STAYING CONNECTED IN A TIME OF ISOLATION, Day 65

Practicing our faith through the times of the Coronavirus

Each day our Pastor will post a message to keep us connected while the Church is closed.

Day 65, May 17, 2020
“Buried treasures”

What kid has not dreamed of finding buried treasure? A secret map…mysterious clues…cloak and dagger…hidden intrigue…clever disguises…melted snow. Melted snow? Ever since I slapped on an eyepatch and joined Long John Silver in the search for Treasure Island, I have been enamored with buried treasure. When I finally did discover buried treasure, it was not through secret maps, mysterious clues, cloak and dagger, hidden intrigue, or clever disguises. I found the buried treasure through melted snow.

Our move to Rhode Island in February of 2015 coincided with a rash of snowstorms that blanketed the ground several feet deep. And then it kept snowing. Through February, through March, even into April. We loved it! This was our first experience with snow. Our streets were covered in snow. Our driveway was covered in snow. Our beaches were covered in snow. And our yard was covered in snow. For two California kids, the snow was a welcome treat. Four months of White Christmas!

The winter of 2015 was long, lasting well into what should have been spring. When the snow finally melted, we were presented with a wonderful blessing. We realized there was a nice big yard in front of our house. Bullseye, who thus far had not found the cold and snowy weather in New England much to her liking was reborn as a frisky pup, bounding out to play, chasing birds and rabbits, and soaking in the sun as she lay on the warm pavement of our driveway. After the snow melted and the grass and beddings were finally visible, I was outside watching Bullseye frolic in the yard. It was then I noticed a treasure that was in our front yard. We had not been able to see the treasure because for the first several months it was covered in snow. The melted snow revealed that the previous owners had placed a stone at the base of one of the trees in our yard. On the stone were written these words:

GROW OLD ALONG WITH ME

THE BEST IS YET TO BE

I still get excited about putting a patch over my eye and hunting for treasure with Long John Silver. I still love the idea of secret maps and mysterious clues, cloak and dagger and hidden intrigue, and I’m always up for throwing on a disguise. But in the spring of 2015, we unexpectedly found buried treasure through the melting of the snow. Now in the spring of 2020, I am starting to find some buried treasures through something as strange as a virus that has caused us all to hunker down at home.

Just last Sunday, Nancy Fortin set up her weekly video chat with the kids from church. Nancy invites all the kids every Sunday morning at 10:30 to go online. We spend about 30 minutes listening to a story from the bible. We hear how the kids are doing. Best of all we see their smiling faces. Our time closes with a prayer together. Last Sunday Nancy sent me on a treasure hunt. Last Sunday was Mother’s Day. Nancy remembered I had used a story in church several years ago that is a perfect Mother’s Day story. The cover of the book is a drawing of a boy who has destroyed a bathroom, pulling out yards of toilet paper and leaving it spread all over the floor. The boy sits on the floor of that bathroom as happy as can be, his face flush with the most beautiful and innocent smile. The cover of a destroyed bathroom belies the tender tale that awaits when you open and read, “Love You Forever.” Nancy asked if I could find my copy of that precious little children’s book.

Immediately, I was off on a treasure hunt, all because of this crazy Coronavirus Crisis. I found the book. I found the treasure. Last Sunday, on Mother’s Day, Nancy read the story to the kids who gathered with her on a Zoom call. Nancy’s voice broke as she came to end of the story. That little bathroom destroying toddler grows to be a pretty decent adult. The man, now a father himself, comes back and holds his aging mother in his arms. The story swells with emotion as at each stage of the relationship between the mother and her son, there are these heartwarming words: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like for you always, as long as you’re living, my baby you’ll be.”

The Coronavirus Crisis is many things, most of them terrible, most of them the cause of great stress and distress. While not downplaying the damage of this devastating crisis, I wonder if it has not also been a treasure hunt. I have heard from many that they have done some extensive housecleaning during the long stay at home. Whenever we clean house, we find buried treasures, keepsakes that mark precious moments or photos sending us back to days long ago and happy times spent with loved ones. Yesterday, on an absolutely perfect New England spring day, we rediscovered a treasure known as the East Bay Bike Path. We walked from Barrington almost to Bristol under a canopy of trees with the warm sun brightly reflecting on the waters, serenaded by birds and refreshed by the breeze. The Coronavirus Crisis has given us time to find the buried treasure of rediscovered and renewed friendships, relationships that have reconnected after 10, 20, 30, even 40 years. Along with all the difficulties and loss associated with this long time of isolation, I hope these days spent at home have also been a treasure hunt. It has certainly been a chance for me to discover some very special treasures. Even now, sitting on my desk as I write these words, no longer buried away but instead occupying a place that is front and center so I can see it every time I sit down, on my desk is a treasure, a book with a title that says so much about how I feel for you, our dear friends. “Love you forever.”

With the love of Christ,
Wayne