Emily, an Hospice Massage Therapist, was here today. With gentle touch she provided some relief from the deep bone pain (related to metastasized cancer) experienced by my best beloved.
At one point John looked at me and asked if I was going to take a picture. He then proceeded to tell her about my interest in photography. So what could I do but get the camera?!!
Emily’s tools are her hands. As such they have their own special insurance policy. After all, if something happens to her hands she’s out of a job!
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Later I looked at several scripture passages that mentioned hands. This one, a prayer, stood out to me:
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30 NRSV
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p.s. When I started this post a week ago I thought about the simple act of holding a person’s hand – something we don’t do outside our homes in this era of COVID-19. Then I wondered about hands and healing in scripture. Before I knew it I needed to be taking care of other business. So, here it is a week later than intended with only a postscript added to complete it.
I don’t generally think of conifer trees as growing new leaves. But they do – every spring!
The contrast in color and the variety startled me when I saw these trees around a church in Ankeny, Iowa, U.S. My camera was in the car so I put it to use.
“The needlelike leaves may be long or short, flat or round. … Most species are evergreen, keeping their needles all year. Needle leaf trees are also called conifers because most of them bear fruits called cones.”
– George A. Petrides, Peterson First Guide to Trees
In order to identify the trees with any certainty, I need to take the guidebook with me and go take a closer look at the trees. Using broad categories, I’m pretty sure there’s a pine, a spruce and a fir among these pictures.
I don’t know about you, but for me these days of COVID-19 pandemic seem to run one into another. Just the other day I said something about going to a niece’s High School graduation. My best beloved asked, “Where?” He was genuinely disappointed when I said we would go virtually like we go nearly everywhere else.
Stepping outside the house helps keep – or restore – some sanity. Even on overcast, gray days the natural world is keeping its beautiful annual transformation.
THREE CONSECUTIVE SATURDAYS
One set of Ornamental Flowering Pear Trees.
The trees are pretty when driving or walking by. But I think the individual blossoms are prettier!
Even after the petals fall off, the remaining sepals, pistils and stamens have a beauty of their own. Notice the silhouettes against the sky.
Hoping you are able to step outside and see something beautiful today.
Though delinquent in posting anything to my blog, I have taken some photos in the last three weeks! These are of the same flowering crab apple tree on three consecutive Saturday mornings. Spring is fading into summer.
Whatever happens, those who have learned to love one another have made their way into the lasting world and will not leave, whatever happens.
– Wendell Berry, 1998 I, in This Day: Sabbath Poems Collected & New 1979-2013 (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2013), 183.
The note I wrote in the margin is “love one another.” It’s the new commandment Jesus gave after washing the disciple’s feet.
“I give you a new commandment, that you loveoneanother. Just as I have loved you, you also should loveoneanother. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for oneanother.”
– John 13:34-35, NRSV
Today I’d circle the phrase “whatever happens.” The pandemic has made life seem surreal. A month ago my best beloved said, “We are living in a science fiction story.” He’s right. Whatever happens isn’t likely to be what we might have expected two months ago.
I wonder… Are we learning to better love one another? Are we discovering the lasting world? Have we experienced love that will not leave?
Whatever happens, dear friends, may you know you are loved. And may you make your way into the lasting world.
Note about the illustration: We have been doing art (or maybe just playing) with colored pencils, watercolor, soft pastels or acrylic paints every Tuesday and Thursday since social distancing and stay-at-home orders started. But not on our own! We’re following Facebook Live Instructional Art Videos by Paula Rotshafer. Look for The Creative Quarantine public group on Facebook or click here.