Next Sunday we will check in to the hotel across from Baylor and early Monday morning Dale will have another surgery, this time hopefully to reverse what they had to do previously. We would appreciate prayers for success, for an uncomplicated surgery and a complete recovery.
It’s beea a very long time since I have written any personal updates but it’s been a helluva year or three so maybe it’s time.
I was fortunate to retire before Covid hit and it was beyond time. I was physically tired and not working under ideal conditions. My work ethic was at odds with the status quo and I spent a lot of time angry and tired. It was a blessing to leave it behind when I did. My own health became a problem and dealing with a chronic condition makes me so relieved that I retired when I did.
We survived covid though I went a little crazy and lost friends. Politics are now like something out of a futuristic novel I would have read in high school only the circus that is going on is not the future and it isn’t fiction.
I will never forget that I got shingles the day before the world shut down. Our little country church managed to figure out live streaming very quickly and I worked the phone lines using my own phone number if necessary to get all our folks vaccinated. We also live streamed Celebrate Recovery but it just is not the same and isolation was not a good thing for some folks. We kept the food pantry going. Just utilized the drive through and social distanced. Clients could pull up under the portico and we would load their care and off they went. We served anywhere from 40 to 60 families once a month.
There is now a thing called Christian Nationalism which is completely incomprehensible but no one asked me. I find it worrisome and even some of my family seems to live on another planet than I do. Some Methodist churches are disaffiliating because they are afraid a gay person might serve in the pulpit. In the grand scheme of things it feels like there is so much more to worry about than that.
I have calmed down publicly about all of that because color me shocked, arguing on social media doesn’t change anyone’s mind. I honestly think I was in a state of extended shock and finally just got so very tired of it all.
I have learned more about white privilege and like all the other things we have given names to, I try to understand and just be kind.
People are now concerned about choosing their pronouns and there is an entire alphabet now to describe a person’s sexual orientation. I’m 68. I don’t want to know about what you do in private. Don’t care. Don’t really understand why other people care. Be kind . That is all.
We left cable behind and stream tv now. We watch a lot of British TV and also Dale’s favorite old shows like Andy of Mayberry. The best part has been that I have to intentionally go looking for the news. It no longer runs my life in the morning, at mealtime, and before bed. I am a lot calmer because of that.
People are doing something called “deconstructing” their faith. I think it’s an unfortunate choice of wording much like defunding the police. It seems like we make up words and phrases to make people mad on purpose. Defunding was not actually defunding, but reallocating money to people trained to deal with situations that police were not trained to do. People are not really deconstructing their faith so much as they are taking a closer look at the faith they have allowed others to tell them they have and rebuilding their faith from their own reading and study. I believe that the mainstream churches are in a liminal time and my prayer is that when the dust settles, we will all be better for it albeit the growing pains will not be pleasant.
Dale had two major back to back surgeries and in the middle of that were several visits to the ER at downtown Baylor where we waited 8 hours to be seen. There is an erosion of thoroughness in medical care since covid. Staffing issues and burn out I am sure contribute but when you are a complicated patient it becomes so important to have an advocate. Dealing with multiple specialists who seem unable or unwilling to communicate with each other, nearly killed Dale. He was septic twice. When he finally got to come home, I had to have a steroid shot to calm down m immune system because it went crazy and I broke out in something like hives. There was a lot of care to be done when he got home and I felt very unqualified. Then after all of my being careful, we ended up with cover that I am pretty sure we contracted at the hospital. My fear was always Dale being immune suppressed but he was barely symptomatic. felt more like allergies. I thought I had the flu.
I managed to not kill him and he is doing better but it’s been a journey and a struggle to continue to have a little bit of a life in the midst.
I have been steadily working on decluttering the house. The pregnancy center store in town has been the beneficiary of many boxes. I start a box and when it gets filled I move it to the trunk of my car. When the trunk gets full I make a delivery. I don’t know if we will remain in this house. We have looked around because the yard and home maintenance have become more difficult to keep up with. Then there are taxes and insurance. Unfortunately there do not seem to be any good and reasonable alternatives. We did a lot of work on this place during covid. Living blocks from Home Depot, we could mask up and be there when the door opened and get what we needed for whatever project and slip out before people who were “not living in fear” showed up.
I have lost touch with some old friends, but gained some new ones that have created a circle of support that has helped me survive. If you are an old friend and wander by here, I have not forgotten you. My circle and my world has just gotten smaller. I’m still here. I think I have come to realize that getting older means that many things that used to seem important, no longer do. But friends are always important.
Several years ago, while cover was still running rampant but teachers were having to return to teaching, I determined to pray a friend through the school year. It turned into me reading and praying over a verse or few verses at a time. posting it to social media and texting it to my group of friends in the morning has kept me accountable and as someone who is extremely good at starting things but not so good at finishing, I have made it nearly to the end of Isaiah. It has been my faith “construction” I have been a lay speaker at our church for several years now. First Sunday of the month is usually my slot though I have gotten to fill in, in a pinch on other Sundays. Following the lectionary and my daily readings has created growth. So often I have had to go back and reread something because I had either 1. Never read a piece of text before or 2. skimmed and not got the entire text in context. It’s been an eye opening experience.
It’s time for bed. I will rub my knees with cbd lotion and read a little bit of Richard Rohr’s Breathing Under Water and then some fiction on my kindle. I’m writing on my poor 2008 Macbook which randomly hiccups and goes to the login screen so i have been backing up important files. I bought her used and she has served me well, but like me, she is showing her age.
Goodnight folks. Be kind.
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together. When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”
The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, “Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.” The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Do not let me look on the death of the child.” And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.”Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
I can stretch out my arms and hold the sky
Flower open to sun and soft breeze
Til the world rumbles and clouds crowd round
Arms wrapped in my shrunken world to keep the hail from bruising using skin to seal it out, heal it up because storms come and we curl and shelter as lightning hurls until it passes ozone smell floats off and birds sing as warmth dries up the puddled tears through years of weathered cycle learning that the changes range from good to bad and back again and seasons reason us like planets orbit, moons waxing waning tides and rides on waves of life and strife is just a moment in a lifetime bought a ticket ride the ride enjoy the view from every side as all will end you don’t know when
May 1 2022
Acts 9:1-6, Revelation 5:11-14, John 21:1-19
God you are amazing, and sometimes confusing and surprising. May we always find you, even in circumstances we do not understand. When we read a text like the story of Jacob and Esau and it seems that both parents show favoritism and family members deceive each other and because of their actions, grudges can be held for years. There is pain and separation, from you and from each other and sometimes we can’t see a way through. But you see and though our relationships with others may be a mess that we don’t know how to untangle, our relationship with you, our friendship with you. is forever. You are always faithful, always there, working for the good of everyone and we can trust that, lean on that, and hold tight to you. Amen.
God of Abraham, sometimes You tell us to move and sometimes You tell us to stay, even when staying doesn’t seem logical. But whether we stay or move, if we are being obedient to You, You are faithful to grow us right where we are. Amen