Driving down a hill into town there is one particular spot where - if the sky is clear, if you are aware and think to look and if there are no clouds around it - you can catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier. The chances are not great that you will see it, for the "window of opportunity", as the catch phrase goes, is quite small. In our part of the world the sky is often cloudy and even when it is clear, more often than not there is a veil of clouds surrounding the top of the mountain. Often as I drive into town my mind is on other things, so I miss my chance. But every so often I do think to look when all conditions are favorable and am struck, yet again, by the splendor of that ancient peak.
Several summers ago, we gathered in the evening for our traditional talent show at camp. We had quite a lineup: little kids performing simple tumbling acts, older kids presenting silly skits, a few teens and adults willing to sing in a group or solo, one or two kids on unicycles. One young man, probably 12 or 13 years of age, had brought along an electric keyboard for his part. When his turn came, he calmly stood and began to play, the cast on his arm impeding him little, if at all. Then he began to sing, a slow, mournful song which he had composed, and the crowd went silent. There in the quiet night, his music stood alone; his young voice, clear and pure and unaffected, drifting out into the surrounding woods and over the lake, transfixing all.
She flew to be with her aged parents as soon as she heard. Her mother, hospitalized with pneumonia that was complicated by asthma and a weakened heart. Her father, though still lucid, in the beginning stages of age-related dementia. There were ten days of calming her mother's fears, making sure her father understood what the doctors said, sleeping in the hospital room, cooking meals during the few hours that she and her dad were home. Near the end, when her mother asked if she was going to die, the room went silent; she told her mother the difficult truth. And on the final day, with life ebbing away, she asked her mother to hold on, that the last daughter was on her way and needed to be able to say good bye. In the end, all good-byes were said.
"We don't go to any trouble. You'll just get some water, in a plastic cup with your name written on it. And the candy, of course. At our age, if we made it too complicated, we'd never do it!" Well, in their late eighties/early nineties, I guess she's right about that. We were captivated as soon as we walked in the front door, for their home reflected pure love - for their individual interests and each other. Together, they made candy - boiled pure sugar syrup and peanuts, both shipped in from their beloved Georgia. They had lived many places in their long life together, but it was obvious their hearts still belonged to their native state. This evening of visiting, getting to know each other a little better, is one that we will never forget. The water tasted fine from a plastic cup, the candy was delicious, but the company was beyond compare...
The mountain is truly grand, and acts of grace exist all around us. It's reassuring to know that these are always out there somewhere, even though we may only catch small glimpses every now and then.
He has made everything beautiful in its time...
But by the grace of God I am what I am,
and his grace to me was not without effect.
1 Corinthians 15:10