Refreshment at journey's end

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I drove out to Swanson Lake last summer, part of a two-party caravan prepared for a night of camping in the great outdoors of the Golden Plains.

Once our campsite was selected, I carried one load of supplies down to the lakeside, and promptly removed my tennis shoes and socks, immediately immersing my very hot feet in the cool soothing waters. Ahhh. I can still remember the relief.

My brother Dave and his wife, Joyce, have been walking a hot, hard path for the past year, most recently in the hallways of the Mayo Clinic.

Dave was afflicted nearly a year ago with symptoms that have grown progressively worse while a definitive diagnosis has remained utterly elusive. Their path is strewn with steep inclines and sharp stones.

A visit back home to Colorado, with stops in McCook on the way there and back, provided a brief respite in April, and I hope a moment of soothing relief for their overtired and overheated feet. Our conversations frequently turned to the subject of health and faith, and the varied journeys we are called to make during our sojourn here. Perhaps they were refreshed. I know we were, if only by their presence and shared faith.

Their journey is far from over. A diagnosis for Dave's myriad and mysterious symptoms continues to elude even the great minds at Mayo, in fact, they have, perforce, carved out a brief detour.

One of the diagnostic tools employed uncovered an unrelated yet serious condition that must be dealt with straightaway. A mass in one of Dave's kidneys was discovered last week and this week, he'll learn just how serious this latest setback is and what is required to treat it. It will be mid-July before the long sought-after diagnosis is made, if then. Meanwhile, he grows weaker and more debilitated with every passing day.

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus rose from the Passover feast and wrapped a towel around his waist. Taking a bowl of water in hand, he knelt before each disciple, and washed the day's hot, dry dust from their feet.

Much as the lake water immediately refreshed my whole body that summer day at the lake, the disciples were not only well-served and well-taught by their master, they were refreshed in his serving.

And surely, at our own journey's end, we will find sweet refreshment in the Living Waters. No matter how scarred and wounded our feet may be, no matter how steep and rocky our path, we will find full healing in those waters if we press on in faith, trusting him with all things.

And we can find refreshment in him at the close of each day's journey as well. He still carries the basin and the towel.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

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