Long day, started early. Had to be up to make it to a doctor appointment, mine for once. A 24-mile drive one way. Dear Wife had planned to accompany me, but was simply not up to it, so I went alone. Story of my life, apparently. Did The Thing, was pronounced alive. Go back in six months. Up until two years ago, I had very very rarely gone to see a physician of any kind, not since I was barely out of high school. Now they have me on some blood pressure meds and something for the cholesterol, and warnings about the sugar level. The meds require periodic monitoring, which I guess makes some sense. So, go back in March or so.
Went there via a series of connected freeways. A bit more distance, but it avoids the wretchedly arranged traffic signals that plague the area. Came back another way,surprisingly little difference in distance (about 2 miles, 22 rather than 24). Bad roads, much of it. And through a dystopian landscape. This area used to be -- 30 years or so ago - a busy bustling heavy manufacturing area, autos, basic and finished steel, coal mining and processing, stuff like that. Now, well, in the main the basic steel -- meaning iron ore and such in one end, steel slabs and coils out the other -- is gone. Some re-melt of scrap steel into strips and pipe and such, and some fabrication work. The auto assembly is still there, but the component makers are largely gone. The coal mines are gone. The result has been mile after mile after mile, of abandoned factories, closed businesses large and small (except for the taverns, carry-out beer joints that sell lottery tickets, a private prison, and some drug rehab and halfway houses), and weed-choked fields where houses, schools, and churches used to be. Miles and miles and miles of broken-down houses and broken-down people who have lost everything, beginning with lost hopes, broken lives and dreams. Drug use, including heroin, supplements the alcoholism.
That's what I drove past.
I believe that we are all here for a reason, including me. I don't yet know what the Lord wants of me, not really. But what I saw and know bothers me, and I believe it bothers Him even more so.
The Old Testament passage is chapters 15 and 16 of the Proverbs
The New Testament reading is chapter 1 of 2nd Corinthians.