Beyond Four Walls
The minister came week after week, leaving me each time with something to ponder. As my strength was renewed he brought me books on all manner of things and opened my eyes on a new world.
One day he asked me what I had been doing since he saw me last.
“Oh a lot of the time just lying looking at the sky.”
“Well, you would see all kind of cloud formations-stratus cumulus, nimbus, high cirrus. I’ll bring you the pictures and diagrams used in the lighthouse here and you can become a weather prophet.”
“I like the night sky,” I said. “and the moon and all these millions of stars.”
The minister nodded. “And yet,” he remarked, “each one is individual. To quote 1st. Corinthians For one star differeth from another in glory.”
On one occasion, I was out on the balcony scattering crumbs for the birds. He looked up at the gulls circling overhead.
“You know,” he said, “I have always been fascinated by the phenomenon of migration. In the book of Jeremiah you can read of the flight of the white storks which came from northern Europe in huge numbers to cross Israel and the Nile valley. And a wheatear is smaller than a sparrow yet it can fly from Greenland to Spain across two thousand miles of sea. There you have a small miracle, a built-in instinct of greater omplexity than the most elaborate scientific instrument.”
What a wonderful psychologist this country minister was” All the time he diverted my attention from myself extending my imagination beyond the four walls of my room and making me feel part of the world outside.
On a day of howling wind, I told him I was ill at ease. “I think it is the wind which unsettles me.” I said.
“Maybe,” he replied, but what is wind but a current of air moving in many shapes, blowing where it listeth. Can you imagine it encircling the globe? In Greece the warm Etesian winds, in Canada the Chinook of the Rockies, and in the Argentine the raging Pampero blowing out to sea. Here I find the wind often exhilarating; and what a spectacular effect it has on the waves! You appreciate that surely?”
When the time came for me to return home, restored in body and spirit, my friend and mentor bade me farewell urging me to read my Bible daily.
As I sadly watched him ride off on his bicycle I was vividly aware of the privilege it had been to know, even for a short spell, the warmth and compassion of this man of God.