I am sitting in my office surrounded by the shear essence of who I am. There are two calendars on the wall depicting children at play. Hanging on the wall above my computer screen is an oil painting of a rodeo cowboy welded to the saddle of a wild eyed bronc done in hues of gold, red, black and brown. Two laptops are opened to various applications, as I prepare a teacher training for this coming Sunday, while figuring out some labyrinth of administrative hay wire tied to the non-profit for which I am a director.
The evening hour approaches and reminds me of the first afternoons spent in my new office on the 11th green of a golf and Country club. I was a youthful 68 year old retiree at the time. There was an awakening passion for the small town life to which my wife and I had escaped. The road to this life had become a narrow one. But I still write a bit for my own pleasure and of course watch sunrises and sunsets in absolute bliss.
Some of the clutter in my office includes eight golf balls that fell into our backyard when a few old duffers from my community severely hooked their drive off of the 11th tee this past summer. Each one is a trophy that fits right in with the die cast cars, model paper airplanes and squishy balls I use to award my “club” kids for being extra attentive. They are mostly good kids who enjoy the Bible stories, and the songs we sing, as we mentor their precious souls in the deeper things of God. There is a peace in giving ourselves to the kids in our clubs. Just as there is a peace in the process of collecting mementos of our club adventures. Though never physically present here where I do my pondering and administrating, children never leave my office now. I hear their laughter, their chatter and feel the chaotic love they expend all over my universe.
Songs often rise up from the deepest yet warmest parts of my soul, as memorialized monuments to my olden days that mark the shadowy way to where I sit this afternoon. Someone asks, “What do you like to do,” or “where are you from,” and the ghost-like memories of “how” and “why” it was the way it was, come flooding into my heart accompanied by some old song. Of course some of those ghosts are out of my Alan Jackson period of the ‘90s and some are from my Johnny Rivers period of the ‘60s. An image of my home-coming from ‘Nam is sound tracked by the mellow refrains of “Going Back To Big Sur.” Most of the ghosts are welcome and enchanting, and few of them overstay their welcome. But tonight it is a song from last week’s club that rests easy on my heart. Far from being a ghost, the memory is fresh and vibrant and the words caress my mind: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives, do I give to you.” I can still hear the children’s voices tenderly and reverently singing the Bible verse from John 14:27. I am at perfect peace.
The road to this peace I have with me tonight was a long one, and could never be explored or investigated in a few paragraphs. But gratefully along the way I came into a deep abiding fellowship with the God of all Creation and have his love so near and real in this evening’s sunset. I cherish this rising-moon-over-the-fairway moment like no other. And that is who I am. Not just today, but forever.