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Getting married all over again

by davesandel on June 9th, 2021

Wednesday, June 9, 2021                   (today’s lectionary)

Getting married all over again

I guess it feels a little like courting. When Margaret and I suddenly got serious in 1979 or so, we were together every day and every night, as often as possible. She complained that I wanted to get so close that I stepped on her toes, and I’m sure I did. And that happened some yesterday, as I maneuvered the IV tower and she struggled out of bed, so we could walk together arm in arm, to and fro, through the breezeway to the beautiful, quiet atrium, where each time we step in, four high walls of windows lift our eyes up to the blue Texas sky.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.

Like during our honeymoon, we talk and even whisper together, waiting for whatever comes next. And we really don’t have much idea what that will be. Forty-two years later, what we know is that we are still together, and God is in the middle of us.

If what was going to fade was glorious, how much more will what endures be glorious?

We hear more every day about what the doctors expect. We hope today to talk with the infectious disease team. Yesterday we met Dr. Neely, the cardiac surgeon, and he told us there are two infected heart valves, mitral and aortic, that need to be replaced, along with, possibly, a small piece of cardiac tissue between the two. Our prayer continues. God, reach in and hold Margaret’s heart in your hand, make it soft and clean, heal it altogether.

None of the surgery can happen yet, because her infection isn’t quite under control. She feels a lot better, she isn’t constantly sleeping, her temperature is normal, but there is still work going on inside. And she must stay in the hospital until her surgery early next week, or so they think, which will be for us … what? At least 10 days. The hospital room Margaret did not want to set up housekeeping in, is feeling more and more like home.

Miles sat for an hour coloring pictures for his grandma in the morning, and Andi brought them to Margaret in the afternoon. Friends at church sent her some balloons and a plum-colored teddy bear. Andi and Margaret worked on some posters for the walls, and taped them up. While I was counseling, they walked down to the atrium. I saw them from my distant corner and waved. There they were. And I reeled at the emotions surging through me when I saw them, so much love, and wistfulness, and prayer.

Holy is the Lord our God. Worship at his holy mountain.

Dr. Nulu, the cardiologist who is also Dr. Neely’s wife, said “It seems like a long time. This will take weeks, but we hope it will give you back years.” Margaret said, “Years with our grandchildren.” Dr. Nulu smiled behind her mask and nodded. She and Dr. Neely have two kids, and another is coming in August.

When she was six years old, Margaret had open heart surgery in Louisville to repair a mitral valve birth defect. Eight doctors got involved. The surgery changed her life, because she had a kid’s high energy for the first time. Dr. Neely looked at her when she told him about that.

“When was this again?” 1956.

His eyes sparkled. “My dad might have performed that operation on you!”

His dad is 94 now, and in 1956 he was the chief resident surgeon at the Louisville Children’s Hospital. How do you like that? The room swam with the sweet joy of remembrance and reunion.

Whoever obeys and teaches the commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oh, the stories we can tell! Soon after that Dr. Neely walked out of the room with the student who was shadowing him. We stayed of course, feeling more at home than ever. God, you are so good.

(2 Corinthians 3, Psalm 99, Psalm 25, Matthew 5)


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  1. Donns Skaggs permalink

    Was the infection Covid related or a staph infection?

    Prayers for Margaret, You and your family during this long hospitalization, surgery and RECOVERY. 🙏🙏🙏🤗

    • davesandel permalink

      Actually it is a streptococcus mitus infection. Thanks for your prayers, Donna 😊

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