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Going slow in room 350

by davesandel on June 8th, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021            (today’s lectionary)

Going slow in room 350

The one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us IS GOD; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.

On my Firefox home page a woman sits on an old wooden bench under a much older pine tree, looking out and far away across a beach, across a sea, to a far off shore. She is asking herself three questions, 1) what can I do? 2) what problems do I want to solve? and 3) how do I want to be known? She appears to be in the middle of her life.

Steady my footsteps according to your promise. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Next to our computer on our Echo Show, a picture displays, probably a museum photograph, of a white-haired couple sitting before the fire, rocking in their chairs, reading and knitting. He has on bib overalls. She has on a long cotton shift. They are resting after a long day of work solving problems of one kind or another. They solve the problems, as best they can, that God places in front of them, that he puts on their plate. No one except their family and the photographer will ever know their names.

Let your countenance shine upon your servant. Lord, your face shine on me.

Margaret spent 24 hours, and I spent half of that with her, in Room 350 of the hospital yesterday. She had her trans-esophageal echocardiogram (TEE) and a GI x-ray. No blockages showed on the x-ray, but plenty of vegetation showed up on her mitral valve, and within a week or so she’ll have surgery to replace it. Perhaps it sounds easier than it will be. But for now, it’s hard enough just to avoid that corner of the room where fear and sadness sit, waiting. The Holy Spirit holds Margaret’s hands, holds her around the waist, pushes back in Her own still way … don’t go there, the Spirit says. Stay here with me. I am good, I am eternal, I am God. I will never betray you. I will never leave you. I outlast it all.

Steady my footsteps according to your promise. Let no iniquity rule over me. Lord, let your face shine on me.

Andi called midway through our quiet, kind-of interminable afternoon and talked with us awhile while she watched Miles and Jasper play outside in their backyard wading pool. She cut Jasper’s hair, and he looks like a different guy. Actually, he looks a lot like Chris at age 2 or 3. Then Jasper came up to her, probably getting her phone wet, crying a little because he fell on the concrete patio. Where do you hurt? He doesn’t talk much, but he pointed to his head and his knee. She comforted him for a minute. Then Andi told him, “We gotta go slow when we’re walking on water.”

I hope Miles heard her too. I’m glad we did. True for us, that’s for sure. We gotta go slow when we’re walking on water. One day at a time? One hour at a time? Sometimes even one minute at a time?

You are the salt of the earth. And you are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hid. Let your life shine.

For what do we want to be known? In the long run, fame and riches don’t do much for either of us; moments of loving others mean much more, besides being much more available. Our friend texted us, “More prayers from me. More time for Margaret to be a bright witness of Jesus.” That is difficult. The dark corner beckons. There is nothing much to do most of the day. Just sit there in the morning sun. Sit there on the bumpy bed. Try to get to the bathroom on time. Eat food, or don’t eat it. Drink water. Sleep, sort of. And befriend the servants, the heroes on floor 3 of Austin’s Ascension Seton Medical Center.

Lord, let your face shine on me.

I say over and over, “There’s no hurry.” Margaret says over and over, “I have more than enough.” We both pray under our breath, over our breath, together and alone, “Thank you Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.”

2 Corinthians 12, Psalm 34, 2 Corinthians 8, Matthew 6)

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