I recently broke my foot, falling down a flight of basement stairs. My husband decided to take me camping in the Adirondack Mountains to get me outdoors. Convalescing by the campfire instead of the couch sounded much more appealing and I welcomed the diversion. We ventured up to the Royal Mountain Campground and enjoyed some of the finest ice-cream I have ever tasted.
Several of the campers stopped by our site after noticing my foot was in the cast and they offered their sympathies as I hobbled along on crutches. One man, Bill Miller, came bearing gifts that lifted my spirits. One of his “show and tell” pieces was a Diamond Willow Wood Walking Stick. Bill shared it with me, encouraging me to feel the smooth of the wood and the craftsmanship of the piece. My husband snapped a few photos, one of me holding the stick and the other of Bill with the stick and a wooden cane.
When we returned home, I was looking over the photos that we took of our short camping trip. I decided to research the Diamond Willow Wood Walking Sticks. The walking stick or staff has biblical roots and is mentioned in the bible in Numbers 17. As I was searching the Internet, I stumbled upon Ken Laninga’s site. Ken is known as the “Stickman” who has been providing folks with these wonderful walking sticks made from the Diamond Willow wood for many years.
As I read through the pages of Ken’s site, I was startled to read the following passage,
“My entire stick business is for sale. I have discovered that I have terminal cancer of the pancreas which has spread to the liver. On June 20, 2012, the surgeon said he expects me to die by September 20, 2012.”
Isaiah 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Suddenly, I heard that still, small voice that spoke volumes to my heart and I needed to speak with this man. I was suddenly more concerned about reaching out to Ken even though I will never meet him (on this earth anyway) and more concerned with bringing some joy to his remaining days. I needed to tell him that I may have held one of his Diamond Wood creations and that it made me smile as it comforted me. I touched the grain of the wood and marveled at the magnificence of the craftsmanship. I also needed to share with Ken that this life is temporary and as believers in the eternal world to come, we know that we will be reunited with our loved ones eternally. I searched for an email and sent it off to Ken, copying his son-in-law on the email in the event that he could get the message to him quicker. I know that any cancer can end a life unexpectedly and time was on the essence.
I received a return email from Ken Laninga and he asked for permission to share my email in its entirety on his blog. Ken wanted to leave behind some lasting memories for his family and apparently the “email from a stranger” (who was me) is one of his treasures that he is leaving behind. I am thankful to have met this man, if only over the Internet, and I was glad to help him. I told him to save a seat in heaven when I arrive. When we meet one day, we’ll have a whole lot to talk about but mostly how God allowed us to ‘connect’ while we were both still here on earth. God revealed “the mystery of His Will” for Ken and me to meet the way we did and that is the mystery of our Awesome Heavenly Father.
“He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment -to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.” Ephesians 1:9-10