07/28/2019              I woke to rain flinkling down water spouts and soft, bruummmbling thunder rolling out across Phantom Lake announcing, “Refreshment has arrived!”  In no way a storm, the steady drizzly-drip-dribble-puddle making-puddle bubbling rain simply came to break the humidity and troublesome heat.  Grass greened before my eyes, promising a return of the tedious mowing in the too near future.  I pose on the porch, the mist invited hand shakes with bigger droplets and breezes shook spatters free from Cali lilies giant, purple-ish leaves.  I shuffled barefoot onto the lawn and stood ‘til my hair soaked and dropletted chills down under my T-shirt emblazoned with a fisherman standing in a boat exclaiming, “I can’t go to work, my arm’s in a cast!”  I moved under the crab apple and squishy sat a lean into the trunk.  I gazed up at branches dances and accolades of scatterings bouncing leaf-chair to leaf-chair to my glasses and to my knees.  An old, likely ’55 Chevy pick-up rounded the Wahl Avenue curve onto Park Place – the driver honked hello and I saw his laugh at what must surely have seemed nonsense.  Actually, correct, but very necessary to celebrate God’s relief from some pretty hot, humid summer July weather.  How did Neil Diamond sing it, “…you’d almost bet you could hear yourself sweat…”  If ears had made an early appearance on stalks, popcorn probably would have popped right in the field.  Back to the porch and inside to grab a shower and get on with the day, I took a moment to thank God for His kindness.

“Tikkun olam.”  A Jewish concept meaning “acts of kindness to repair or perfect the world.”  Bill Zimmerman, an editor of “Newsday” and “American Banker,” referenced the idea in the June/July, 2019 “AARP Magazine.”  He spoke about how he couldn’t believe “how many lives I have been able to touch, just by working from my cramped living room” (67).  And I thought of church families – congregations of care – and how often forgotten the simplest of “hi’s” or “mornin’“ touch a recipient’s heart.  Reminders of God’s peace offered from a fellow Christian may just be that Sunday’s big moment and the message of faith in Jesus Christ and the assurance of forgiveness voiced from the pulpit and shared by the people in the pews – that brings repair to troubled lives and helps bring truth to a misguided world.  Zimmerman went on to say that, “It shows that no matter how old you are, good things are always possible, as long as you keep a dream in your heart and work fiercely to make it come true” (67). 

My think continued through the shower and to the keyboard.  I’ve lost track of how long I’ve been tapping out lines for weekly reads.  With cranks on the brain starter motor and perhaps a kick or two to the magneto, I’d guess over 5 years, but that really doesn’t matter.  This small step of mine, encouraged by the movement of the Holy Spirit in my days’ dreaming, keeps me focused on the acts of kindness God offers every day I live.  In hardship, prayers heard and God’s plan moves ahead.  In the creation around us, God’s hand at constant work – saving, salvaging, restoring – reaching down to our outstretched hands.  We are able to leave our cramped lives of worry and stress, see the Holy Spirit shake through branches and across golden wheat fields.  Fiercely believe.  Tikkun olam – tiny steps to a greater good.     submitted by Dave Smith