I gulped mighty hard yesterday. I was out in the yard cutting off some flowers that were done AND being chewed on by mosquitoes, when I found a red leaf in the yard AND a yellow gold leaf. The same day -- always a sure sign that Fall is sneaking in the back door! The past few weeks have been really humid. We get a rain shower almost every night and then when the sun comes out we are looking at 83% humidity or more. Now if you are laughing and thinking, "That's nothing!" Remember we usually sit in the 20 or 30 % ranges. I seem to be wet and dripping most every day and I don't like it! Period!!
Four more Sundays and then I will be through with my time as interim at Zion. It has been a joy and a blessing and has gone by very quickly, but I am ready to retire "again". The past five years since I retired in 2014, have been busy ones. As I look back I did pulpit supply for multiple Sundays in the area. Then I did a 5 month interim in Savage, Montana, and a 10 week interim in Baker, MT. and now an 11 month interim at Zion in addition to many, many Sundays hither and yon. It is always difficult to let things go, especially good things that give you joy, but "for everything there is a season" and I believe we have to bow to whatever season we are in. It doesn't mean I am done pastoring, but a rest and a reorganizing my life is always good. Something to stimulate the mind as well as the body.
I have really had to slow down this year with hip, leg and neck issues. I have now had an epidural and a cortisone shot and lots of physical therapy and I am moving around much better. Also lots of prayers (thank you, Lord). There is still pain and stiffness, but it is so much better. I even started painting my kitchen cabinets. Very slowly and trying to be patient with the process and enjoy the results. Hard for me. I always just want to get things done.
Today a friend and I are going to a retirement coffee for the local museum curator and then out for Sunday dinner. We always find plenty to talk about.
Raining this morning. Last week-end we had almost 4 inches which is highly unusual. Of course if the wind starts to blow it won't last long. But we will take what we can get.
Had the cortisone shot in my hip yesterday. Still limping around but hopefully it will at least ease the pain. I have had my eyes opened to the disabilities of chronic pain. After a day at work or trying to do things around the house it is exhausting. I pray for people who live with pain as a daily part of their lives. I appreciate the prayers that are going up.
Zion's new pastor will arrive the end of September. My last Sunday is the 22nd. You are always ready to be done with a job and project, but in the church there is the Spiritual realm as well and that ties you to people so much more closely.
This year I have buried three people I loved. Joan Schmidt died August 7th, 2018; Carole Dick's funeral was August 2nd; and Merle Aus' funeral was in April. All of them were special. After doing over 225 funerals, including Dad's funeral, through the years I think I am ready to wrap up that part of my life.
Being on City Council has been a fun experience. Everyday I learn something from the team of experts that run the City. Several on the council have been on several terms as well so it is best to listen. The local paper is always there so whatever you say is put out there for everyone to read. Not sure I am so crazy about that!!
I am pretty well moved back into my house again. That adventure in Real Estate was a learning experience. The time was well-spent, however, in down-sizing. A couple of boxes left and other things to carry out, but I am liking what I see. Will have someone in to paint this fall. White is the color of the day! Swedish colors they call them (Pinterest). It will go well with my little Dala Horse collection.
Made blueberry muffins this morning. Heading out now to the post office, the hardware store and filling up the car with gas.
Trying to pretend the administration in Washington D.C. does not exist is not working. For my own peace of mind I have tried, but today the news out of the capitol once again was explosive, unreal, and senseless.
First, the Endangered Species Act which has protected disappearing animals has been gutted. The new rules will go into effect in about a month. The idea of God’s creation, the beauty and wonder of these creatures with whom we share this planet is being threatened. This past week-end I had time to appreciate Makoshika Park with its long, majestic vistas, soaring hawks, eagles and turkey vultures. The quiet beauty of this little corner of the world is just a sampling of what a marvelous world we live in. Have you stood and looked into the depths of the Grand Canyon, or craned your neck to see the tops of the redwoods, or hiked a mountain trail and shared a meadow with deer or antelope or coyote, or watched a trout swimming lazily in a mountain stream, or landed a paddlefish at Intake? When we recognize the natural world, we move beyond our narrow little lives. Without nature, animals, forests, lakes, rivers we are only a shell of everything we can truly be. A few quotes came to mind: The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness (John Muir). There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before. (Robert Lynd) Touch the earth, love the earth, honor the earth, her plains, her valleys, her hills and her seas; rest your spirit in her solitary places. (Henry Beston). The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. (Annie Dillard)
Second, today the regulations for allowing people to enter this country as legal immigrants are going to require a good credit rating, having private health insurance, and having substantial financial means. Wow! That really threw me because then I should not be here. Nope, my grandfathers would never have been allowed to enter the United States. My Norwegian grandfather was the youngest son in a large, very poor family. His oldest brother came to this country and began to work and build a little nest egg. Finally he was able to send for his mother and father and little brother to come to America and have a place to live. My grandfather was 7 years old, and he always remembered his father’s frustration that when they came through Ellis Island the people were put in pens “like animals” (Sound familiar.). It wasn’t until Grandpa was 40 years old that he was able, through the Homestead Act, to get land in western South Dakota and make a life for himself and his family.
