the day Barak Obama was inaugurated, our family also celebrated.  My mother had heart surgery several months earlier, on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  Recovery had been arduous, and she had struggled to overcome a serious bacterial infection.  During that time she could hardly eat, and we were worried that, although the surgery was successful, Mom might not regain her health.  Then, when the infection finally was conquered, things began to look up.  Mom could sleep in her own bed again instead of in the hospital bed we had moved into the living room.  On January 20 we moved the hospital bed back to the "invalid equipment barn" at Cedar Crest, and the extended family gathered to celebrate Mom's progress.  We joked with Mom about having an inauguration day party, and my cousin Eldon, who stopped in that evening for some reason, joined the frivolity, teasing Mom about her political sensibilities.

This morning I drove all the way to Hesston in very dense fog.  It was unnerving, and I prayed that I wouldn't miss my turnoff toward Hesston--and that no oncoming traffic would suddenly materialize when I was in the middle of my left turn.  Ahead of me, a semi slowed dramatically in preparation for a right turn--at the same intersection where I needed to turn left.  I saw where I was, and I was on my way north with new assurance, grateful for how the Lord worked out the little details I was concerned about.  The drive home in late afternoon was less harrowing, but still very dark, with heavy clouds overhead.  Now most of the Western sky has cleared, and the sinking sun was that hot-pink-orange, molten lava color that compels me to watch until all traces of it disappear.

Last week was the second anniversary of my mother's burial.  We have not yet passed the two-month marker since my father's death.  Having spent the day at Dyck Arboretum today reminded me of the days in early July when we had the last family gathering there.  My dad was present then and I missed him today.  Pam knew him too and extended her condolences and shared a good memory of him.  That was one of the times I missed Dad.

This was a good day to look for things to celebrate.  Memories of healing and restoration, and glimpses of rebirth in the natural world didn't set my whole world right, but, on a foggy and dark inauguration day they bring a measure of comfort and peace.  The Lord can show the way and the skies may clear, and the Son will most assuredly shine brightly, transfixing all those who gaze on Him.  This I can celebrate.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Not Inspiring or Profound

I have perhaps only one Facebook friend who is a vocal Obama fan.  Her name is Almaz, and I learned to know her when we were both Sterling College students.  She is, in fact, one of two students I learned to know there with that same first name.  The other one is the sister of a third student, who since then became Miss Ethiopia, and now has her own fashion consultation business in the US.  All of them were from Ethiopia, and all of them were Christians.  When I first learned to know them, their country was Communist, and they had to leave the country furtively to come to America, but their Christian parents were desperate to get them to a safe place elsewhere, and they made the necessary arrangments.  At least two of them live now in the US.

Even without Almaz' posts I had a few Obama-fan thoughts of my own recently, and it dawned on me that it's because he reminds me in some ways of my brothers and other good men.  Of course, thankfully none of my brothers issue executive orders that mess with people's ideas of what is right and wrong in gender matters.  Neither do they support abortion rights. For those things I do not admire Obama.  I am also thankful that, unlike Obama, none of my brothers has ever idealized seeking political office.

Like Obama, my brothers are, however, cool and collected.  They're intelligent and articulate.  They are not philanderers, but care for their families and remain loyal to them.  They do not typically rush in "where angels fear to tread." They feel no need to make race an issue, ever.  Like Obama's family, ours has individuals of various racial/ethnic flavors.  They aim to settle differences by discourse and negotiation--not by issuing threats or launching attacks (my brothers' record on this is better than Obama's, and Obama's is better than that of many past presidents).  My brothers are affable.  They do not ostracize those who are marginalized in society.  They treat others fairly and respectfully.

In spite of a fairly humble upbringing, Obama and my brothers are at home in a wide variety of settings--not in the centers of power, in my brothers' case, but in academic settings, in foreign countries, in wild places, on basketball courts, in poverty-stricken areas of large cities.  My brothers are more at home on farms than Obama is, and Obama combines in his persona more of those "at-home" places than any single one of my brothers does.

I apologize if you were hoping for something inspiring and profound.  Attempts at those kinds of thoughts have had to go in other directions of late, and I don't have a lot to spare here just now.