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Last day in Room 350

by davesandel on June 16th, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021                 (today’s lectionary)

Last day in Room 350

Brothers and sisters, consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows in abundance will also reap in abundance.

Our daughter Andi likes to spend her airport time watching and praying. She asks herself, “Where is that woman going? Why? What will she do there? Where is she coming from? What is her family situation right now? How is God loving her at this moment?” And then, perhaps, say hello. See what happens next.

God is able to make every grace abundant to you, so that you may always have an abundance for every good work.

She never gets bored, not when she’s praying these questions. And they are great in the hospital too. Yesterday Margaret was with a doctor from Bolivia, a surgeon from Mexico, a nurse from Croatia and another nurse from Nigeria. They have criss-crossed the world, and now they are standing in the same room with us, and almost everyone is happy to share some of their story.

Tomorrow is her last day in Room 350, the room Margaret has filled with both her presence and her stuff. We’ll be moving all the beautiful wall-hangings by Miles, as well as flowers and balloons, as well as our “Thank You List.” She had a left and right heart catheterization early on Tuesday afternoon. Before she left we prayed a beautiful prayer from a book of everyday liturgies our friend Shannon gave me, and off she went. There were no blockages anywhere in her heart, or her arteries or veins. Her heart is soft, strong and clean. It’s only those pesky valves that are causing the problem.

Light shines through the darkness for the upright one, and he is gracious and merciful and just. He gives lavishly to the poor.

So that clears the way for surgery at 6:30 Thursday morning. They’ll move her bed down to the surgical floor about 6 am, we think. And then her room will be cleaned and made ready for another patient. She’ll go to the Intensive Care Unit for awhile, with tubes tied into every part of her for at least a few hours. And of course, she’ll be mighty sore. No getting around that.

Margaret loves to ask for a back rub, or a foot massage, and she gets pretty much as many of those as she wants from me in these lazy hazy days of summer 2021. I always think of the 1978-79 New Year’s Eve party at Cindy Barkey’s house, where we first felt sparks for each other. I asked who wanted a foot massage, and Margaret was the first (and only) enthusiastic taker.

When you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Likewise when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting.

Richard Rohr often says that great love and great suffering are the paths to spiritual maturity. Marriage is filled with both, often at the same time. The desire I have to mold Margaret into someone perfect just for me is thwarted by her desire to mold me into someone perfect just for her. I imagine God watching, as if in an airport, asking, “What the heck are they doing now? Why?” And “how can I love them at this very moment?”

Oh, the pain of this desiring! God grows us up in spurts and starts, if we’ll just let him, and at last in leaps and bounds.

Turn your eyes toward me, he says, your Abba, your Father, your Daddy.

(2 Corinthians 9, Psalm 112, John 14, Matthew 6)

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