Poppa’s Moment by Phil Larson
This morning as I look out the kitchen window while cooking bacon, eggs and tortillas, snow is falling here in Oklahoma City … in April. That’s rare and comforting, and it takes my mind back nearly three decades to 1994.
It was May and my family was camping in the mountains near Hesperus, Colorado. One morning I rose around 5:00 a.m. Rain had taken the weekend by surprise and confined us to our tents, so it felt good to get outside.
Another family had set up a cook tent and had fresh tortillas, beans, and pork chops. The smell stimulated my senses. My wife and kids were solid asleep as I joined the others and enjoyed some early morning laughs. I had not laughed in a while. Snow still slept in the shadows high in the mountains where we camped, and snow still slept in the shadows of disappointments in my life.
Spring was on the way but had not quite arrived. That weekend I was leading a family camp for a congregation located in Farmington, New Mexico, where some friends pastored. These were friends who stood with us. We had shared life as we trained together at a ministry school in 1980-1982, we graduated together, and here we were sharing life together again. Many seasons had come and gone. Spring was on the way, but winter grabbed.
From 1982 to 1990, ministry and family and job intertwined. There were many miracles. A church had grown out of small groups. A church had crashed and gone. Four children grew our family. Companies disappointed and folded in the days of the oil busts.
In 1994 it was winter, but spring was on the way.
For a few years I retreated from ministry outreach in the community. It was strange to respond to great success with great disappointment, but that’s where I was. The mix of family and work and ministry just pushed me beyond my strength. Ground recovers in winter. My soul recovered in winter.
After great harvest comes time for fallow land. Our hearts need rest. Spring comes.
This morning, cooking bacon, eggs and tortillas in my kitchen, another spring comes. This COVID-19 comes on top of many crashes. Children are grown and have children of their own. My wife and I work with struggling families teaching life and relationship skills. The business career days are over. The community campaign days are back. Some four decades later, we are fully engaged in similar pursuits to when we started. My knees are weak, but my heart is strong.
Companies have come and gone. Many seasons of ministry have come and gone. We have had a great life, and more is coming. Springs and summers and falls and winters come and go. And spring is on the way. Winter still has a grasp from the last crashes of the prior years, but spring is on the way.
Over all the ups and downs, the triumphs and tragedies, I’ve learned. Spring is always on the way. Great harvests require the soul to lie fallow for a season. Winter is my friend. I’m only 64. There is snow on my roof and spring is on the way. There is a lot of new life ahead of me.
Phil Larson serves as the SW Director of Benefits and Conferences for Grandkids Matter and GrandparentBenefits.org. He and his wife, Dian, live in Oklahoma City and have four children of their own as well as many that call them mom and dad from the community. Three of those children are married, giving them a mix of six grandchildren of multi-racial background by both birth and adoption. You can contact him at 405.494.0637 or firstname.lastname@example.org.