Written by Steven Liechty
"You have been . . . a shade from the heat." - Isaiah 25:4
I met a family in California. They ran a vineyard together; their skin had taken on a bronzed leather from outdoor work. They wore blue jeans. They were blondes. The grandmother said she was worried about her posture at age 87 – even though she stood up delightfully straight. I was jealous of their harmony and their postures and their suntans.
Our group took a long uphill hike in the mountains. The 60-ish son-in-law took his mother-in-law's arm all the way up and all the way down. Yes, down hiking is harder than up hiking. She asked to rest in the shade at one point and he patiently waited. They talked openly about how hard it is to let the land and a business go, especially if your daughters don't want to take it on. The daughters listened in and said, "Yup, it is." The land just smiled about its future.
What a joy it was to receive their shade. To know relief from the burning sun of our envies. To know that all people are not at war with each other and that some even like to walk up the hill and down the hill, arm in arm.
Whenever we imagine that everybody has trouble and that we are glad that everybody has trouble, release us, O God. Let us learn to receive the good news of good postures, genuine honesty and vines that need not fear. Amen.