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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sacramental Potential

"Do this in remembrance of me."  ~ Jesus

Forty-eight years ago today, August 31, was the last full day of my father's life. Tomorrow, September 1, is the anniversary of his death.  Since those days in 1968, these dates have never gone unnoticed nor unfelt in my life. I have told the stories many times in conversations, sermons, and writings. Today, as a memory of him, I share a piece I wrote several years ago. You can find it here.

Thomas Raymond Walton
December 24,1909 - September 1, 1968

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Down For Maintenance

"Be still..."  ~ Psalm 46:10.25

Most of us have experienced something I did this morning.  You're clicking through emails and links on your computer and come across an intriguing article or photo only to get the message "down for maintenance." Of course my first reaction is to go back and click again to make sure it was the correct link only to get the same results - "down for maintenance."

We live in a fast paced world of demands, deadlines, desires, and instant gratification. Through texts, instant messages, instagrams, voice mail, snap-chat, and the like, all done from "personal" devices, we find ourselves in a never-ending need for connection and stimulation. Then we wonder why so many seemingly comfortable people seem to be agitated, angry, depressed, and violent.

Perhaps we can learn something about our lives from websites that are occasionally "down for maintenance," clearing out the cobwebs, updating systems, deleting irrelevant material, and even coming up with a new look. Sometimes it doesn't take much, perhaps just a few minutes or hours of turning off devices, dis-connecting, and clearing our own cobwebs.

I've discovered that when I do take some down time, I find a deeper, more real connection with the world around me that transcends technology. I begin to notice things like leaves dancing in a breeze, or puffy white clouds in a blue sky, paintings that have become invisible on familiar walls, and people dear to me taken for granted. Then when I go back "on line" it is with a renewed, refreshed perspective.

By the way the link that started the whole blog is one called "Life reimagined."  :)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Heart and Home

"Your treasure is where your heart is."
~ Jesus

On two consecutive weekends we got to see our daughters.  First was Ali and her boyfriend for just a short drive-by visit as we went through Baltimore on our way home from Maine and Pennsylvania. It was brief but good to see her, hug her, and hear her voice in person.  We also got to see the house they just moved into.  Last weekend Jayme, Carina and Oliver came to see us in Florida and we had a great weekend that included Roller Derby, the beach, and lots of "Oliver time."

Years ago when Peg and I would be leaving her family after a visit, her mom and dad would stand on their front porch and watch us pull away. After her dad died, the ritual continued with her mom, except by then there were our two daughters and no porch. She would watch through a sliding glass door from her apartment.

Our side of that ritual was usually rather hurried trying to get packed up and on the road or catch a plane.  With children we were even more occupied by making sure we had all of their stuff and getting them ready for travel.

Through the years Peg and I have had our fair share of goodbyes and see-you-laters, especially as our daughters grew up, went to college, and now have their own lives. We've stood on porches and stoops, hugged on the streets of New York, DC, Atlanta, Austin and Baltimore, and done endless airport, busstop, and train station drop-offs and drive-bys.

It wasn't until I was in their shoes that I ever really stopped to think about what it was like for Peg's parents to turn back into their house and face the empty silence we left behind. Now I do. I also know the void is not really in the house, but in our hearts.

The house usually returns to normal in a few days, but hearts take a lot longer.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Sacred Sunrise

Last week you didn't get your regular One Eternal Presence because my wife, Peg, and I were on vacation for a few days. We spent some time on the coast of Maine, enjoying the cool weather, eating great seafood, and hiking the wonderful craggy coastline.

For a couple of nights we stayed in a quaint, mom and pop type motel with cottages on the western shore of Penobscot Bay. The sunrises were particularly magnificent and early! - (by nearly 90 minutes before the west coast of Florida). 

Our first morning there we were not so keen on catching the 5:27 am event.  Even still our room was filled with early morning light and Peg got up and took just one photo.

A couple of hours later we received the news that our brother-in-law, John Farr, had died. Even though he was in a long struggle with cancer, his death was unexpected. Later that day we learned that the coroner had determined John's time of death as between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. -  just about the time Peg was taking the only photo of the sunrise that was taken that morning.

The Celtic Cross is an ancient symbol of Creation infused with the Divine Presence.