“The Old Church and the Schoolyard”

Sunday, August 30th, 2020. 2:14 PM.

The Old Church and the Schoolyard

August 29th, my dad’s birthday

Also Ingrid Bergman’s birthday

And she departed this earthly life on the same anniversary date as her birth.

And she was so beautiful

And Eileen is beautiful

Mark: “Eileen, Good Morning! I’ve been having the sweetest imaginings of us meeting again for the first time in ages!”

Eileen rolls her eyes – to express the trial she suffers from Mark’s irrepressible and nearly constant imaginings of her in his adoration for her and pondering the wonders of her beautiful being.

Eileen: “Oh really, Mark? Well, why don’t you write and tell me all about it – beginning with where this meeting might take place.” Silently, Eileen is thinking: Well, maybe I can just try to understand this as a form of entertainment – like reading the comics in the Sunday newspaper. “Marky’s Musings” might be an apt name for his writing. “How Marky Maypo Grew Up and Found a Pen and Began to Write.”

Mark: “I was imagining meeting you at the corner of North Main Street and Daniels Street in Woonsocket.”

Eileen: “Isn’t that where our old church building still stands, Mark?”

Mark: “Yes, it is.”

Eileen: “Why there, of all places, Mark?”

Mark: “We have shared memories there, Eileen, going back to the 1960s when we were in school and in choir practice on Fridays; and being in the church for Mass on Sundays; and we made our Confirmation there, together. You and I walked side-by-side up the aisle several times during Confirmation practices.”

Eileen: “Any other reasons why you’d like to meet me there, Mark? What are you planning to do there with me – sing me a song, like “Get me to the Church on Time.”?

Mark: “Well, Eileen, I really like music; but, I’m not very talented as a singer.  The front of the church building outside at the bottom landing of the staircase seems like a beautiful place for us to meet and have a talk together.”

Eileen: “What is it about that spot that is special to you, Mark?”

Mark: “Well, it looks really nice. And it is an open space. Perhaps, we could even sit down on the lowest step of that staircase – just like school children might — and have a sweet conversation, a kind of reunion – just you and me. And later, maybe we could walk to the park-like place where our old school building stood for many years; where you taught school, later. I walked by there a few months ago and found it all very special – even the park was pleasant to see. A squirrel came scampering across the open space in the park from Daniels Street; [reminded me of a record Mom brought home once upon a time from her shopping trips; it was about Peter Rabbit getting his jacket caught under a fence of Farmer McGregor’s garden as he was trying to escape; after munching in Farmer McGregor’s vegetable patch. The music became very shrill; and it was giving me anxiety as the big farmer man was coming to get his hands on poor Peter Rabbit]. And there were crows, too, on the property and small trees and grass and a paved path. The crows reminded me of a mysterious scene in a music video of a hymn that has my mother’s name in its title. And her name is also in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah 62:4 NIV.  She departed this life two years ago this month of August on the 15th in 2018. She was 88. Her name is Beulah and that name means “married — A symbol of true Israel” [The Open Bible’s Biblical Cyclopedic Index. Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers 1975]. This is the hymn:

Sweet Beulah Land – Squire Parsons

A day later — Sunday, August 30, 2020. 5:56 AM.  Eileen, before starting my computer this morning, I was thinking of an idiom: “The Third Time’s the Charm;” so, I went to this website to get the definition: https://www.theidioms.com/?s=the+third+time+is+the+charm.

Please forgive me, if my thoughts are sometimes bold; please consider the possibility that my bold thoughts may come from the Lord’s Holy Spirit. I write that because it is in relation to marriage that the idiom came to mind. Maybe, Eileen, you will be married to your true husband, someday; maybe a third marriage is in your life, yet – just as the kingdom of God is coming for and to those who are willing to hear and understand and believe the true gospel of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ – and thus be born again and saved; and receive the salvation of their/our soul; and the hope of Eternal Life and the power of His resurrection, by the grace of God through faith in His Son, Jesus our Saviour, the True Husband of His Body, the Church of Christ. For this to happen, though, we must repent of the sin of unbelief that many practice. They just mock in their minds; and entertain the thoughts of the skeptics; or ridicule the truth and life; as if it’s all a joke and life has no real meaning and no eternal value.

Some songs are coming to mind, now, Eileen. One of them is called Barbara Allen. It is a very serious song; and yet it also has much tender sweetness to it. I would say it is a heart-toucher. It makes tears fall from my eyes.

Joan Baez. Barbara Allen with lyrics

Another sweet and sad song coming to mind this morning is this one:

Green Green Grass Of Home Tom Jones & Englebert Humperdink with lyrics

Getting back now to the setting of our old church building and the stone stairway leading up to the doors. I was imagining us meeting there and sitting down. We might sit at opposite ends of that first bottom step with our aging backs resting against the rock base to the left and right of the stairway.

Eileen: “Mark, why have you brought us, in the Spirit, to our old church building? This parish is closed now, you know.”

