Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The “Church Basement Ladies"... They’re NOT!

The “Church Basement Ladies”... 
they’re NOT!

Ever see a painting that makes you think you could almost walk into it and feel what it’s like?
  Such is the 7th annual re-enactment of the Leonardo da Vinci painting of The Last Supper at Urland Lutheran Church during their Lenten season.  Local men were “morphing” into the twelve disciples from 2000 years ago.  

Behind the scenes...

The idea of being among those “disciples” brought me to the church early that night.
I explained to the men that I was videoing them to show the changes they’d make in their transition to the Biblical characters.  

    James Zebedee - Marc Hernke
But since they didn’t know I was coming, I added that I was willing to step out of the room quickly if they needed privacy.  (Keep in mind that I am from a generation that was raised on the virtue of modesty - to some extent anyway - and I probably wouldn’t be comfortable in the Minnesota Vikings locker room!)

Thomas - Curt Beissel

No panic

But the guys didn’t seem to mind me being there.  Although I began to panic when they loosed their belts... but they were all wearing burmuda shorts under their jeans!  It was still cold here in Minnesota.

And they were kidding around... although they weren’t the Church Basement Ladies!  But laughing like guys do... probably like they did with Jesus.

                     John and Peter - Al Hernke and Dennis Thue

And I was honored to be among such men.

Re-enactment of the Da Vinci painting.

The program is based on the painting The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci back in 1452.  He shows Jesus breaking bread and also warning them that he knows: “One of you will betray me.”
     Each man then tells about his relationship with Christ and wonders aloud... “Is it I Lord?”

Jesus - Aaron Busch

Who would do this?

  Now the dictionary explains that the word “betrayal” means to be disloyal, unfaithful, break faith with, sell out

  Since we know Judas is the one who does the deed, I was waiting to hear how his character would explain his choice. 
In effect he explained that he was trying to force Jesus to take his role as ruler - commander in chief.  He appeared to believe Jesus could do it... but Judas wanted it done now.
And so he “betrayed” him, "sold" him out - later that night.

Am I also Judas?

  And then I pondered about whether I wouldn’t also fit into this category of Judas - of betrayal.  
Because even though I may have followed some of the ten commandments what about the other times when I disobeyed the command to “love one another”. 
Wasn’t I “betraying” Jesus then?

The only comforting thought I have is that although Judas chose one way of dealing with his betrayal... he had another choice... to change.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A little boy… and his dream for “someday”!

What do cops do off duty?

 A little boy 
and his dream for “someday”!

The cold gray skies of winter took a break that afternoon allowing the sun to beam down on the procession of about 17 squad cars with their lights flashing as they traveled along Highway 19... probably spreading concern to oncoming vehicles who immediately pulled over to squat on their side of road... perhaps wondering if they had missed the warning of a huge accident or emergency evacuation.

What it was

But it was one of the activities that Goodhue County Deputy Tom Wolner explained that cops like to take part in best.   Goodhue County Sheriff Deputies, Cannon Falls Police Officers, State Troopers, along with Red Wing and Prairie Island Police came on their personal time.

They were chauffeuring a young ten year old boy from his school, Burnside Elementary near Red Wing to his home in Cannon Falls where they were honoring him for his efforts to help others suffering from difficulties like his and also to help encourage him in his upcoming surgery resulting from his injuries.

What had happened

Gage Robinson suffers from “Shaken Baby Syndrome” which he received due to vigorous shaking when he was 10 weeks old.   His mother, Penny, explained that Gage has vision impairment, some responses similar to cerebral palsy, anxiety, OCD tendencies and difficulties because part of his brain died in the shaking.
Penny had been told in the hospital they didn’t think her child would live through the night.  Following this she was informed that he would be a “vegetable”.
Gage is now 10 years old and because of his efforts to improve his situation along with the help of professionals, he is spearheading fundraising and education for the causes and groups that have helped him and others.

But there are problems

         Gage still has his own problems to deal with.  Later this month he will be having extensive leg surgery.
His therapy is almost a full time job, Penny explained.  Besides physical problems Gage works on his “memory recall”.  

