March 24, 2017

Dear St. Stephen’s Family and Friends,

“Things” don’t often draw tears but when the kitchen table, (a table where Vickie and I had enjoyed her family and coffee for decades), was removed from her parents house, the tears flowed. Last week my thoughts were on my Mom and basements. This week I’d like to share some thoughts on drawers and my Mother and Father-in-Law, Tix and Jimmy Arnold of Corning, Arkansas.

Vickie’s Mom died in 2005, her brother in 2007 and her Dad in 2011. Not only did that leave her an orphan, but also without any siblings. She’s shared there is a loneliness to that reality that no one can transcend and that only God understands. I believe her. We struggled to figure out how to handle all their “stuff” after her Dad died. We decided to have a house sale inviting people to come and buy whatever they liked.

That meant we had to clean out everything. It was like an anthropological dig. Each drawer we explored told the story of the past 50 years of the Arnold Family. It was a fascinating experience. The first part of a drawer contained current items. When I reached back into the recessed parts of the drawer, out came the pictures of their son Steve who had died, pictures of Tix, and further back, all their mementos of our son Nicholas who died in 1989. Further back were pictures of their children, their parents, their siblings, houses, cars and their businesses. Every time something happened they added it to the drawer. Trust me, those drawers all over the house were packed. It took hours to sort them out because of the story they told, the memories evoked, the feelings experienced, the joy and grief revisited.

Sometimes we need to put things in a drawer for a while. Some times we need to open the drawers and reach inside and see what there is to behold. Tix and Jimmy knew every item that was in each drawer. Some they took out and looked upon, some not. Some memories were too painful for this life and now are healed in the life to come. Like our lives! Lent is a time to explore opening the drawers of our keepsakes and taking a look. We often begin thinking that this “stuff” has to go. And then we remember and admit that some things can go and others must stay even if we never look at them again because it isn’t that they are located in a drawer in a desk, but they are located in a drawer in a room in our hearts.

Love and blessings,


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1070 Dutch Road, Fairview, PA 16415 * 814.474.5490