When my dad resided in the assisted living facility at Harwood Place in Wauwatosa, WI, he frequently could be seen walking the property, both inside and outside. He often wore a favorite yellow cardigan sweater with one or more of his World War II army medals affixed to it at chest height. This was so noticeable that one of the maintenance workers nicknamed my dad “the general”. Dad left no doubt that he was proud of his military service as a telephone operator in the jungles of Burma. His medals also reminded him of a special and pivotal time in his life.
My parents also were abundantly clear about their Christian faith. The sacrificed to send me to Lutheran schools from 4th grade through college. Regular church attendance unquestionably was a priority, even when circumstances might dictate a more prudent, earthly response. I distinctly remember a time, after I’d left home and married, when my parents went to church even though the temperature was hovering at a balmy 25 degrees below zero. Dad simply went out every so often to make sure the car would start! Every aspect of my parents’ lives evidenced their faith.
Consider these words from St. Peter: “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to every who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Even though, as author Jeff Manion ( The Land Between ) would say, our transitional times are not where we want to be, we can nourish or- if necessary- resurrect our hope by grounding ourselves in God’s Word and giving thanks for those significant people who have shaped our faith in the past and those who continue to encourage our transformational growth in the present.