“I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory… I will make every effort to see… that you remember these things.”I Peter 1:12f
Memory. Most of my life I have been blessed with a good memory. And most of my memories are good. I grew up in the ‘50’s when America was the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Almost every friend my age grew up in a two parent home. Close to half of my class were from farm families. There were chores before and after school.
In my grade school of about 200 students, I can remember only one student in all eight grades who was from a divorced home. He was an anomaly in our community and in our era.
We had Bible reading and prayer every morning. In a public school!
I walked a quarter mile to the school. We lived half way back a half mile long lane just west of the school. It was a quarter mile to the road to catch the bus or a quarter mile through the fields to the school. Everyone of our teachers was from the community. Our fifth grade teacher, Virgil Yoder, lived the fartherest from the school: 5 miles! They all knew my family and we knew the teachers’ families. My eighth grade teacher taught my dad AND my grandfather! I was a third generation student for her.
Franklin Twp. School was closed by the Triway district two years ago and is now called Willing Hearts Workshop, a school for Amish Handicapped children. I went to their fund raiser on June 3, mainly to visit my old school. About 1000 people were there scattered among the four big tents with goods and auctioneers to raise funds. I wandered through the old schoolhouse where every room had a memory. The huge new gym is no longer huge and no is longer new. In fact, the whole school house seems to have shrunk.
I left the school auction and drove back the lane to visit my birthplace. No one was home, so I drove on back another quarter mile to the old stone house and the pond where I used to fish and where I learned to swim. No one was there, so I stood there and basked in the memories of my idyllic childhood. The picnics back here; the bass and bluegill we caught in the pond and cooked right there on the bank, or at home; the sled riding, the swimming, the hunting… the time our dog kept barking and running back and forth like Lassie on TV, so we finally followed her and discovered that little brother Steve had wandered off and was stuck in the freezing swamp. Our dog saved Steve’s life!
We have been off the “farm” (it wasn’t really a farm) for over 50 years, but it is still my “home place.” The first eleven years of my life were there. I reminisced over how God has led me from the little boy who thought that “Bah, Bah Blacksheep” was written about him (“…one for the little boy who lived back the lane.”) to a prison minister/singer who has been to all 50 states and 45 countries and has met some very significant people and friends.
My Saturday jaunt to Franklin Twp. School and then back the lane where I started out was a reminder of how God has blessed me. I have visited countries where the people don’t seem to have a chance. What if I had been born there? Or what if I had been born in the inner city just 60 miles away? Or what if my parents had not been loving and encouraging…?
I thank God for my family, my heritage, my abilities… and that somewhere along the line I had enough sense to quit trying to make it on my own and look to God through Jesus to guide me. He has lead me to the right woman, the right “job” (if you can call it a job), He has given Lydia and me good children… I am blessed!
Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth. I remember my youth and thank my Creator!