Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
Where has the time gone? An often-heard phrase but for some over a certain age, it has more meaning to reflect on just how quickly the years have passed. Well, at least it seems that way. True, there are still 24
hours in a day and 365 days in a year, give or take a day courtesy of leap year. It seems just like yesterday that I was taking my driver's license test in a 1968 Ford Fairlane fastback. No, the car was not brand new and I am not quite that old…yet. And then in what seems a very quick succession, two full careers, a family, a lifetime of experiences, and now into the leisure of retirement. Retirement is probably more active than during the working years. One of the regrets, and there have been many, is that I did not take the time to find out about relatives near and distant as I was growing up.
Both sets of grandparents, paternal and maternal, had been born either in the 19th century or shortly after the new century began. I have no memory of ever meeting my maternal grandparents and know so little about them. I never gave it much thought. I know that my grandfather was career Army, served during World War II, and is buried in Arlington Cemetery. I know nothing about my grandmother. My paternal grandparents raised me so there was much more connection. One of my cherished possessions is an old photo of them in the early 1920s as they were on a date. What is so interesting is that they are in a horse-drawn buggy. In the early 1920s, very few people had automobiles. Now I am curious as to what life was like for them before I was born. How did they react to all of the local and world events that occurred during their lifetimes? I can’t ask as they have been gone for several decades. I just didn't make the time and then it became too late.
Fast forward to 2021 and the Autumn years of life and to enjoying the grandeur that is the North Shore and being part of the local community. It is not hard getting to know people here as generally everyone is friendly and always up for a good conversation. Unfortunately, getting to know about some of them has been through helping with the Friday morning Memorials radio segment, and also by attending funerals as part of an Honor Guard. It is too late then. However, there are sometimes unique opportunities not to be passed over. You may have heard about a special lady who had a special birthday on Wednesday. It was a special birthday for Alice because she celebrated her 101st. She is a special lady because she is a World War II Marine veteran. Think about that for a moment. We did not draft women in WW II, and she volunteered…to be a Marine. Happy birthday again Alice, and Semper Fidelis.
Alice is not the only neighbor available with a wealth of history and life experiences to share. There is also Robert. Robert is a resident of a local care facility. Robert started working with lumberjacks when just a
young teen and did that for 20 years, to be followed by a 30-year career working for Reserve Mining on their locomotives. Just imagine the stories he probably has. These neighbors and many more are all about us. They are in the various nursing home facilities, neighbors we may not have really gotten to know over the years, and even relatives, near and far that we have sort of taken for granted.
If we want to know what it was really like, we will have to take the time and initiative to ask the questions and have those conversations. If we don’t then we risk having revisionists, who were not there, and did not
live those experiences, tell us what it was like and what happened. Two other observations I have made. There are several excellent eateries in our local communities where people love to share a cup of coffee and a story or an opinion. And I have yet to go to someone's house where an offer for coffee and something to wash it down with, i.e. cookies or cake wasn't offered. It's understood that that kitchen chair is being offered for an opportunity to share and get to know each other a little bit better. Ready to meet new friends and share experiences? I certainly am.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
May you be blessed by God's word.