Dear Friends, as I write this, I’m filled with mixed emotions. It’s not only leaving our Lincoln Park family but also retiring after many years of ministry that has me deep in thought.
Poverty, Imagination, Community, Solitude, Memory
From Hildamay Bartron
Editor’s Note: These lovely vignettes from Hildamay Bartron seem soothing and perfect for these COVID-19 times.
There wasn’t much fanciness in our home. No bathroom, no running water from October until the April rains. Second, or even thirdhand clothes and furniture. A car that was laid up more than it ran. How were we to know that this kind of poverty would make your bounty so special.
With apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees, berries galore, straw, goose elder, back and raspberries, wild asparagus, water cress, dandelions, hickory nuts. All growing free from Your loving hands. How grateful we were for these gifts.
Thank you God for the blessings of poverty.
There was nothing we could not be. One day cowboys riding oil drum horses. The next day climbing through the trees giving out with a wild Tarzan yell. Or playing hide-and-seek in the corn. What fun to slide down the haystacks in the barns or stick our feet into a clear, cold brook. We were explorers, mountain climbers, animal tamers.
Thank you, God, for the blessing of imagination.
Small town living had its drawbacks. Everybody knew everybody else’s business. Not one blemish could go unnoticed. It was tow the line or travel over the party line. But let a tragedy occur and the whole town became involved. Helping hands reached out to ease and comfort.
Thank you God for the blessing of community.
Quietness offers opportunities for self examination. Am I on the right track, and is my soul at peace? Sometimes when I sat praying, my furry friend and companion would join me, purring her own little prayers. Listening to wind rustling the leaves or rain tapping on the windows is so soothing. Train whistles bring thoughts of Dad, who rode the rails as a young man. And, believe it or not, there is a rooster somewhere in our neighborhood. Solitude may be another word for lonely to some people, but to me it is peace.
Thank you God for the blessing of solitude.
My sister and I take many trips down memory lane. We enjoy revisiting our youth and are amazed to see how much has changed. Some good, some not so good. We wouldn’t dream of returning to wringer washers or hanging clothes. Who would want to give up air conditioning to suffer through hot, sticky nights again? But, we could certainly do without so much traffic, and a lot less noise would be nice. As I travel into my senior years, I am aware of the many friends and loved ones living in my memory, which is the album of my life.
Thank you, God, for the blessing of memory.
Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash