Bob Shober was my best friend for over forty years. We met at S. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. We thought of ourselves as real adventurers, but in truth, we were indulgent aristocrats, and either one of us could have easily won the part of Felix in Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE.
Every autumn we tried to catch a long weekend of foliage viewing. This year we were in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and decided to drive to the top of Mt. Greylock. As we neared the apex, low hanging clouds suddenly enshrouded our car, and left us crawling at about five miles per hour.
At one point the clouds cleared momentarily, and we were stunned by how perilously close we were to a steep cliff without a guardrail. Though the view offered a glimpse of glorious color, we knew enough not to stop and risk a major fender bender.
Suddenly the sun appeared, and the clouds became “our carpet”. We pulled off at a rest area with an awe inspiring scenic overlook. We decided to sit out the cloud cover if we could, and enjoyed a hot coffee and scone from a cart being hosted by a lanky ginger haired college kid. He sensed our enormous relief and promised the clouds would indeed soon fade.
We wisely chose to return to the bottom and our hotel. On the drive back down, every turn and view was more breathtaking than the last. This was a truly transforming time, when Heaven had come down to earth, and we had been given the chance to reach up and embrace it. To hug a miracle, even for a moment, is to come to our senses, and to be reborn.
At this point, we each noticed the other was in tears. We laughed and told one another to never breathe a word of it. “Bill, I have a lump in my throat so huge, I can't even swallow.” “Bob I'm so full I am leaking.” Oh how we loved playing poet together.
Lent can be a long and even frightening journey, but it is well worth the climb. Lent is seeking. It is reaching up to the beauty and goodness and majesty of being fully alive. Lent is a downward ascent, and will finally head back upward assured that Easter will be found somewhere near the top.
O, Lord of Lent, we give thanks for moments which give us a glimpse of Heaven, and the chance to behold the earth adorned in Grace. Lent somehow manages to brings us down to earth, back to Life, and up to God. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.