Grandpa Anderson was the youngest in his family in Sweden. His father died when Grandpa was nine years old. Three of his siblings came to Minnesota to find a way to work themselves out of poverty. When Grandpa came he was 19 years old. His older brother was going to get what was left of his father’s copper business so Grandpa had nothing. Coming through Canada he entered at Pembina and went to Minneapolis to stay with his sisters for awhile. Finally he went to South Dakota and also filed on some land in the hopes of making a life. It was never easy. But Grandpa Larson served in the South Dakota state legislature for a number of years and Grandpa Anderson was a World War I veteran and raised three sons who served in World War II and Korea and helped educate his five children
Credit? Health insurance? A savings account? I am wondering if I will have to pack up my bags and go back to the “old country” because I certainly don’t qualify under these new rules. What is your story?
The past 10 months have been a whirlwind of being back "in the saddle again". The congregation at Zion was kind enough to take me back to help fill a gap when our pastor left. I offered, they accepted. It was a good thing for me. I haven't had time for too much else since writing a sermon every week takes away from other things and requires a lot of concentration and prayer.
But it has been a blessing as ministry always is. The new pastor will arrive in about 6 weeks so I have my bags packed. I am ready to get back to my retirement!!
The plans I had for selling my house and building a small house were derailed by falling house prices and rising construction costs where never the twain shall meet! So I unpacked boxes and re-arranged furniture and am now living in my old/new house. I have unburdened myself from lots of odds and ends and it is a good feeling. Less truly is more.
Picture above: About 600 head of buffalo at Great Plains Buffalo Ranch, Reva SD (Phil Jerde)
Most of the time it is a horror to remember the atrocities of history in this world. Wars have been endless as nation after nation has attempted to conquer the known world of their time and to wipe out other people who get in their way. European history is a trail of bloody warfare as peoples and nations have dragged the boundaries of countries back and forth depending on who is in control. More than once the nation of Poland disappeared from the maps of Europe as the result of conquest and absorption. World War I was a war between ethnic groups before it became world wide. The Serbian War in our own time was an effort at ethnic cleansing that took the lives of thousands; in Cambodia the death toll of the Khmer Rouge is unknown. Bloody death and hatred seem to be more the norm than times of peace.
But I find it interestlng in this time of mass shootings and racial violence that no one has brought up the prejudice and violence against Native Americans. Now, of course, no group of people is innocent of prejudice. Indian tribes fought each other to near extinction, taking slaves from the defeated. But when we try to understand the whole premise of immigration it is good to remember that the Indians on this continent wanted nothing more than for Europeans to “go back to where we came from”. We are moving closer to dropping the observance of Columbus Day in October because it is not something Native Americans want to celebrate. As interlopers on the American continent, Europeans have a lot they are responsible for when it comes to attempted extinction. Read Helen Hunt Jackson’s A Century of Dishonor and Dee Brown’s Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.
Too often the excuse for making amends is something like, “Well, I wasn’t born then. I am not responsible for what happened.” But that is what it is — an excuse. Just as we carry the genetic code of ancestors long gone, we also carry responsibility for what has been done in the past. Many of the issues on Indian reservations today are the scars of policies implemented long ago.
Montana has seven Indian reservations and several surrounding States have many more. Indians did not become U.S. citizens until the Indian Citizenship or Snyder Act of 1924. From 1492 until 1924, hundreds of Indians were systematically killed. The Sand Creek Massacre saw 200 Cheyenne — men, women and little children killed. Colonel John Chivington, governor of Colorado Territory, wanted the Indians removed from the area. Saying “Nits make lice,” he gave permission for his soldiers to kill Indian children. It was the business of this country in its expansionary period to rip away the lands of the Native peoples because it was “good business”. Treaties were land grabs until the Natives no longer believed the words of white people and they still don’t.
Unfortunately we can never right the sins of the past, but we do have to recognize them as part of the fabric of our history. History is the continuing attempt to make life better for those suffering and walking in solidarity with people of all races and colors who are part of the history of the United States of America.