Saturday, May 07, 2011

Wisdom from T.S. Eliot

"The fact that a problem will certainly take a long time to solve, and that it will demand the attention of many minds for several generations, is no justification for postponing the study."

The smell of freshly baked bread

Image from 123RF

One of my favorite smells in the world is freshly baked bread. When I was little, my family and I lived with a neighbor as my dad was in the process of building our new home. Estella, our neighbor and close family friend, would bake all the time. So, when I got off the bus from school each day, it was a regular occurrence for me to have freshly baked snacks to eat. Sometimes she would make cookies, sometimes apple turn overs, but more often than not, Estella would bake bread.

The smell of the bread would travel through her house and waft out the windows and doors to beacon me inside when I returned home from school. The fragrance of fresh-baked bread led me to a safe, warm, kitchen after a long day at school. My traveling feet found a place to rest in Estella's kitchen. Estella's bread had a way of resetting my heart and mind on good things, even after a hard day.

In the account of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, two of his followers are traveling along the road. They are tired from the journey and sad because they didn't know that Jesus had risen from the grave. The disciples are joined by Jesus, but they don't recognize him.

The road to Emmaus was almost seven miles long. Why do you think his disciples did not recognize him?

Some people think it took so long for them to recognize Jesus, because they had not yet heard of his resurrection. The disciples of Jesus were in a place of sadness and loss. In sad times, it can be hard to see the good things that surround us. Perhaps, after walking with Jesus for a distance, sharing stories of his life and memories together and then sitting down for a meal; allowed the disciples to begin to see some good. In that moment of Jesus breaking bread all their senses communicated the good news that Jesus was with them. Their eyes saw him, their ears heard his voice, and their noses smelled the sweet fragrance of fresh bread. It is only when Jesus was at the table with them, blesses and breaks the bread, that they finally see him for who he is.

Just like the disciples at the beginning of the Emmaus road, we can forget what it's like to be with Jesus. All the sad things can keep us from seeing, hearing and smelling the goodness of God that is always with us. Catching a whiff of fresh baked bread has a way of bringing the good, to comforting and the sweet back into reach of our senses that need his presence and peace.

Jesus walks with us on every road we travel, but our eyes and ears need to be open to be aware of it.

Dear God,
Open our eyes to see You are with us, open our ears to hear You leading us on the path we walk. Help us to be more aware that You are with us in all places and times. May Your presence, peace and love be the bread of our life.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Farewell Carl Robert Eastman Jr.

My husband's brother Carl, passed away last Saturday after a long struggle with illness. Carl loved his family, friends - many of them pen pals even in this day of decreasing snail mail, and trains. Every chance he could, he would travel or take a trip so he could travel by train.

God speed Carl. You will be missed greatly.
If I imagine that you are just away for a while on a train excursion - it makes saying farewell a little easier...

What is Death?
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference in your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.

All is well.
~ Henry Scott Holland