Mark: “Well, Eileen, the parish may be closed but God’s church is still open for His children. Are you one of His children, Eileen?”

Eileen: “Mark, I really don’t want to talk about that subject. I thought your interest in me was romantic.”

Mark: “I am romantically interested in you, Eileen; however, according to God’s Word, His children must not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”

Eileen: “Are you implying that we are not both children of the same One True God?”

Mark: “Well, do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour?”

Eileen: “Mark, I just told you that I don’t want to talk about this; so, will you please stop asking me those questions?”

Mark: “OK, let’s change the subject.”

Eileen: “Thank you.”

Mark: “I recall that after you became a teacher, you taught school in our old school building. It was only yesterday, though, that I wondered for the first time, which of our classrooms you taught in.”

Eileen: “Mark, I also wonder something about you, too.”

Mark: “What is it, Eileen?”

Eileen: “Why do you keep thinking of the Past?”

Mark: “Well, since I haven’t seen you in decades, I don’t have you in my life to enjoy being in the Present with you; so, where else can I go to see you and think of you and imagine you except into the Past? Maybe, Eileen, if you were in my Present life, I could immediately come out of the Past and into the Present – if you were there/here with me in the here and now.”

Eileen: “So, you are suggesting that it is incumbent upon me to see you again; and get you out of the dry well of the Past and into the Living Well of the Present?”

Mark: “Well, Eileen, you do live in Cumberland; and Jesus did have a serious conversation with a woman at Jacob’s Well – about living water and eternal life — and her marriages, too.”

John 4. ESV.

Eileen: “There you go again, Mark – talking about Jesus, again!”

[Three flocks of Canadian geese just flew by [almost directly over] Kennedy Manor as I wrote the above words.]

Mark: “Well, Eileen, Jesus is vitally important to all of our lives. He is the way, the truth and the life.”

Eileen: “We don’t all view things the same way, Mark.”

Mark: “How do you view things, Eileen?”

Eileen: “I told you, I don’t want to talk about that subject, Mark.”

Mark: “OK.”

Jesus at the Center by DARLENE ZSCHECH

Eileen: “Why did you inject that remark about Canadian geese, Mark?”

Mark: “It seemed important. It was real. I stopped writing immediately at the first sound of them; and went out onto my porch on the 8th floor here at Kennedy Manor to catch a glimpse of them. At first glance, I only saw their quickly moving shadow across the ground below as they passed immediately to my left – where the West is. Then, I heard more of them honking and looked North toward the horizon where Blackstone is and Harris Pond; and saw two more flocks coming directly toward me; and then they veered just slightly to my left, the West again, of Kennedy Manor, and toward the Blackstone River behind this building. Eileen, you and I went to Canada in 1974 with the Rhode Island Hikers Club. That was the only time in my life – so far – that I have been outside the United States of America – and it was with you. We sat together on the bus all the way into Canada — and all the way back to our Country. We went to Montreal. I believe that name means Mount Real. Life always seems very real to me whenever I’m with you, Eileen. You really liven up my sense of being alive and in the Present, Eileen – like electricity going through a light bulb you brighten my experience of being. And your name, Eileen, means light. And Jesus is the Light of the world.

This Little Light of Mine

Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven (Lyrics)

Jennifer Rush – The Power Of Love (Official Video) (VOD)

Eileen: “Mark,  your many thoughts about me – and these songs you imbed in your story – suggest that you have very powerful emotions and ideas about me; perhaps that is why we aren’t together; what I mean is that while some folks find lightening and thunderstorms exhilarating, others find them frightening.”

Mark: “I understand what you mean, Eileen. The gospel of Christ calls us to peace. We are not to quarrel with each other.”

Eileen: “What is your point there, Mark?”

Mark: “Maybe it would be better to turn to God and ask Him what the point is to all this.”

Eileen: “What do you mean by this?”

Mark: “Our human lives.”

Eileen: __________

Mark: “Unless we accept as Truth what God’s Word tells us, we are all lost in a sea of merely personal opinions about the meaning of life. Maybe the point of all this writing is to help give readers something to ponder regarding faith in God and salvation. Do you remember, Eileen, that time at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, when you came over and said Hi to me and asked what I was doing at the dictionary stand? I was looking up the word soteriology – which is defined as: “(ca. 1774) : theology dealing with salvation esp as effected by Jesus Christ” -Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition.” Intellectuals may only appreciate this as a matter of ideas; while people whose heart is opening by the grace of God and who are being called by Him, may begin to see that the things of God are really spiritual and meaningful; and by believing His Word we are changed and become enabled to see with the eyes of our understanding His kingdom and that we may enter His kingdom through faith in His Son and be saved.”

Eileen: “Saved from what?”

Mark: “In the gospel, we learn from Christ what His work of redemption on the Cross of Calvary saves us from — if we believe in Him with all our heart and mind and soul and spirit.”

Where To Find Hope

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