Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

February 26, 2017


Making the most of days of isolation


       The good doctor said, “You need to take this medicine daily and remain in isolation for 14 days. You will be highly contagious for the first 10 days.” With that she left my hospital room to visit other patients.

       Easy for her to say. Not so easy for me to do. But with my wife’s help (at a distance), I have been living like a hermit in the back bedroom, growing a beard and trying to make the most of the time.

       I have been consoled by remembering that I am not the first person to be quarantined. Many others have spent much greater time in isolation. Saint Paul wrote some of his New Testament letters while holed up in a stinking prison. John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress during his long imprisonment. And not so long ago Martin Luther King Jr composed some famous letters from a Birmingham jail.  So I figured at least I would continue writing my column for the newspaper.

       My confinement has given me time to study the paintings on the wall in my room. When we are busy with the affairs of life we only glance at wall paintings. This week I have gazed at them with profit to my soul. The most delightful painting in my room is titled “Dance of Grace.” A smiling Jesus is dancing in a circle with several children and you can almost hear the music to which they were dancing. Mark Keathley says his painting is not intended to illustrate a moment in the life of Jesus but to depict the delight and celebration that Jesus invites everyone to join in the present.

I got up with my walking stick and danced around the room for a few minutes. It was a fun moment that interrupted the monotony of isolation.

       Another large painting that hangs over the head of my bed is precious to my wife and to me. The painter used a palette knife and striking colors to portray a spectacular arrangement of peonies. She bought it “on time” when we were young and had hardly enough money to buy groceries. After paying ten dollars a month for almost a year, she brought it home and sheepishly admitted how she had obtained it.  “Once I saw it, I had to have it,” she said. If our house catches on fire, I know Dean will haul that painting out first and then coming looking for me. I love the painting not only for its beauty but because it reminds me that I am married to a woman who knows the meaning of sacrifice. She was willing to eat sardines and crackers in order to obtain something that has beautified every home we have lived in. But I still don’t care for sardines. They make hamburger helper taste good.

       C-Diff has given me time to read several short stories: The Queer Feet by G.K. Chesterton, Magnetism by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Man Who Was by Rudyard Kipling, and The Other Place by J. B. Priestley. But the best of all has to been to discover how relevant for today is the book published in 1931 by E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount. Anyone wanting to reach people with the gospel will find this old book a captivating read.

       Three more days and I am done with this isolation. And you know what that compels me to say: GLORY! + + +