A Rummikub marathon marks MJ and my 42nd anniversary. She won five games and Jonathon won, one. I think that I was second place, once. Life has changed in the past 42 years. For one thing…I am no longer 20 years old. I recall being in a meeting with my friend, former Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard, where he briefed the University constituency heads regarding the dangers of the SARS virus, and the potential for a virulent pandemic…and how SIUC would respond to it. I ruminated regarding what it would be like to live through a worldwide pandemic similar to the pandemic of 1918.
‘In 1918, a new influenza virus emerged. During the same time period World War I was taking place. The conditions of World War I (overcrowding and global troop movement) helped the 1918 flu spread. The vulnerability of healthy young adults and lack of vaccines and treatments created a major public health crisis, causing at least 50 million deaths worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States.’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MJ reminded me that 42 years ago, this morning, I and my best friend, Steve, enjoyed breakfast with my mom in Eldorado, Illinois. I was so excited to soon become married to Mary Jane. I could not believe my good fortune. I do not remember being nervous..probably because I was to young to know better? I remember wanting to continue to be involved in christian service…and perhaps to become a minister, and to succeed in a career in order to help provide my new bride with a good life.
MJ was a school teacher and I was a janitor. I hoped that I could measure up? Needless to say…God has been very kind to me throughout the past four, plus, decades. I was just thinking that we should take a trip to celebrate our 42nd…and we shall once the virus has passed us by.
Now is a stellar time to reflect on where we have been…and where we are going. What is important to us? ‘Where there is life…there is hope!’ Political party and prejudice and peccadillos…melt away in the face of our shared humanity. We all want Dr. Anthony Fauci to speak to us every day! We all want the scientific and medical leadership of our leading immunologist and the Center for Disease Control.
Life has been the most harrowing and tighten-your-grip…white knuckle roller coaster ride since March 24, 1978. Often the view has been awe inspiring and at other times, the hairpin curves caused me to feel that I was going to fall out of my seat… But, after each challenge…I am changed…softened and more accepting and more reflective on the miracle of life…and the joys of the path back to Jerusalem.
So, soon, Jonathon will go and pick-up our called in curb-side delivery of our dinners from one of our favorite, local, restaurants, Hunan. We will enjoy the delicious cuisine and plan our futures…43 is just…next year…