Most people are doing the best that they can. I grew up in a former coal-mining town, Eldorado, Illinois, and the hardscrabble friends and neighbors that I had were ‘Salt of the Earth’ people. Southern Illinois has never been known for a booming economy. However, you would not know it by the richness of spirit kindness, and benevolence of the residents of Little Egypt. When the coal mines were prominent in Southern Illinois…they were not high-paying jobs. My step-father’s dad, Mike, was a coal miner and he was never a well-to-do man. He never learned to drive and subsequently walked everywhere that he went. The little thriving business district of the Eldorado of my youth had become in later years a group of Antique Emporiums. In the 1960s there was one Theatre left out of the three that had been prominent on the town square in the 1940s and 50s.
Walmart looked like a Ghost Town today when I was shopping for vitamins and snow scrapers. People are either ill from Omicron or afraid to get out…or both. The geese have set up camp on the far bank of Campus Lake…but some ducks remain. I learned from my good friend, Jeff D., that he had a friend who had contracted Omicron and almost died…and has residual physical effects that are ongoing. I am so happy that MJ Jonathon and I had been fully vaccinated and boosted prior to our getting Omicron… I have been reflecting on the eternally sunny disposition of our pastor, Kerry, and his encouragement in our troubled times. Have you ever met anyone that just by hearing them speak…you feel uplifted and encouraged and strengthened? Kerry has a pastor’s heart.
Southern Illinois is one of the most lovely parts of the state and rivals anywhere in the nation. It is much like the popular Butter…it is a ‘Land of Lakes.’ The natural beauty of our region has never been successfully marketed for tourists. The land’s unparalleled beauty is a hidden treasure.
Although our Pandemic is still with us…I have felt extremely calm and centered. Each day is a profound gift and we are a bit like the Blues Brothers…’On a mission from God.’ I wonder if once we pass from this life and reflect on our time on Earth if we will not wonder what we were so worried about… So often we are surrounded by heaven and would rather ponder hell… We want to help others…but we are afraid and so we dig a hole in the earth and hide our talent.
We are somewhat akin to the Old Testament Prophet Elijah, ‘Then he said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold the Lord passed by, and a great strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ I Kings 19: 11-13
What are we doing here…is the question of 2022…