Saturday, September 09, 2006

Response to Pant's Post

The following three responses I received from my widowed writing friend and mentor: She is a dear woman and has about 23 years experience beyond me--writing, life, Christian living. After her notes, I asked her to send me the e-mail she sent to her children and grandchildren. She has a beautiful habit of sharing with her children and grandchildren--having one adult, single grandson over each week, sharing study of the Word, having all adult grandsons over for a meal and a gentle where-are-you going-in-life session. Also, she frequently sends emails sharing a moment of current faith or a remembrance. Her family has a treasure in her and the Lord. Here are her three emails to me.

1st note to me-- Cathy dear, when I read this morning's column (very good - as was last week's) a long-forgotten incident came to mind. Russ did the same thing. When we were in Estonia (concluding our tour of Russia during the communist regime) we knew the pastor, Heigo Ritsbek, and Heigo had asked Russ to speak in their church.

I saw them go back somewhere (I thought they were going off to pray) but when they walked out Russ didn't have on his suit and was wearing a different pair of slacks and his white shirt. He had given the suit to Heigo, they were both large men!

This whole episode had escaped me -- even the place, so I got down my big scrapbook, looked at all the photos and, teary-eyed, re-read all my resulting Courier columns. When you come next time I would love to loan you the album so you and David could see a tad of what the Soviet Union was like at that time.

Blessings! Jan
Rooted in Love - Growing in Grace

2nd note to me-- There's more! I was in such a hurry this a.m. that I didn't realize the date -- It wasn't until I wrote my check at the beauty shop -- it's Sept 8th -- our 61st wedding anniversary (more tears) and that remembrance I related was probably the most vivid I've had of Russ except for occasional dreams. I could just see that wide grin of satisfaction on his face. And, no, I didn't write of that at the time -- unless I entered it in an old journal. I'm going to check that out. But, I think this is the first account and I'm sending it out to my family right now.

3rd note to her family and shared with me, too--My dear young writer friend and accountability partner,Cathy Messecar, wrote a neat piece in this morning's Courier column. It was about a man (Robert Graham) visiting churches in Uganda when he met Sauti, a native, wearing tattered trousers that dangled from his waist.

The elderly man couldn't stand it and to the protests of his guide (a former Ugandan missionary) insisted on giving the man his trousers. He went to the friend's pickup, slipped off the pants handed them out the window to his friend, who in turn gave them to Sauti.

As they drove away Robert saw Sauti grinning, the proud owner of Robert's breeches. And I'm certain Robert was also grinning.

When I read this I was touched but suddenly caught my breath. I had totally forgotten an incident when Russ and I toured the Soviet Union. Communism and all the respective shortages were still very much in effect.

One of the highlights for us was our last major stop before leaving the Balkans, a short stay in Tallinn, Estonia where we visited our friend, pastor Heigo Ritsbek and his darling family. On our one Sunday there we were visiting Heigo's church and he asked Russ to speak on behalf of our small travel group.

Before the service, however, I saw Russ and Heigo slip away from the platform and I thought it was probably to pray together. But when they returned there was Heigo wearing Russ's suit and Russ was wearing Heigo's trousers. Both were beaming.

This caused me to dig out my big scrapbook to revisit that trip -- looking at photos and reading my Courier columns. I both laughed and cried. It was such an intense memory.

But I didn't know until I wrote my check at the beauty shop at noon that today's date is September 8th -- Russ's and my sixty-first anniversary!

Cathy's column ended with this very appropriate, meaningful scripture: "Love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God" (1 John 4:7 The Message).

I would only add to that another passage from The Message "By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us---set us right with Him, make us fit for Him---we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise."

The writer continues, "There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary---we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:1-5)

Have a great day -- I am.

Blessings! Mom
Rooted in Love - Growing in Grace

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