January 25, 2021

The winter storms and the bone-chilling temperatures of January remind me of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, held in January at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA. As sure as sunrise, Farm Show week would be cold and snowy. The complex is huge, with over 24 acres under roof, and 60 acres of parking. I’ve attended concerts, tractor pulls, PA regional and state wrestling championships, the Mennonite Central Committee Pennsylvania Relief Sale, and the PA Farm Show. I remember the smells, from the earthy scent of farm animals and the sweat of athletes to the mouth-watering smells of funnel cakes, donuts, popcorn, cotton candy and fried chicken.

I recall a visit in my early 20’s when for the first time I wondered out-loud what would happen if every single toilet was flushed at the same time. I’ve no idea why that thought came into my mind and out of my mouth, except for the fact that I always know where the coffee vendors and restrooms are located. There is a correlation between the two.

Since then, I’ve been more aware of the complexity of things I usually take for granted, like toilets that flush, lights that work, road construction that links us all together, toilet paper stocked shelves and the delivery of mail.

In this year of pandemic, I give thanks for basic, but not simple, things: For toilets that flush, and plumbers and miles of pipes carrying oceans of water, and sewers, wax-rings, floats and plungers; for lights that light, the persistence and brilliance of inventors, and wires that deliver electricity; for roads that lead us safely to destinations, curves with safe slopes, interchanges and bridges and line painters and signs and signals and crews to fill potholes and spread salt; for wood processing plants that yield paper that can be tough enough to box refrigerators or soft enough for Mr. Whipple, and the truckers and shelf stockers and stores that sell these miracles sheets of paper; for self-sticking stamps, and envelopes and zip codes and sorters and men and women who deliver packages, postcards, and personal letters to our homes with remarkable accuracy and timeliness.

We are the recipients and consumers of the creativity and labor of persons we’ve never met, whose work makes our lives so much better. For this, I give thanks today.

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and prosper for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17 NRSV) ~ Anne

These meditations are provided as a ministry in this time of pandemic as a ministry of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.

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