26 August 2013

And there's the summer

My Karen and I had a long weekend away recently. The summer divided into before and after my mother-in-law's death and home-going,* with some common features on both sides of the calendar. One shared feature is Karen's work on/at/in her parents' home. That was, to be sure, a part of our long weekend away recently. But it is not all the weekend was about.

We were given the full run of my brother-in-law's family lake home. A beautiful place to read and study (for me, on Friday) and to relax in (for us, evenings, Saturday afternoon, and most of the day Sunday). I got in two Branch County bike rides - routes that I enjoy making up when I get to our home county with a bike. We took a long, leisurely kayak trip around the lake's perimeter. We ate well, outdoors as much as possible. We slept like we were . . . well, on vacation!

Saturday morning I helped Karen at Grandpa's house. Her work there, and her patience with it, amazes me. Pitching in now and then helps me see how much she is accomplishing - and earns me a little credit, too! After Saturday lunch, Karen took the rest of the weekend off. (The Old Testament Sabbath laws put it this way, "deny yourself and do no work." Knocking off work really is a self-denial for my girl.) I had the pleasure of meeting again with the committee of high school classmates to de-brief the very successful reunion we had in July. Then it was supper, and rest, until we left for home.

Since then, I have inched my way to my thousand-mile cycling mark. I'm usually there by Memorial Day. This year, I was just glad to get there before Labor Day. I hope that before the Fall turns nasty, I will be done with my thesis, and will celebrate with a few long days of riding. An overnight bike camping trip would be nice. Cycling here in the late summer has been colored with thoughts and memories of my Minnesota cycling buddy, Steve Thompson. More on him in a separate post. Suffice it here to say, an overnight on the bike would be one way of celebrating his friendship and one of his significant contributions to my life.

Today as I write, I have made my first edit at a very messy first draft of the third chapter of my MA thesis. That chapter is also the product of the second half of my summer. I'm later than I want to be with it, but . . . on we go!

* For Christians, physical death is a welcome passage from our sojourn/pilgrimage on earth, to our true home in heaven. That has often been misinterpreted (by Christians and Christian-watchers) as from a material existence to a disembodied pure soul state. But the Bible is clear about the very physical reality of a heavenly home, a new heaven and a new earth in which the redeemed will have bodies, and get to keep busy with whatever we will do to worship God in God's very presence. So, "home-going" is not just a euphemism.

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