Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
Have you noticed the changes occurring around town lately? A sure sign that time signals a multitude of seasonally related events. Let's see, there's the always comforting signal from the local Dairy Queen – it's open again! There must be certain subliminal business psychology that I am only now just becoming aware of. Since the coldest part of the winter, DQ has posted a sign stating when they would open again – a definite harbinger of hope in an otherwise tundra we call home. What is impressive is that they opened again while it was still winter, with several weeks left on the calendar until spring – this Saturday. On behalf of a grateful populace, allow me to say thank you. The strawberry sundae was well worth the wait.
Another indication of a new change is the re-purposing of the old Shopko into a new commercial venue courtesy of the Seagren family enterprises. More business is good for business. Then there is the good news out of St. Paul that the governor is relaxing some of the pandemic restrictions which will result in another step back to some form of normalcy.
Have you noticed that the parking lot at the local hospital has appeared more occupied as of late? Are more people are ill and needing services? Perhaps, but what is known is that the local area is slowly, but surely, receiving more COVID vaccine. Again, timing is everything as new eligibility criteria have gone into effect, allowing more to be vaccinated. This is not a discourse on the merits or drawbacks of receiving a
vaccination - that is entirely a personal choice. I recently became eligible and received my first shot today. First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the process. This includes those seen and those behind the scenes who make sure things flow smoothly. The entire process took a mere 25 minutes, 15 of which were sitting for required monitoring after the actual vaccination. What made it so memorable? The people. From the time I entered the hospital, until completing the five separate stations, I was greeted with friendly smiles and sincere, caring attitudes. I was not only grateful for the opportunity to receive the vaccination; I was even more grateful for the opportunity to meet such dedicated and caring people. Please remember, these Public Health personnel, hospital workers, and especially volunteers are our neighbors and friends. You all are truly awesome!
Finally, there is another type of seasonal time passage. Here I refer to the season of life and the passage from it. It is with a heavy heart that I reflect here on another loss from the Greatest Generation. This past
Tuesday evening Karl passed away. I had only met him a little over two years ago and he made an immediate impression. A proud Finn, Karl delighted in trying to teach anyone who met him how to count in Finnish. I find English challenging enough, but Karl never gave up trying. His pride was his service in World War II, his beloved wife, Ann, and his family. Karl also delighted in telling me everything possible about growing up in Toimi, Minnesota, and the Toimi Schoolhouse. I have never been there, but I feel like I know it as well as a native son, courtesy of Karl. To be sure, Karl had some challenges in his life – just like so many others, but he humbly admitted how grateful he was to have just lived as long as had. At 95 years young, he certainly had his own opinions and wasn't too shy about sharing those. But what will stay with me is his firm handshake when saying goodbye, and his insightful observation, "There are fewer of us left
who remember what it was like." Karl was referring to growing up during the Depression and then going to war. He was right, and now there is one less.
I take comfort in knowing that there are community members who are helping to keep us going with new businesses, helping us with vaccinations, and those helping to care for those from the Greatest Generation as well as those who provide the services we need every day. Finally, I am most grateful that God provides what I need, both now and for eternity.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
James 1:17 (NIV)
“ Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
May you be blessed by God's word.