Intersections – Literature and Life

I’m experiencing a summer, as are many others, of unprecidentend ways of being. Church services are suspended. Worship services are being distributed electronically, either in print or using some current methods of live technology via the internet. Visits are on by telephone, email, or meeting apps. Church leadership is wrapping minds and creativity around ways of protecting our members once we resume gathering in one place at the same time.

Presently I am on holidays. Which feels weird and redundant in many ways, since I have only set foot in the church a couple times since the middle of March. The family is not travelling anywhere, or doing anything special. I am making an effort to read for pleasure, my first love.

Today I finished W.O.Mitchell’s The Vanishing Point. I have previously read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Who Has Seen the Wind, How I Spent my Summer Holidays, and Roses are Difficult Here.

Yet, lost in the written world, the real one intersects, drifting in and smudging the lines of reality. This is what I read this morning.

“… She reminded him a great deal of Aunt Pearl, which was the only person he saw in all the time he was getting over his diphtheria. She put on and took off a white smock whenever she come in to him; between times it hung on a wooden tree by the door, and he was fascinated by the way she put it on herself and took it off herself; she was meticulously aware of the outside of it and the inside of it. She explained to him that there was no excuse for anyone getting any disease at all, because germs moved only on surfaces, and if a person didn’t touch the surface of another person, say by shaking hands, then you must wash your hands right away. People were always unconsciously touching their faces — most likely their mouths and that gave the germs a chance to enter the orifice of the mouth. She said that people should be ashamed, really, of catching diseases.”

The Vanishing Point – 1973

Seems there is no escape from the global pandemic. Reminders of covid-19 can be found in the most unexpected activities. Such touchstones are the mark of excellent literature. Real life weaves in and through the words of the author and resonates with experiences and events in our own lives. For me, it is easy to itentify with Mitchell’s work. I have lived most of my life on the edge of the Canadian prairies, his described sounds, sights and smells are part of my DNA.

Three Score and a Day Ago

Three Score and a Day Ago my parents were married.  Ten years ago, on their 50th wedding anniversary, it snowed, quite alot.

Five years ago, I managed to get home to celebrate with them.  Dad, even though he still had some physical challenges from his first stroke, marked the day by enjoying one of his most favourite things in the world.  Along with his youngest daughter he burned the grass along the edges of the farm in preparation for the greening of spring.


Today is Friday, typically a day off.  I putter on Fridays, the only thing I schedule is walking the dog, which I do every morning, and cook dinner.  The rest is puttering, laundry, dishes, quilting.  I catch up on the programs recorded on the DVR, usually it is The Big Bang Theory.  I’m feeling a little blue, the anniversary of my parent’s nuptials heightens how much I miss my dad who died September five years ago.  This was Chuck Lorre’s reflection #589.

Recently I was scrolling through the contacts list in my cell phone, when I came across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had died.  This was a very nice person, someone I enjoyed spending time with.  There was no real reason we didn’t become closer friends.  Just the usual excuses, busy lives, and tossed-off promises of lunches and dinners that would never come to pass.  Anyway, here was all this person’s contact information – email, phone numbers, etc.  Was I supposed to delete it?  I couldn’t think of a reason not to, but pressing the delete button seemed disrespectful, almost irreverent.  To die is one thing, to be deleted is quite another.  Instead, I took a deep breath and called the number.  It went to voicemail (thank God).  I then left a rambling message about how I wished we’d gotten to know each other better, and that I was sorry I didn’t follow up on one of our many threatened lunch dates.  It was a silly thing to do, but when I hung up I felt a small bit of closure.  The my phone rang.  I looked down and saw his name in the caller ID.  I froze.  The room started to spin.  My heart was pounding in my ears.  I took a deep breath, forced myself to press the accept button and put the phone to my ear.  It was his son.  He was confused as to why I’d called his late father.  I promised to explain it over lunch.  Date, TBD.

