TITLE: For Health's Sake July 17,2012
By Margo McKenzie
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She sat by the window in the coach bus watching the city brownstone streets slowly pass by, and then the bus picked up speed on the main thoroughfare. She munched on the goodies inside her paper bag while she watched the cinema of the cityscape disappear only to be replaced by lush green trees and grass and a sky she never knew stretched so far. She loved these annual Sunday School bus rides with her grandmother's church. By the time the bus arrived at Heckster State Park, plums, potato chips and the bologna sandwich which her mother had so lovingly prepared would be gone.
Once she joined forces with her cousin Katie the laughter would begin. “Hey, Anna, I’ll race you to the tree.” They would laugh all the way, no matter who won. Then they would settle down to help sort out all the food their grandmother brought: a pot of rice wrapped in a aluminum foil, potato salad, fried chicken and, of course, cod fish cakes. After the meal, as delicious as it was, more fun quickly followed. They walked to the pool for an hour of splashing, swimming, and water tag. Then they dried, dressed and arrived at the designated green expanse ready for the organized fun that Uncle Frank carefully planned.
Using a bullhorn, he called for children of various ages to participate in the races. “On your marks, get set. . .” and then bang went the starter gun.
Everybody came to watch the games. They brought their chairs while the excited participants on the sidelines waited for Uncle Frank to call for their age group. Though there were only three, everybody felt like a winner. The claps and cheers were for all.
Uncle Frank, a youth minister, though never called one and never trained to be one, planned all the fun of hard-boiled egg races, three-legged races, dashes, relay races, tug of war and the finale, the peanut-find. He would throw the peanuts in the air, and everyone would scramble to collect as many as possible in bags he distributed. Everybody left with a bag of peanuts. Some people left with two.
For children, picnics in the park mean fun and games in a wide stretch of grass bordered by trees. For adults, picnics mean planning and serving before the reward: eating, sitting and chatting in the outdoors with family and friends. For some it also entails recapturing the fountain of youth by participating in childhood games. “All right, everybody forty and over. “ Their involvement made the children laugh even more. “I didn’t know Sister Maynard could run so fast!.”
“There is a time to weep and a time to laugh.” (Eccl. 3:4) Picnics are surely a time of laughter.
In Proverbs 17:22, David says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Medicine must be taken in specified doses and in specified intervals over a specified period of time to remedy a targeted ailment. Sometimes people don’t even know what ails them, but they know they need a dose of something to get them moving and grooving again.
They should picnic. Gather some of their favorite foods. Get away from cityscapes of cement and stone and find a place where God’s grass and trees are plentiful and the azure sky is unimpeded from view, prepare the table and enjoy feasting at this point of intersection between man and God.
That’s the kind of living He had planned for us way back in Eden. Through His grace and mercy, He allows us opportunities to pull away from the hustle and bustle and get a glimpse of the way things were meant to be, and, in the process, heal.
We should picnic to our heart’s delight. In addition to those we bring along with us, our body and soul will say, “Thank you.”
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