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Getting to know our neighbors, who are leaving today

by davesandel on July 15th, 2021

Thursday, July 15, 2021                                 (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 Getting to know our neighbors, who are leaving today

Moses heard the voice of the Lord from the burning bush and asked, “Who shall I tell the children of Israel summons them?” And God replied, “I am who I am. This is my name forever, my title for all generations.”

Brent and Brett were born twin boys in 1966. Their parents Ron and Z, our next door neighbors at Encompass who actually live in a long wide ranch house near Leander and are leaving today for home, didn’t know if they were having two boys, two girls, or one boy and one girl. They had a name picked out for one boy, and that was Brent.

Then out came another boy, and they didn’t want to name him Brenda, but they both liked Brett. The boys grew up as their father’s housebuilding business took root, took shape and then began to prosper. Today they are prospering themselves, following in their father’s homebuilding footsteps. Brett is an award-winning construction superintendent in Austin, and Brent owns a master woodworking company near San Francisco.

Tell the elders of Israel that I am concerned about how you are being treated in Egypt. I have decided to lead you up out of the misery of Egypt into a land flowing with milk and honey.

One day, Z got out of bed and said to Ron, “We need to teach our boys how to give.” The kids were small, and together they all wrapped gifts, jumped in the car and drove to Mexico. They liked Mexico, it was close, and then for several years they really enjoyed it at Christmas. For them the family celebrations came at Thanksgiving, and the “giving” expeditions came at Christmas.

They have a grandson in California, grown now. They wish they had more, Ron especially. Ron is a very gentle man. He gave me one of my first post-Covid hugs the other day in the hallway outside our rooms. When he retired and sold his company to care for his wife, he didn’t sever all his ties. He had people working with him for many many years. The loyalty sounds familial.

The Lord made his covenant binding for a thousand generations, that which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. The Lord remembers his covenant forever.

Z can’t wait to get home. She had back surgery a couple of weeks ago. “Are you any better?” She looked a bit chagrined. “No, not really. I’ve had back surgeries for the last fifteen years.” She smiled her charming, slightly crooked smile. “I don’t guess they will be able to do much for me anymore.”

Last night I met her sitting in her wheelchair sitting outside the front entrance, smoking a cigarette. She was joined by my very large, black, lemonade loving buddy Robert, who sits in his wheelchair and talks constantly on his red phone, mostly with his brother Jeremy. “Jeremy has a job!” he said on Tuesday. “I can’t hardly believe it.” Robert was very happy for his brother.

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Tomorrow evening I’ll be sitting on my own back porch,” Z said. “I am so ready for that.”

She isn’t particularly angry or concerned about her chronic back problems. “I’ve gotten so that pain is my friend,” she said. “Not that I like it, exactly, but if I woke up without it, I know I’d miss it.”

She no longer drives, not for the last five years. At age 75, she walks only with the help of a walker. Not to worry. You can get used to anything. We talked about Marie Kondo’s style of saying “thank you” to parts of your life before you say goodbye. “Keep only what gives you joy. And say thank you to the rest, say goodbye, and go into the rest of your life with gratitude and grace.”

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Z approaches the remaining time in her life as she has the rest of it, saying thank you before she says goodbye. It has been wonderful for her to play with her baby boys, watch them learn to walk and talk, and take them to villages in Mexico and teach them to give their gifts. She is thankful she could walk where she wanted, drive where she wanted … that she could travel the roads of Mexico and follow the banks of the River of Jordan. She has seen where it flows to the sea.

(Exodus 3, Psalm 105, Matthew 11)

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