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Sabbath Day – Life is Good

September 27, 2012

On Monday I introduced my son to The Lord of the Rings. I have been looking forward to the day when I could introduce him to the magic of Middle Earth, and finally found the way. We had already seen the 70s cartoon version of The Hobbit over the summer, so he was familiar with Gandalf and Bilbo, etc. But then I remembered the 1979 radio production of LOtR. I had a chance during my trip to and from Boston last weekend to listen to parts of it, and realized that the radio program excised most of descriptive violence of the books and the visual violence I associate with the recent films. So… on Monday we had a long trip home from the airport: I was picking him and his mother up after a weekend vacation for him and a work trip for her. And in went the first on nine hour long CDs.

For forty five minutes he was quietly riveted by the drama.  About ten minutes from home I stopped the CD and asked if he was following the narrative. He gave such a spirited summary of the ring, the dangers of power, the temptations to use it, the method for destroying it, and the probable outcome – I almost cried.

All this is to say that today, my Sabbath began as usual with my taking my son to school. We drove to school today, and were out of the house so early we had time to drive around the neighborhood listening to the next chapter in Tolkein. Just a magical way to start the day.

I then had the honor to help plant a tree at the Good Counsel High School in White Plains. This is now the fourth tree that the Presbyterian mission folk from the congregation I serve have helped plant on school campuses in White Plains. The trees are planted in honor of Dr. Wangari Maathai as a way of continuing her work. See my previous blog posts about the beginning of this project.

The cool thing about the event was the community it formed. Wangari always believed tree planting was a way of empowering people (particularly women) to take charge of their lives and make a difference in the world. As the Sisters of Divine Compassion (the order that runs the school) and the Presbyterians stood around the tree to share stories after the ceremony, we dreamed up ways of collaborating on Green Projects and possibly a Thanksgiving worship service.  God is Good.

My afternoon brought me to The Cliffs for an afternoon of climbing that has left me sore in places I didn’t know I was using. I hope that means I was climbing smarter and using my bone structure to hang on the wall rather than muscles – at least that is what hurts tonight.

I then spent an hour playing with August and his friends after school, followed by leisurely walk home. When we arrived home, August and I started tearing down our garden. We harvested the last of the broccoli, much of the swiss chard, the cucumbers, a few tomatoes and peppers, and dozens of carrots: white, purple and orange. There were even a few beans hiding among the carrots. We cut back finished plants and set them aside for trash. The greatest joy was being barefoot in the garden, which I think was the first time we did that since we planted it. It was nice to see and feel the soil again.

Noelle cooked up some of our harvest with a chicken creation of her own, and we all settled in for a movie night. Tonight we chose to watch together while we ate (the timing of a school night). It was my pick tonight, and I chose Lewis and Clark: The Great Journey West . August thought it sounded boring, even though we have been dreaming for months of taking a family vacation to retrace their journey. However, after this brief 39 minute film, August claimed that he could barely eat his dinner because the movie was so good he couldn’t turn away. When he declared this National Geographic production “a great movie, Dad”, I broke out the ice cream.

We ended the day with prayers and all three of us in bed, kinda giggling and singing ourselves to sleep. It’s August’s favorite way to go.

Now I try to decide whether there is any strength left for my dissertation…

Day is done, but love unfailing dwells ever here

Shadows fall, but hope prevailing, calms every fear.

God our Maker, none forsaking, take our hearts, of Love’s own making,

Watch our sleeping, guard our waking, be always near.


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