Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.
—The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkein
* * *
The road of life is a rough road. That can’t be helped. Even after retirement, the road goes ever on. Wear good shoes.
I retired six years ago. A lot of nice things were said about me and my work at the commemoration. Thousands of words were spoken—gracious, elegant, evocative—but, alas, I only remember five words. They were in the traditional “Charge to the Retiring Minister”:
Get yourself some comfy shoes.
Thus spoke the Reverend Pat Donohoe.
There’s no precedent in the Bible for her admonition, but then Pat has a flair for humor and metaphor, just like Jesus. Maybe in her eyes, Jesus wore Crocs.
Well, why not? The guy could be funny.
It’s easier for a camel to squeeze its butt through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
And then there’s this:
Okay, boys. Let the one who has never sinned cast the first stone. Who’ll be first?
Maybe Jesus winked half the time and we just didn’t see it. I mean, it takes a real sense of humor to say: Blessed are the meek, they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are the poor, theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.
Who can believe such silliness?
As it turns out, the way of Jesus is the way of joy. It’s not a way out of this world into some other world beyond. No, the way of Jesus is a certain way of being in this world, of being in love with the earth and all who dwell therein.
To love all creatures great and small, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love our enemies, to love kindness and do justice is a hard road. It goes ever on.
Get yourself some comfy shoes!
I think Pat meant “shoes” as a metaphor. But I bought three pair anyway. Happy feet make the road less difficult.
Blessed are the smartly shod, they shall walk on air.