I have contacts in my phone like that.  Both of my very best friends from seminary.  I can’t bring myself to delete them.  Both deceased, one from cancer, the other a fall (?).  Coincidentally, it is (was) the latter’s birthday today.  My heart is breaking with love displaced to a realm beyond my knowing.


Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.


DSC_0476When the days have run their course
and the only words left,
to sum up a life returned to the source
of all life,
is carved in stone.
Rest in peace …
or with greater eloquence
“If I take the wings of the morning and
dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea”*
to mark the place of eternal sleep.
Words which fingers traced in granite
pale along side the soft passage
of indented prints through concrete not yet
by living creature’s remembered tread
in distant past.
Inevitably the tenth attempt had led
to the final milk scented breath
and, as all blessed with earthly life,
encountered God beyond the veil of death.
*Charles and Anne Lindbergh – from Psalm 139:9


The top is finished!  Now to wait for DH to get the Gamill put back together and think about how to quilt it.  Maybe will use 1 Kings 7:36 as inspiration …
Faith crosses every border and touches every heart in every nation. 
~ George W. Bush

1 Kings 7:36  On the surfaces of its stays and on its borders he carved cherubim, lions, and palm trees, where each had space, with wreaths all around.

At Home – familiar images

“Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.” — Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples

“Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.” — Robert H. Schuller

Mom and Dad have a lovely little apple tree in the front yard.  Spring arrives with the wonder “Is this the year it will produce apples?”  The seasons’ progress can bring any number of events that sabotage the fall harvest.  Frost on the blossoms, the late arrival of pollinators, not enough, or too much rain, or sun, insects, birds, hail, wind, bears, deer, early frost.  Late July the tree was laden, Dad was considering  it time to get the electric fence up to discourage the bears and deer from consuming the ripening fruit.  (He wires it directly into the overhead hydro supply to the house…)  Three days later it proved to be unnecessary.  A huge storm rolled through, one of the most intense I have ever experienced while in the home of my childhood.  More about that in a forthcoming blog.  The next morning arrived with most of the apples resting, soft green globes in emerald grass.  My sister collected them.  She and Mom pealed and cored and baked an Apple Betty (Crumble) out of them.  The fruit was not nearly mature enough, the finished dessert presented leathery fruit, cinnamon flavoured, blanketed between buttery oatmeal and brown sugar.  A valiant attempt to put the fallen fruit to good purpose.  We all tried a portion, but most was still waiting in the pan when we left a three days later.  Maybe next year?

Proverbs 25:11
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

Quote of the Day

Rev. M. S.

Yea, I echo what so many of you already have said… nobody should ever feel unwelcome… in the church, or in an online discussion about church matters. We are all Sisters and Brothers. Sometimes we sit on opposing sides of the living room, but, come meal time, we still are fed at the same table.

As far as scripture goes… yes, I follow the Bible passionately. I take it so very seriously. I take it so seriously that I am unwilling to allow my oppinion or my theory to change the Bible. I do the exegetical work. I do the prayer work. I do the meditational work. I listen for the voice of God. And, I wrestle with the pieces of scripture that make me scratch my head. I literally get down and wrestle with them. Because my outcome from these processes is different than yours doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong. It simply means that we came out with different results.

And, I’d even be willing to throw the entire Bible out as long as I can hold onto two precepts… Christ loved everybody without exception, and I should love everybody without exception. The entire rest of the Bible can go, because, in the end, it all gets boiled down to those two points. There’s no need for interpretation there. If it isn’t loving… truly and purely loving… it’s wrong in the eyes of Christ. No exegetical needed. No debate necessary. Simply, and purely, love all people without exception. Forgive their sins ( I need not know what they are by the way) and simply love them for who they happen to be.

T … and I particularly enjoy those moments the most, those “What the HELL do I do with this scripture?” moments. It’s almost as if I can feel Christ standing right next to me, and as if I can hear him chuckle at my being flumoxed.