The photo is not the best . . . taken by my cell phone in a dimly lit restaurant. But it was the best way to capture a great ending to a pretty good day.
My daughter brought me breakfast in bed. Then I biked into town on a cool morning, but with some good sun breaks to greet me as I came down the mountain into our village.
My son and daughter later met me at the coffee shop after I had about an half hour alone to read a few chapters of A Farewell to Arms.
From there we went to my usual church. Denise and two of my other sons met us there. My sons don’t live with us anymore so it was unique to have four of our five kids on one pew in church at once. It happens, but about three times a year. I guess father’s day was such an occasion.
Church was eventful for a few things. One, a dear older friend of mine died suddenly this week. I gave his wife, Barbara, a big, long hug and I didn’t want to let go. She looked worn. I can’t imagine what it is like after sleeping in the same bed with someone for 50 years then suddenly they are gone forever (speaking of earthly terms). Barbara, the target of my hug, is one of a few people that understands me at this church. I don’t know what she did in her previous (preretirement) life but she is a smart lady. She had read all the Schaeffer stuff.
The second event was me handing L. (my paranoid schizophrenic friend) a little treasure. He is obsessed with Biblical themes and honestly is quite knowledgable. About three years ago I was telling him a story about me wading in the Sea of Galilee and stepping on some old pottery. I grabbed it and brought it home but lost it. He told me that he would love to have a souvenir like that.
I was cleaning out my shed yesterday, sorting boxes of screws and nails, and stumbled on that piece of pottery. I handed it to L. this morning and he gave me a big hug. Then he started talking about things that were so tangential that I could not follow him. His paranoia kicks in when he thinks you are not listening to him. So I tried very hard to pretend I was.
The pastor preached on several topics but one was about the rumors of the church failing. He showed several books that he had read recently, each predicting the demise of Evangelicalism (Imonk has spoken a lot about this recently). However our pastor took a twist on this that I’m not sure I had any better luck following than the conversation of my schizophrenic friend. Well it wasn’t that it was tangential, but it’s the reasoning that I don’t get.
Basically he figures that our young people are leaving the church in droves not because the church is doing anything wrong but because we are allowing grumbling in the church. This is the result of the lack of the hierarchy of covenant. I sense he is talking about guilt manipulation. In other words, telling our teens to keep their mouths shut and obey us . . . by going to church. I feel sad about that. If the church doesn’t respond in honesty, then there is not a lot of hope.
I cut out of church early to do something I had never done before. I went to our village square to protest. It wasn’t really a protest but a demonstration of support for the Iranian people. I happen to have this huge Iranian flag that I stole from an Iranian army outpost in the earthquake area of Pakistan. Actually the Iranians had abandoned their post and we took it over. I took their flag.
Today I was going to march and hold the flag high so people would remember to pray for those who seek their basic freedom. It seemed like the Christian thing to do. However, when I got to the town square, there was no protesting today. It is a tradition to have several protest groups there each Sunday. Each group has their own corner near the Safeway. I knew that I would NOT be welcomed with my Iranian flag on the Christian corner. Christians (at least the ones who protest there) hate Iranians, Muslims, Gays, Aborters and most of all, Democrats . . . and they make their voices very loud.
After church I had a rare chance to take a nap. Later I listened to my three sons jam on their guitars. After that I took a long kayak trip across Puget Sound, another stop in the coffee shop to work on a book and then . . . have my sons and daughter take me out to my favorite restaurant. That’s how we ended a pretty nice day.
I feel, I guess lucky is the best term. I could say blessed. But I had four of my five children with me. I am proud of all five. Things are well. There have been a few stormy times in our lives, when things were not well . . . but they are well now and I thank God for that. I know that there will be bad days in the future. I know it can’t be a good day for Barbara or her two (adult) children who are experiencing their first Father’s Day without their sweet dad. Yeah, for us, it was a pretty nice day.