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Margaret refeathers her nest

by davesandel on June 25th, 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021                          (today’s lectionary)

Margaret refeathers her nest

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.”

When Margaret was 18 she began college in Madisonville. A year later she continued college in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Another year and she attended university in Murray, Kentucky. She spent a semester in Louisville interning, earning star credits from her supervisor. She graduated from Murray, went home for a little while, and then left for California.

Year after year, Margaret refeathered her nest. In California she felt called back to Kentucky to be with her sister and new baby. She accepted an unfortunate teaching job in Nebo, Kentucky, and her friend Pam came to visit and pulled her gently by the hand to Lincoln Christian Seminary in Illinois, where they would together be two of the very few female graduate students. She refeathered her nest again.

We met in Lincoln, my home town. Margaret had been everywhere, man. But she stayed in Lincoln four years before we met, the longest nesting time she’d had since high school. She bought a mobile home. She taught a year in Armington, and reconsidered her career choice. But she was settling down, for better or for worse.

We met then, and although I credit our romance to a New Year’s Eve foot massage, she remembers a repaired frozen pipe and toilet, rose petals strewn around her living room, dishes washed and music on Valentine’s Day. I think both our memories are sweet and true. In August of 1979, after we married, she refeathered again, now in an old farmhouse on a windy hill.

We lived there seven years and Margaret had two babies, then a third, and we moved again, to Waynesville this time, to the first house we owned together. She must have been happy to get back on the path to solvency and stability, to ownership, after we left the mobile home she had bought for herself before we met.

See how the Lord blesses those who fear him? You shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; blessed you shall be, and favored.

In Waynesville as always, she found the feathers to rebuild her nest. God’s presence surrounded her, and she was swept along, held close by the Holy Spirit, resting deep within the downy breast of a lovely white dove.

See how the Lord blesses those who fear him? Thus are we blessed who fear the Lord.

Now of course, we can look back at many more movements in the Symphony of Margaret, until she appears as if by magic at the emergency room of Ascension Seton NW Hospital in Austin, just six minutes from our apartment, on the evening of Friday, June 4. A couple of days there, then a Sunday morning ambulance ride, settling into Room 350 in the Motherhouse (so to speak), to pre-op, to surgery, to room A2 of ICU … refeathering, regaining equilibrium, tubes inserted and removed, bruises everywhere on her arms and tummy, an inhuman gash down the middle of her chest already beginning to heal, legs and arms swollen and difficult to use … until we hope, today, when she will make what we hope is a final hospital move, into the last room she’ll occupy at Ascension Seton Medical Center for quite some time. And then back home again.

Or did she ever leave? What makes home – first here, then there, except that it’s the place which God provides? And who always furnishes loads of feathers to build another nest.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

(Genesis 17, Psalm 128, Matthew 8)


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