Out On Bittersweet
Not much is new out on Bittersweet. Since we don’t have any oaks, the last of the trees to lose it’s leaves are the Walnuts, but early in August a few walnut leaves will yellow and waft down from high overhead. I noticed this the year Hope America and Tim married in the north meadow and now I notice it every year. The other night I was playing my harmonica out on the porch and saw the fist yellow walnut lead flutter down. How swiftly the summer is waning. I never remember a summer passing so swiftly.
Summer camps are in their last weeks here in Michigan. I’m always heartened to think of the thousands of young people who hear the gospel in a joyful loving context at summer camps. This summer I was able to speak at a family camp and a youth camp.
For the rest of the summer and fall I hope to stay around Bittersweet and serve Bethel.
I hope you are yours are well and you are enjoying this final full month of summer.
In the years when our home was alive with children there were multiplied chores and routine errands and mundane tasks to attend to. Many of these landed on Saturday mornings. Around the farm it called “choring.”
In a family of ten, though, you rarely have to do anything alone and having a companion significantly lightens the load. Anything hard or mundane or burdensome is transformed into something else when you have a good companion or helper.
With a companion, a duty can become a delight. With a helper the load is lightened and the burden shared. With a friend along, any joy is multiplied. When you are joined by a child almost any event can be turned into an adventure. Take a child along you turn a trip for an oil change into a treasured memory or a learning field trip.
With a little companion you can learn a song or a Bible verse or even a Bible verse in song on the way to the hardware to pick up furnace filters. I have a 41 year old pastor-son. Today his wife shared a picture of him at a concert belting out a song from one of his favorite bands. I remember him in the car seat beside me teaching him a little chorus I made up to learn Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord by rock and my salvation.” I don’t remember the chore or the errand but I remember the song and I will never forget the companionship of the boy.
I know this is true from experience from being a son and being a dad. As a boy we lived for a while in a the tiny village of Logansville, Ohio. Dad pastored the Logansville Christian Church there. We lived in the parsonage. We would made a trip to the dump on River Road every week or two. Dad would always recruit his first-born son (me) and often sister Melony and brother Kevin (Nathan was an infant when we lived there and he’s become very productive now, but he was kinda’ useless back them). We would load up the garbage and Dad would say, “Hey, grab the BB gun. We will plink some cans when we are done.”
That was about 56 years ago now but it lives in a happy place in my heart. Errands and chores can be turned into adventures and memories with a fifteen-dollar BB gun.
It’s been true as a dad and grandpa, too. When Lois and I had our own crew the errands included treats or a side trips to the library, which may not seem like fun to you, but to eight homeschooled children growing up without TV or the Internet before cell phones, and iPads and computers in every room the library was a treat and a great way to explore the outside world. Librarians were our “Google” back then. The children often remind me of how they loved those trips through the countryside to the library on a snowing afternoon.
Back before public radio became open leftist propaganda. I stumbled on a wonderful and informative show that aired every Saturday morning car talk. It was hosted by brothers Ray and Tom, and it was a mix of good humor and automotive horse since it was often the soundtrack for our Saturday morning trips to the barber or to the oil change place unless it was September through November and then it was always well big 10 football pregame banter and bands belting out college football fight songs.
So I know there are chores to do, and there are bills to pay, and I know there are duties and obligations to keep. Sure you have dues to pay in unrelenting taxes but with a little creativity, you don’t have to slog your way through life like the Volga Boatman (Google it and you’ll see what I mean). Just grab a BB gun or route yourself into the path of treats. Take a companion with you.
And when your work is done and your errands are run and your chores are through you can bask in the pleasure of a job well and and you have deepens a friendship.