It’s not an option

And his mother doesn’ t want him to feel sorry for himself.  So when he hits a low time she encourages him by asking, “Now what are we going to do to make this better?”  

Gage also dreams of becoming a police officer.  So members of his family thought he would like to receive police patches to encourage him.

The plan is formed

This is where former Cannon Falls police officer, now Goodhue County Deputy Mike Ayers comes in.  When he found out about Gage’s situation, he sent out a call to surrounding agencies for the escort and support. 

Deputy Wolner then designed and ordered the "special" badge for Gage, to give him as an honorary deputy.  This was made possible through donations by sheriff's office employees in the Administration, Investigation, Patrol and Dispatch divisions.

The agencies also provided other gifts showing their support and “welcoming him and his mother into our family!”  

Wolner added, “Law Enforcement can be a challenging and rewarding career and participating in details such as this is one of the greatest honors we have. It was a great event and it was truly a humbling experience shared by the participating Agencies!”

For more information go to Facebook page: 
Gage Gives Back.
For video see  below 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's not morbid… when you're among friends!

It's not morbid... 
when you’re among friends!

It doesn’t seem morbid to talk about your own funeral with friends who work for a funeral home. They seem comfortable dealing with this part of life.

Although it might seem like a subject you don’t want to bring up... kind of scary in fact. Sometimes it almost seems like if you don’t think about it... that whoever in the universe is in charge of these things might forget about you... and forget about when your time is up... so why attract his attention?

But it might also be easier to think about these things in a small town where you not only know the funeral director but probably the doctor who assisted you at your birth.

Although I have only lived here a few decades and will always be considered a “newcomer”, folks here have taught me many good things.

What my friend's funeral taught me...

Recently I went to the funeral of a neighbor, Melroy Thompson. Several years ago his wife Cathy and I wrote an article for the newspaper about Mel’s descent into Alzheimers disease.

The reason was to share the ongoing tragic events of this problem so others who may face it would have some warning... some inkling of what might happen... and what to do.

A cowboy...

Mel was a true cowboy. He raised horses. He had loved them since he was a child. He was a member of the local saddle club. You might have seen him in a parade.

I figured that at his funeral they would probably have his saddle in a place of honor. And his horse buddies would be there in their western regalia.

So that morning I dug out my leather fringed jacket and cowboy boots. I felt kind of dumb drawing attention to myself wearing such an outfit but I wanted to honor Mel. And I figured his buddies would be dressed similarly so no one would notice me.

Oh - Oh!

I was finishing getting dressed when I pulled on the jeans and was horrified to note that I had gained a little weight over the winter. As I buttoned the waistband I wondered if I was going to be able to breathe for the next two hours!

But it got worse!!!

Then it got worse when we got to the church and I realized I was the only one dressed in cowboy attire!

But it was after the service and luncheon were over that I got to talking to Donna Anderson. She and her husband Dean assist the director at the funerals.

What would be displayed next to the coffin?

I chuckled and explained that in no way did I want my saddle displayed at my funeral. My saddle is an old worn out synthetic material saddle that has had the leg straps replaced - they don’t match each other - and the stain has worn off in spots and I’ve covered it with permanent black marker - which hasn’t been very permanent!

But my lightweight saddle has come through a lot with me. Back in the years when I had a chronic health condition, I was too weak to lift a leather saddle. This old artificial one worked just fine.

What's wrong with this?

Then I got to thinking... what’s wrong with having my old saddle at my funeral? I guess a funeral is no place to put on “airs”, as they used to say!

A better idea?

But as I was pondering this topic... I think it would be better to replace the saddle with my little old MacBook. It’s gone a lot of places with me. It’s heard a lot of frustration from me. And I’ve learned a lot using it.

Even better?

Actually... as I’m thinking about this... I think it would be even more appropriate to just have an old manure shovel there. I’ve spent a lot of time using that to clean corrals and sheds.

So my question to you is: 
what would you display? 
 We’re having fun fooling around 
with these ideas anyway... right?