A gracious Sabbath stood here while they stood
Who gave our rest a haven.
Now fallen, they are given
To labor and distress.
These times we know much evil, little good
To steady us in faith
And comfort when our losses press
Hard on us, and we choose,
In panic or despair or both,
To keep what we will lose.
For we are fallen like the trees, our peace
Broken, and so we must
Love where we cannot trust,
Trust where we cannot know,
And must await the wayward-coming grace
That joins living and dead,
Taking us where we would not go–
Into the boundless dark.
When what was made has been unmade
The Maker comes to His work.
~Wendell Berry “Sabbaths, II”
This day, our community is recovering from yesterday’s devastating flooding with landslides and trees having fallen over power lines and roads.
Our local folks are miserable on top of the misery imposed by nearly two years of pandemic restrictions, supply chain issues, and now damage to homes, businesses and land.
Front line responders and health care workers step up yet again when needed but they are exhausted too – their branches torn away, their roots weakened by summer drought and now tested in the wind and storm water swirling about them.
So many fallen, so many broken, so many who feel they cannot trust their footing any longer. We feel our foundations slip away; we are unmade.
The Maker sets to work. He holds together what is asunder. He props up and restores with Love, through His people and through His Spirit within them.
Once again, we can Love when we cannot Trust. We can Trust what we cannot Know.
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Without realizing it, we fill
important places in each others’ lives.
It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery,
the mechanic at the local garage,
the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers.
Good people who are always “there,”
who can be relied upon in small,
important ways. People who teach us,
bless us, encourage us, support us,
uplift us in the dailiness of life.
We never tell them.
I don’t know why, but we don’t.
And, of course, we fill that role ourselves.
There are those who depend on us, watch us,
learn from us, take from us. And we never know.
You may never have proof of your importance,
but you are more important than you think.
There are always those who couldn’t do without you.
The rub is that you don’t always know who.
~Robert Fulghum from All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
If there is one thing the pandemic taught me, it’s noticing the people in my life who may have not been as obvious to me before. I hadn’t realized how many folks truly are front-line serving others. It is not only the health care workers, grocery store clerks and school teachers but suddenly the list of “essential workers” has grown large, including law enforcement, plumbers and electricians, child care workers, water, sanitation and sewer maintenance, postal clerks, technicians who fix our cars and appliances and the farmers who tend the crops and livestock we need to live.
I realized how oblivious I had been before not taking the time to acknowledge the daily services I receive from so many varied people. In fact, it became even more urgent for me to tell my family members and friends – some thousands of miles away from me – how much they mean to me.
I’ve tried to remedy this: I try to tell others as simply and clearly as I can, whenever possible, that I appreciate what they have done and what they continue to do under difficult circumstances, how important they are to me and others and make life better for us all. I also need to continue to nurture those relationships with family and friends crucial to my well-being. I need them all.
It is so important for them to know.
Well over a thousand of you receive these daily Barnstorming emails and posts yet I only hear from a few of you – I treasure those messages, thank you! Let me know if I can do better at reaching out to each of you in a meaningful way – either by commenting on posts or emailing me privately at email@example.com – we all need encouragement that we can make a difference in others’ lives.
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