Sunday, May 2, 2010

the first part... thinking about land and a friend

Reflecting back on Saturday....

I am sitting in a retreat center with several members of my church. I am pondering if I will be a sweaty mess for the celebration I am attending later in the evening, and if I will survive a retreat which is so heavy on group time. But the retreat is a time for us to build relationships, so I relax into the group and hope to stay cool.

I am pondering who has been important in my spiritual journey. I pick up the stone to show the group I am prepared to speak and say... "John Touchberry." A few members ignore the fact that I am holding the stone and say, "His obituary was in the paper today." Now there are bigger things taking over my thoughts. I think of a trip to Bartram's Garden, and a year of weekly conversations, and how on a Christmas morning he began the cleansing of thoughts keeping me from a life with Christ, and about a friend who broke through years of silence to say hello just the other week on facebook, and of a trip to visit him on a mountain top, and I think about his wife, and I think about what an amazing blessing it was to know him....

Given free time I walk down a hill and I am standing beside the Monocacy Creek. My feet and spirit are at home. If I walked a mile south I would be in a highly favored birdwatching spot of my younger days. Turn north and go upstream, the creek becomes two... the east and west branches. There is a hill that divides those branches and that is where my family moved when I was five. In early spring I would race down that 2-3 mile hill on my bike, ride 10-20 miles and suffer my way back up it. By the fall, I would be exloring 60-80 miles on a weekend day. I can only hope that I will ever know a place so well.

John Touchberry loved that mountain in NC and because of that many folk were sad when he retired and left Pennsylvania.

At 2:20 my friends left the retreat center. I sat on a bench and waited for Mosaic Woman. In silence and in the shade, I had time to think some more.

Seven hours later I knew a haircut was going to happen (it has been years since the last)... but that is another story for another day.



  1. We can only hope to be friends to others like your Rev. was to you. They are the ones who are tuned in to God as well as the people around them. They somehow know our need for Christ before we recognize it ourselves.

  2. walk2write... I have more to say about the man, and yes, we can hope to friend others as he friended me.


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