I got up early and drove over to the Mansion to bring Art his new CD player and a complete set of discs containing the entire Holy Bible. Art and I give thanks for the letters he is getting from the Army of Good and some of the faithful, he has begun what he calls his new ministry.
He is eager to receive letters about faith or from people of faith.
He is preparing for this new work, he ordered some flyers and pamphlets and books to send to people who have written him. His new air conditioner is working well (thanks again, Army…) and his room is becoming a kind of unofficial office for his ministry. Pamphlets and booklets are piling up on the bed.
His days have sharp focus now.
Art is from Montana, he moved into the Mansion to be near his brother who died recently.
I love the Mansion, and I especially love the way the staff cares for the people there, they know how everyone if feeling at any given moment.
We had the sense that he was lonely, and after the death of his brother John, a bit adrift.
There are other religious people at the Mansion, but none quite like Art.
Your letters (c/o Art The Mansion, 11 S. Union Avenue, Cambridge, N.Y., 12816) have been a great help to him. He feels he is part of a congregation as well as a ministry.
The other day, we prayed together, and Art asked me if I was a "believer." I said I doubted I was a believer in the sense that he meant it, but I said I was a seeker, and that was good enough for him.
Art's faith is strong and unyielding, we agreed not to talk religion too much, but we like praying with one another.
I am comfortable in that room, and so is Red. I took a short video of the Bible reading (above) so people can hear it and get a feel for the room.
How curious is life. Art and I could hardly be different, yet we seem connected. He is from Montana, a fervent and absolutist evangelical and outdoorsman, and a hunter and fisherman.
Gee, I was thinking, if Art and I can work it out, wouldn't you think members of Congress could do the same?
I set up the CD player next to his bed and chair, and I put volume One of the Bible inside and turned it on.
We sat together and listened for a few minutes, it's working well, Art can here it clearly. Art is very happier, happier than I've yet see him, he loves his new ministry and will now be able to sit and listen to the Bible, he eyes keep him from reading.
"This is something for my days," he said.
All of his letters and papers have arrived, he is beginning to reply to his letters today.
As I got to leave, Art asked me what he could give me in return for the air conditioner, the letters, the CD player and the Bible CD's.
I shook my head and said "nothing, you can just enjoy them and find meaning in your life."
He nodded, "that's what I thought you'd say, just "use them."
He told me a story. He said he would often stop in Montana when he saw stranded motorists or broken down cars. They would offer to pay him, and he said he would tell them: "just do it for somebody else, that's all the payment I want."
He shook my hand. "I can't thank you enough," he said. "You just did," I replied.
Ah, I said. We are brothers from different mothers.
We made plans to pray together sometime over the weekend.