Thursday, July 2, is Half Way Day in this year, 2015. Half a year come and gone. Half a loaf, half a glass, half a chance. The half way mark on a life can trigger a sense of encouragement or depression, or often a mixture of both. The “miles to go before I sleep” are shorter; the list of “promises to keep” is longer. How do we learn to number our days, so that, as the psalmist writes, “we may gain a heart of wisdom”? (Ps 90:12)
I make a list of things done and things undone, and in this, the sins of omission seem heaviest as I contemplate the calendar. So much to do; so little time. I decide to revisit what was seen as essential at the first half of the year: the bathroom. I never underestimate water. Indoor plumbing is still a near miracle in my experience of old parsonages. I contemplate the regal toilet, marvel at the accessible shower, the handy gas heater, the original logs, and the sink that actually drains. My sister Sandy and her husband Roy Lee have helped to turn a disaster zone into a delight. The only problem we haven’t figured out is what to do with the stained glass door outside entrance. We forgot to lock it when we held a planning meeting for a mission project, and the new Baptist minister made his entrance through that door. He grinned when I asked if approaching the “throne of grace” required humility so all was well in the end.
We (meaning Billy, Darrell and Chuck) preserved a piece of folk art on the wall. It was literally painted on the wall by a homeless artist that Mother housed years ago. It’s his vision of the early days of Elizabeth with the 3 story log “hotel”, and the now-museum brick house. Included is the rock and a fisherman across the river where the ferry used to run.
It took a lot of “figurin’” to replace old drywall and save that painting. Billy the artist, Chuck the can-do guy, Darrell, the get it right man. I don’t know how many hours it took them to save that little piece of visual history that isn’t good art. On this Half Way Day, however, it is worth every minute it cost.
Here’s a high water mark on this Half Way Day, a way to tell time in a gospel fashion. When people ask, “Why is this here?” I say, “It’s a sign that the kingdom of heaven is coming near.” Someday, when the sun is too hot, the day too long, the hope too thin, there’ll be a voice that says, “Follow me. It’s time to go fishing.” (Mt. 17-19)
— with Billy Jean.