Prior to the breakdown of traditional families in America, my parents generation were committed to maintaining relationships with their extended family. Despite living four hours away, I visited grand parents on each side of my family 3-4 times per year. I didn’t need ancestry.com to know who my relatives were. Rather, I grew up sitting around a large kitchen table listening to stories for a minimum of 30 minutes per meal. My earliest recollections of my mom’s father, a resident of Hershey, Pennsylvania was sitting on his lap eating chocolate kisses. While this chair rocked, it is considered a glider, green leather upholstery with stained wooden arm rests. As I grew up, Grandpa Kautz and I developed a special bond, the love for golf. After retiring, my grandfather became a starter at Hershey Country Club, able to play golf for free after work. Prior to his death, my wife Leanne and I were able to play 18 holes with him on this course. Although none of us played well, I still cherish the memories of this day. Following his death, my grandfather left me 2 possessions, his golf clubs and his rocking chair/glider.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, Psalm 119:105.
Last spring, my wife and I traveled down to Tampa, Florida to clear out her father’s condo. Jim Wagner was an avid golfer who visited this place a few times each winter to avoid harsh Chicago winters. After 25 years of vacations, the condo was sold following Jim’s death in 2017. It’s amazing how many possessions you can accumulate and fit into a two bedroom condo over a quarter of a century. Sorting through each closet was emotional for my wife, a 3 day chore that resulted in several piles: donations, keep and trash. One of the items that was headed for the dumpster was a tall lamp made out of driftwood. At first glance, I agreed to throw this out. However, this piece of furniture grew on me, especially with the brightness, illuminating one side of the master bedroom. Thus, I couldn’t part with this light, driving it back to Delaware. Prior to this trip, my grandfather’s chair was collecting dust in the corner of my bedroom. Due to a lack of light, I wasn’t able to see so I kept finding another place to read. As strange as it may be, it seems that this glider was waiting for my driftwood lamp to make an unusual partnership. Now, a day doesn’t go by without turning on this lamp before sitting down to read, write or watch television.
Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left [the house], and went out to a secluded place, and was praying there, Mark 1:35.
Jesus made a practice of finding a secluded place to spend time with his heavenly father each day. The passage above doesn’t provide a specific location like a desert, mountainside or the wilderness. On another occasion, Jesus encourages an audience to go find an empty room, close the door behind you before praying. Prayer, study and worship isn’t meant to be public act to bring attention to yourself. Rather, God wants individuals to locate an intimate setting so that there is nothing to distract you. As for me, my grandfather’s glider and driftwood lamp has become like an inner sanctuary. As I open up the Bible, study these pages and pour my heart out to God in prayer, I connect with God. To a certain extent, this chair has become my Cave of Abdullah, 1 Samuel 22. This place in my house now serves as a refuge, where I can retreat from the troubles and worries of life. While I could always do better, become more committed and focused on the Lord, I continue to withdraw each day as God waits in eager expectation for me to turn on my lamp and recline in this chair.
by Jay Mankus
This chair has become an