Fog looked like steam rising from the Susquehanna River, and obscured the hills across from us on our last day. The grayness dissipated in the sun’s heat – and we had another sunny, cool day.
Watching the changing beauty of this river – I know that rivers, if gorged with rain, and wind-driven, are deadly – not delightful. A picture on the wall of our vacation home is a grainy enlarged image of women wading almost chest high in the waters of the Susquehanna during the 1933 hurricane. In 1972, when Agnes inundated this area, the river reached the deck of our current abode. That storm was a dozy for Pennsylvania!
As our family holiday wound down, each moment was bittersweet. The simple pleasures of fishing, swimming and feasting, however, contrasted against the news of hurricane Isaac’s hammering the Gulf coast. And learning of more trials for dear friends and family reminded me that if I have my health I have everything – a proverb oft quoted by my parents and grandparents. It drove me nuts to hear it then – but now, well, getting up and going is no small mercy – and blessing.
In the week after our Pennsylvania adventure, Doug and I emptied the storage locker – that small patch of Maryland that held “stuff” – sorting, packing, and shipping a couple dozen of boxes. Having recently watched Hording: Buried Alive, I gave myself a few stern words too about why I had to keep this book or that.
And then we headed west and south, listening to The Greater Journey by David McCullough -- On September 11, we marked that grievous anniversary – watching and remembering, and prayed for the families of all who suffered and served, and for our nation and our leaders; we awakened yesterday to the news from Libya and Egypt. On the last leg of our return, driving through Tennessee and Arkansas, and then Texas, we listened to The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, absorbing news of Benghazi.
Little things really so make a big difference – whether enjoying the views as the sun burns of a river’s mist. Or, hearing a grandchild confides their desire to become an artist; or, gazing on the glorious landscapes of our country; or listening to words of good writers – all parts of a gift of peace that passes understanding in times of trouble and heartache. God help me to live in it!
. . . do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)