By Tom Holmes
Pastor Mitty woke up last Monday feeling better than he had the day before. Somehow talking with Michael, working on his front yard and a good night's rest put what had felt like a defeat yesterday into perspective. He was able to dismiss his congregation's lack of responsiveness to his sermon with "you win some and you lose some." He had to smile. "Unlike the Cubs," he counseled himself, "I don't lose two for every one I win."
"What's more," he continued, "this is my day off. I'm free to do as I please." Mitty liked talking to himself. When he did, his conversation partner usually agreed with him.
Looking out his kitchen window, he saw that the skies were clearing. He turned on the radio and heard that the temperature might climb to sixty, and for a change there was no rain in the forecast.
The host of Morning Edition followed the weather with a reminder that it was Earth Day and introduced a guest who composted his organic waste with earthworms he kept in a bin in his basement.
"Way ahead of you," Pastor Walt crowed, patting himself on his progressive back. "Started doing that five years ago. Only reason I stopped was that the banana peels and scrapings from my dinner plate and moldy bread turned out to be a banquet for swarms of fruit flies as well as my worms."
And although he hadn't convinced the church council to install solar panels on the social hall roof, he had talked the members into replacing the Styrofoam cups they'd been using at coffee hour with mugs they brought from home and washed out after each use.
He heard his phone ring and picked it up. "Happy Earth Day" was his neighbor's greeting, and before Mitty could respond, Michael added, "I have some good news and some bad news."
Mitty felt a bank of anxious clouds covering some of his sunny mood.
"The doctor confirmed that I have prostate cancer is the bad news."
Pastor Walt swallowed hard, not knowing what to say, so he waited for Michael to continue.
"And the good news," added Michael carefully choosing his words, "is that for some reason I'm not real upset about it."
"Were you kind of expecting it?"
"I guess that's part of it, but you know Walt, after Ruth died, I went into a tailspin as you well know. But then, as I started to come out of it, I realized that by watching what she went through and then in my depression after she died, I had gotten better acquainted with death, so that now it doesn't scare me like it used to."
The two friends were content to be silent for over a minute, feeling deeply connected by much more than a telephone line.
"So," Michael broke the silence, "let's go out for a walk and enjoy what is turning out to be a nice spring day.
Mitty hung up the phone and as he was putting on his jacket, he thought, "Strange how my emotional weather changes. Woke up feeling more at peace than yesterday, then cocky, then anxious and now the sun is shining again."
"Got to be a sermon in there somewhere," he said to himself as he closed the front door and climbed down the steps.
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