Smoke screens

Kathleen Kjolhaug Religion Columnist
Friday, September 17, 2021
Article Image Alt Text

The Canadian wildfires were burning and the result was not mist nor fog, but smoke.

“I can’t even go for a walk!” I complained.

“Yes you can. Just wear a mask!” was the solution given.


I headed to the basement as I recalled seeing an exercise bicycle down there somewhere. As I darted to the corner, sure enough, there it stood as if awaiting my arrival since I’d last ridden upon it.

Statue-like it stood, surrounded by memory makers. You see, not only did this room hold the exercise bike, but many an item or two from those not wishing to relinquish them quite yet.

I sat upon it making minimal effort as I thought it best to warm up. After all, it had been a long time since I’d ridden. The cobwebs floated above and once I moved some junk out of the way, I had room for serious pedaling power. The breeze from the front wheel of the bike made the cobwebs float higher and as I looked up, a paintball helmet caught my attention. Turning a bit, a neon colored snowmobile helmet looked back as if waiting to be noticed as well.

Upon a nail the red plaid shirt kept time as once-upon-a-time it had been used for maple syrup production. Ties worn for special occasions hung in crooked accordance alongside while boxes of books, trophies, and paraphernalia from passions galore stood watch while awaiting trial. Will they be kept? Or will they be tossed? It all depended on how much a heart can depart from the memories made by each item. For now, they await their fate until their master returns to subject them to his final decision.

The weeding out of things near and dear is a slow process. Collections of old scream within earshot in hopes they live forever in the banks of yesterday’s memories. Connected we are to not only things around us but to those who surround us and have surrounded us … to those who have gone before us.

Who we are threaded and embedded among is the Communion of Saints. It always intrigues me how they were called for such a time as they were, and we are called for such a time as this … until the next one is called for their time. Those who have walked this world before us know it well. They know of the trials and tribulations this side of the veil. I love reading about the ones who have lived the faith. I love reading about those who fell and rose again simply because He rose again. And because He rose again,

“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20).

This side of the veil is long and it is hard. He promises us … “In this world you will have troubles. Yet, fear not for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

All these thoughts swirling because fires in Canada are burning, and I ended up in the basement on a bicycle built for one. Thanks for being part of the Communion of Saints. May you find time to read about one or two. It will encourage. Amen.

(Kathleen Kjolhaug is a religion columnist.)



How do you feel about the Rittenhouse Verdict?