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Miles and Jasper visit the hospital

by davesandel on July 9th, 2021

Friday, July 9, 2021                             (today’s lectionary)

Miles and Jasper visit the hospital

Israel set out with all that was his. On his arrival in Goshen, Joseph hitched the horses to his chariot and rode to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph saw him, he flung himself on his neck and wept a long time in his arms.

Every day there are new stories. Andi brought Miles and Jasper to Encompass yesterday, once in the morning and again for a longer time in the afternoon. This was their first in-person visit with Margaret since we spent June 4 with them, dropped them off at home and went straight from there to the emergency room.

They perked everybody up, as kids do. And they did a great job of staying in their lane during the visits. Miles said he was coming back again today in the morning and the afternoon, and I think he’s beginning to feel like he owns the place.

Jacob took his sons and his grandsons, his daughters and his granddaughters, all his descendants down to Egypt.

Margaret got a wheelchair to go back and forth to the outdoor patio area, and Miles mostly pushed her in it. We sat outside and the boys ate leftover nachos supreme and peach empanadas from my lunchtime trip to Taco Cabana, my first trip to the pink-walled, margaritas-in-the-morning drive-up Mexican restaurant chain, where the tortillas are made fresh every day in-house. After we returned to Room 103, we discovered the wheelchair was plenty wide for both the boys to sit, relax, and wait expectantly for someone to push them around. Maybe tomorrow.

Margaret’s neighbor in Room 104 is Z (short for Zurline), a friendly woman who has had three back surgeries in two years, and she still doesn’t get around well. She welcomed Miles and Jasper into her room. Miles introduced Jasper, but he was too shy to tell her his own name.

Z’s husband Ron built houses in Austin for 55 years. He retired two years ago to care for his wife full-time. He misses going to work, “saying hello every day to 100 or so people I’ve known for awhile.” And they both miss traveling. They went to Mexico at Christmas often when their kids were young, and nearly every year once they were grown, always with a pickup full of toys for village kids.

Jesus said, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as shrewd as serpents and simple as doves. But beware of men …

Ron said they were only stopped once by banditos, on Christmas Day. There were 10 men, all dressed in black. They wanted money, but Ron said they had no money. They wanted the car and its paperwork, but Ron couldn’t find the paperwork. After a few minutes of this, Z stepped out of the car and handed one of the black-clad bandits a doll.

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given, at that moment, what you are to say. It will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

In her Spanish, she asked if the men had families. They did. She asked them why they were out here doing this kind of thing on Christmas Day, when they could be home with their wives and children. I imagine the men didn’t know what to say. Ron and Z gave them lots of dolls and soccer balls, and they went on their way.

On another trip they drove into the mountains. The 125 mile road over the Sierra Madres began promisingly enough, but after 25 miles it became a dirt and rock track. It took about twelve hours to reach their village destination. When they got there, they had to stop, because two children held a rope across the road. Their legs were thin like toothpicks. They reached out with their open hands. This was a tollroad, guys!

A girl held the rope on Z’s side of the car. Z reached into the back seat and pulled out a doll. She gave it to the girl, who promptly dropped the rope and began to cry, holding the Barbie doll close, and they drove into the village.

“We pretty much stopped our trips after the planes hit the towers. Drug cartels came out of hiding, and the roads weren’t safe anymore. Before that, our sons came with us sometimes, and those trips were good for all of us. All of us were learning how to give.”

(Genesis 46, Psalm 37, John 16, Matthew 10)

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