Dear Church Family,

Thank you to everyone who offered support to me during my recent surgery and recovery. Many of you brought meals, sent cards, texts, and Facebook posts. For those of you who do not know, I had surgery to remove a fragment of a disk in my back that pressed on a nerve there for several months, causing pain, numbness, and weakness. Turns out the fragment was 3cm! It's a wonder things weren't worse. My recovery is ongoing; I'll start physical therapy soon.

I spent the two weeks following surgery resting at home- watching lots of TV. No, not the Olympics or even Rangers baseball, but mostly movies and reruns of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. I've always loved THE TWILIGHT ZONE. It's a wonderful reflection of American society in the late 50s and early 60s, a time of great anxiety and wonder. The space race was in high gear, as well as threats of global nuclear war. Episode after episode centered around individuals lost in their own struggles. They were often isolated and out of control. A classic example: a man, played by the legendary Burgess Meredith, is the lone survivor of an atomic explosion in his city. At first he struggles with loneliness and survivor guilt, but then he realizes he now has all the time he lacked before- he can read every book in the destroyed library. Then he drops his glasses and they break. Reality sets in.

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My experience of THE TWILIGHT ZONE was very different this time. I was feeling much of the same loneliness and anxiety. The house was quiet- the boys were in Bay City, Christy at work. I was unable to do the simplest of activities. A big difference: I did not feel despair. I knew my family was near, my church family was praying for me, I was supported by friends, and my faith was strong. Jesus promised each of us abiding love, presence, and peace through our faith.

Isolation and despair make for powerful stories- real and imagined- and too often end in disaster. May the strength of our faith, realized in fellowship and connections with like-minded believers, give us the courage and hope we need to endure during the challenges we face. Remember the words of Jesus: "I will not leave you orphaned. I am coming to you" (John 14:18).