Posts By : acmead

Living peace

We lived near a NATO base and, as elementary and high school students were prepared by drills for possible emergencies, with fire drills and with nuclear bomb drills. Most of us went through the motions, joking and laughing; but at night, in my bed, I would hear planes from the base, occasionally one sounded different in pitch and I wondered if this was the one carrying a bomb. Of course it wasn’t; but I had been taught to think it was an imminent risk and in the daylight hours we went about our lives and didn’t think about it; and at night, alone, in the darkness, fear would seep into me, drifting in with the night shadows. I learned then that fear cannot be allowed to control or dominate; but can be greeted and dismissed. I think I learned to let my mind and my emotions focus or perhaps more accurately, center on being loved, being loved by my family and loved by God, not giving that much thought then; but believing it was so and beginning to develop, before I knew what it was, a center within that invited the mystery, the holy, and found a place that was at peace. While that seems far away and different from our realities today, it was a formative time for me and others of my generation. War and the winds of war have been present throughout my lifetime, and continues today. While this is so, it is shameful that some in public trust, seeking to be president, fuel our fears, flaming hatred to build power. Pray for a country and a world where love conquers fear and compassion dissolves hatred, where we can still welcome the stranger and share resources that bring life. Let’s do it.

An Early Lesson on the Cost of War – By Rev Alan Mead

An Early Lesson on the Cost of War
By Rev Alan Mead

I was born before World War II ended. My early memories are of family and community, friends, siblings and cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and all near and present. I remember helping my father shovel coal into the furnace each cold winter morning. My early life was settled and comfortable. The only sign of the war was a man who lived on a hill in the village. He had no legs and people talked about how he had lost them in the war. When I was young, that is what the war meant to me; but it wasn’t only about his having no legs, it was about wondering how he made it up and down that hill in his wheelchair, and how he managed to run a small jewelry store business. I sometimes think of him and wonder still how he did it, where he found the resilience to recover from what must have been a horrible experience and to continue with life in such a normal way. I remember him as being kind, laughing often, and always taking time to talk, even to a child. War was distant then and wouldn’t have been anything but a story except for the man with no legs, who made it real to me.

Rainy day memories

It is raining and windy; tall, golden beach grass, potted on our patio, is whipping back and forth, pliant and somehow defiant. Inside we are still and resting, a cheery fire brightening our afternoon. It is an afternoon for memories. Our furniture seems to carry a history of our family, a cherry hutch that belonged to Pat’s aunt and her grandparents before that, and that once was pulled over by our dog Sandy when somehow her leash caught on a pull, and over it went, hitting a dining table which saved the dog and a toddler playing with it. I am sitting in a padded rocking chair with maple arms, the finish worn by years of hands, that as long as I remember was in Pat’s living room, until several years ago when her mother died and it became ours. I cannot look at it or sit in it without more than fifty years of memories of our growing up and of her parents, aging and growing old together. And we continue to form memories that are connected somehow with our furniture, so much of it with a story. A coffee table that we bought in Boston has recently become the garage and landing field for our grandson’s cars, trucks and planes, with appropriate landing patterns forever etched into the finish, that as long as we live will remind us of the joy that this child brings into our lives. And so, on a windy, rainy afternoon I raise my heart in thankful praise, for memories past and memories that are being created.

Night wind

I listen to the wind and wonder where it has been and where it is going; roaring in off the sea, howling around trees and shrubs and buildings, intense, powerful and relentless as winter approaches. The wind can be frightening, changing landscapes, moving and leveling all that dares stand in its path. As I listen now I hear its power and yet am oddly comforted by its constant, pulsing rush of sound, roaring around my home, cascading around chimney and roof, fluttering the flue, calling still air within to come join it, swirling up in a primal dance that will not be tamed. As I listen, light begins to fill the night sky and morning comes again, bringing the hope of a new day.


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