I suddenly remembered a small, seemingly unimportant incident from my youth. I was about twenty and already aware of my innate impatient restlessness, which I continue to feel occasionally. “Where should we go?” I often asked then and still do today.
My good friend An¬na-Kai¬sa was easily persuaded to come along on my jaunts. She was always ready to turn everyday life into an adventure. The easiest way to do that was to travel. That time we decided to go to Kuopio. I do not remember anything special about that trip, but I am sure we had a good time with the easygoing people of eastern Finland.
I remember, however, that on our way back we barely missed hitting a moose on the road. We stopped on a lakeside lay-by to catch our breath after the fright. We talked about what could have happened and reminded each other how important it is not to have sin on our conscience.
We then walked down to the shore to marvel at the beautiful sunset that turned the lake surface into gold. A middle-aged lady also came to the shore and began to talk to us. She had noticed the happiness in our eyes and wistfully said she would love to be young again. “Oh, the good old times!” she said with a nostalgic sigh.
As we continued our journey, we wondered about her wistfulness. We were happy, for sure, but otherwise our lives were just normal. What was it in adulthood that made people yearn back to their youth?
But it so happened that a couple of weeks ago I found myself thinking, “Oh, the good old times!” Some time previously our oldest child, who lives in Rovaniemi in northern Finland, had asked me to come and visit her. I said I would come later in the fall. Secretly, however, I began to plan my visit right away. I contacted her roommates and boyfriend to find out a suitable schedule. It was exciting to plan a surprise. Packing my stuff, I almost felt like going abroad.
When I got to Rovaniemi, I had a very warm welcome. I felt I had traveled even further than abroad. It was as if I had traveled 20 years back in time to my own youth, when I shared digs with some friends. It was as if I had been sitting at the table in candlelight with my own friends, talking and laughing. Such wonderful, genuine young believers!
I wonder if our memories grow sweeter over time? Thinking back, I feel that when I was young, I had no worries and hardly any responsibilities. I guess I mostly worried about my nose being too big or, if I blushed, whether the color on my cheeks would disappear soon or stay for the whole evening. I might have felt a bit worried about a Swedish test at school, but quickly forgot all about it if there was something more fun to do. And there usually was.
If I remember correctly, we often spent long evenings sitting around a bonfire, talking, singing and laughing. Sheer idleness it was. It might have been due to that idleness that we had endless energy to plan all kinds of practical jokes. We did not have much, nor did we need much. It was enough to get something to eat every day, and we lived on very little. Sure enough, we needed some money to go someplace else whenever we had a bout of restlessness.
After my trip to Rovaniemi I felt good to resume my everyday life and responsibilities. I marveled at how rich my life is now, though it is never idle. There are, however, moments when I feel free from worrying – when I remember that the Heavenly Father has promised to take care of all our worries and burdens.
It is really nice and interesting to get to know people who are important to our own children in young adulthood. It is also exciting to get to know some parents of those friends. I enjoy the opportunity to see glimpses of young people’s life through our children and their friends. I can then sit back in my rocking-chair and sigh, ”Oh, the good old times!”
Text: Virpi Mäkinen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Oikeudessa puidaan pian sitä, mitä saa Suomessa uskonnonvapauden nimissä julkisesti sanoa. Samalla punnitaan kahden perusoikeuden, uskonnonvapauden ja sananvapauden suhdetta. Molemmat ovat Suomen perustuslain mukaan luovuttamattomia ja suojattuja oikeuksia.
Mikaelan perheessä ei paljon puhuta asioista. Tehdään töitä, käydään koulua. Mutta jossain pinnan alla on salaisuus, joka saa äidin hyräilemään surumielisesti ja Mikaelan silmäilemään tarkemmin muutamia nuoria koulun käytävillä ja ruokalassa.
Annika Koivukankaan runoissa heittäydytään nuoren elämän aallokkoon, sen iloihin ja kipuihin, koettelemuksiin ja arjen suloiseen turvaan – kun on usko, johon nojata ja rinnalla saattajia. Syviä tuntoja keventää raikas huumori: ”Kunpa voisin asettua hetkeksi koiran turkkiin. / Tuntea sen lämmön / karkumatkojen tuoksun / ja myllätyn kukkapenkin ilon. Paijaavia sormia riittäisi.”
Kahdeksanvuotias Nalle Karhunen on kuusivuotiaan Nupun eli Omenaposken viisas, kiltti ja hellä isoveli. Joskus Nalle käyttäytyy kuin talviuniltaan herätetty hurja ja äkkipikainen karhu. Silloin Nupun on parasta lähteä ulos tai laittaa oman huoneen ovi visusti kiinni.
Kirjoittajat eri puolilta maailmaa kertovat siitä, kuinka Jumala on johdattanut heidät valtakuntaansa. Kertomuksia yhdistää kokemus kotiinpaluusta, Raamatun mukaisen uskon löytymisestä ja uskovaisten välisestä rakkaudesta.