The Fog Below: Thoughts of Mortality

Ponderings from within an overwhelming sense of creeping sadness.

Early this morning, I sat in the kitchen, propped — elbow on table, chin in cupped hand. I stared, unfocused, out the window. Thinking. Remembering yesterday…

clouds in the sky, fog in the river bottom, clouds and fog in my head
I gazed out the window, thinking…

Late yesterday afternoon. Barely Wednesday in the week. Rocking news upon shocking news.

A friend in our congregation left this life. A friend to our congregation fell backward into a service pit, breaking his hip and fracturing his back. A third friend in our congregation learned of his brother’s terminal brain tumors. A fourth friend, just recently of our congregation, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Four cases! Far more than that many friends! All since early Monday morning!

An overwhelming sense of creeping sadness. Of deep ache.

And my wife and I struggling with our own health issues.

So now it was early this morning. I had just read the first 11 verses of Psalm 34. Here, read them… Read it all

Esther Boss: A New Creation

God exchanged her ruined body for something new.

Esther Boss in 2010I got word early this morning that she died during the night.

In the last few days, we prayed often for God’s best for her, deeply hoping that meant a miraculous healing of her long-running rheumatoid arthritis and just-discovered bone cancer.

Instead, God’s best for her meant exchanging her ruined body for something new.

That faith does not erase the pain of loss for her husband Marvin and the rest of her family.

Such reassuring Christian hope does not eliminate the emptiness they feel.

They. We.

But believe and hope we shall.

Meanwhile, in Heaven, such glory for Esther!

And such glory for the Redeemer-Lamb who won her back to Himself and kept her for Himself! Read it all

Resurrection Morning

Jesus lives and all is well!

Today Orpha Tice Smucker would have been 67 years old. Now she is eternally ageless.

Below this photo of her and James’ grave is a poem written by one of her granddaughters. I took this picture at 7:29 the morning after their April 9 burial.

James and Orpha Smucker's grave at 7:29 am on April 10, 2016

Resurrection Morning

They put Jesus to death on an ugly tree,
He endured the pain for you and me.
He loves us! His grace will be enough,
So in Him let us put all out trust.

The women, weeping, went to His grave,
To put spice on the One who is mighty to save,
But the cold, death stone was rolled away,
And an empty place where Jesus lay.

An angel told them, “He is not dead,
But He is risen as He said.”
The women rejoiced and ran to tell,
That Jesus lives and all is well!

Jesus is alive, today and forever,
His love for us no one can sever,
His blood can cleanse from every sin,
Just open your heart and let Him in.

–Kaitlynn Yoder, then 10

My Friend Drove By

On Whiskey Hill Rd east of Hubbard, Oregon

I was walking east on the north side of the road in the brisk pre-evening pre-dusk late afternoon.

“Hi, Mark!”

He was driving east on the south side of the same road.

He had slowed down to shout out his open window.

I turned to look. He waved. I waved.

Happily. With a big grin.

I hadn’t seen him in way-too-long. Weeks.

My good friend in his old four-door blue-green pick-up. Read it all

A Fall Planting for an Every-Season Harvest

Persist in planting for a good long-term harvest!
What they sowed in the Fall,
we still reap through every season.

Generally, by Fall we’re done with gardening here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. And we certainly don’t plant our vegetables and tomatoes now.

But my boxed quote above isn’t about autumn crops. Read it all

Above all, love God!