A Walk In The Park

It was frosty early Sunday morning, when I started out for my morning walk.  From my porch the sidewalk and the path to the park looked like it could be pretty slippery so I wasn’t sure when I started if I’d walk far.  It turned out to be fine and before long I was walking along the trail in the park, missing Buddy the Dog.

I thought about how people say “Pets and other friends aren’t really gone.  They live on in our memories.”  As I walked I pictured Buddy running and sniffing, peeing on rocks and trees, completely lost in the smells and sights, the way he did in his better days, when we were both younger!

It’s not unusual to encounter another walker on my early morning walks, but today, this morning, the park and the path were all mine!  I guess I was kind of lost in thought and dialoging with God the way I do when I get quiet enough.  I was saying, “Father, I don’t know what I know!  My mind used to be full of the certainties of the young.  Now my thoughts are full of the questions of age. I’m realizing I don’t have all the answers.  But I sure have plenty of questions!”

Suddenly, the sun rose over my right shoulder and the frosty path ahead of me exploded into sparkles of brilliant diamonds!  I kept walking a few steps.  Then I stopped and simply looked.  It was incredibly beautiful.  The kind of beautiful that a camera, even a good camera, won’t capture.  It seemed like a holy moment.  Or at least that it could be if I didn’t rush on.

I said, “Father what do you want to say to me in this moment?”  Then I waited.  In less than ten seconds, this came to me.  “Keep walking.  Stay on the path.  Keep walking.  Be aware, notice the beauty.  Stop when you see it and be fully present.  But stay on the path and keep walking.”

As I stood quietly and expectantly, I began to hear the winter birds singing to the sunrise.  I felt the cold breeze on my cheek.  I looked farther ahead and the path stretched out like a river of diamonds.  I saw the cloud of vapor as I breathed.  I waited maybe five minutes, until my legs were getting cold (I was dressed to speak at church later in the morning).

Then I started walking on a path of diamonds.  The path sparkled all the way home, except for a short section that lay in shade.  But I knew the beauty was there, even as I walked in the shadows.  I also knew it would only last a few minutes.  The same rising sun that turned the frost to diamonds would melt the frost and take it all away in minutes.  But it was mine for the moment!

Thirty hours later, I’m still processing “Stay on the path!  Keep walking!”


Bill Storey’s Memorial Service

My head is buzzing with all the new impressions, new information, and experiences from the weekend in Clarkston, WA for Bill Storey’s Memorial Service. And with all the old stories and family memories. And some tears and laughter.

Bill Storey was my wife Jean’s uncle – her Dad’s oldest brother. He was 94 when he passed away recently, outliving his wife Della by about six years. Because Jean and I lived outside the US for so many years, we only occasionally connected with the extended family, a couple of times at family reunions and mostly at funerals. So it was good to be able to be there with all the family this time.

Bill’s four sons, Dale, Ron, Roy, and Bruce were there this weekend with their families. Then there were families of families. Then there was Jean and me. Bill Storey was Jean’s uncle – Jean’s dad’s oldest brother. We went over to Clarkston with Jean’s sister Barbara and her husband Dan. It was good to have the weekend with Dan and Barbara and we came back to Richland and spent Sunday night with them after the weekend’s activities.

The Memorial Service was really good. The four sons shared stories of their Dad. His character, integrity, work ethic, and his faith were the most common topics in the stories we heard from them and others. Not a bad way to finish and not a bad legacy to leave behind. Well done, Bill Storey!

There were also several (noisy) meals together in nearby restaurants with 30 or more (mostly noisy) people catching up on family news and telling stories. I think I have a better picture of the Storey family and who’s who and what’s what than at any time in my almost fifty years of association with them and of being part of the extended “in-law” network.

It was really good saying goodbye to Uncle Bill (bittersweet) and saying hello to so many of the Storey extended family (sweet). Maybe next time we can connect at a family reunion instead of a funeral.