Today’s Word from Pastor Jim

“A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north, round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full… What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1

The house must be empty, the clutter must go away, there are a lifetime of possessions in there. I had been to his house many times, but now he was gone, his chair empty. The task fell to me to execute his wishes, to find a home for his dog, and settle his accounts.

It has been a somber and silent walk through pages of unknown history, of stories partially told, of routine days blurred and forgotten, of seasons in the sun and youthful adventures that have grown cold and faded into oblivion. The signs of work and play are there, the framed recognition from an employer, games, cards, stuffed animals and a lonely motorcycle decaying under a tarp. The telltale signs of aging are also present. The march of time will not be deterred, no one will escape, it respects no titles or pedigree as it drags us slowly back to the earth.

It has been a somber, silent and strangely intimate journey. Drawer after drawer, closet after closet, files and photos, newspaper clippings, jewelry still in boxes, handwritten love letters sixty years old, silent family heirlooms, trinkets leaving clues of tourism and travel. A medicine cabinet untouched since that day, years ago, when she died. Time stopped there, the contents undisturbed, perfume bottles still bearing her scent, lotions and potions thoughtfully purchased are now swept into the garbage bag that I hold in my hands. On occasion, the emotions are too much, I stop to cry or shake my fist toward heaven, knowing that this scene plays out a thousand times a day in every corner of the world.

The house must be empty, the clutter must go away, a lifetime of possessions, mostly a liability now. How can we leave a mark? How will we find meaning in this pandemic world? We are dust and to dust we shall return, are those words of promise or simply the descriptive reality of the fate we share with the animals? I laid him to rest, next to his wife, in the courtyard this morning. We had stood there together on the cold March day when we buried her and most of him, I suppose; now I stood alone. Chiseled granite, calendar dates and a dash. Make the best of the dash my friends, the dash is the gift, each day an installment of grace.

“I hated all my toil in which I toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me, and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish?” Ecclesiastes 1:18

One Day Closer,
Pastor Jim