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by davesandel on July 17th, 2021

Saturday, July 17, 2021                                                          (today’s lectionary)


The time the children of Israel had stayed in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. On the night they left, with no opportunity even to prepare food for the journey, this was a night of vigil for the Lord. So on this same night all the children of Israel must keep a vigil for the Lord throughout their generations.

In just a few hours Margaret will be released into a world she has not been part of for six weeks and a day. For several good reasons, she is nervous about that. Practicing with a physical therapist and later an occupational therapist, she has successfully gotten into our Prius, but she’s afraid of being hit. Getting knocked around by the airbag or another car would set her recovery back.

But with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, his mercy endures forever. He split the Red Sea in two and led Israel through its midst, for his mercy endures forever.

Re-entry takes many forms. When I departed temporarily from the Moonies in 1976 (after about six weeks and a day) I reveled in colors that seemed much brighter than before and talked with so many people who were approachable and friendly. Life was beautiful, and everything I thought and did seemed sunkissed and perfect. The world was no longer fallen, sin had left the country, and I was HAPPY.

On the other hand, outside Stateville the sign “Do not pick up hitchhikers” rises up over Elwood’s decommissioned police car as he picks up his brother Jake, and the Blues brothers head for their Catholic orphanage, where Sister Mary Stigmata beats them about the arms and face with her yardstick, until it breaks. Jake’s re-entry was nothing like mine.

What will Margaret think, what will she notice in the New World, how will our apartment look to her in those first few minutes? She hopes to go across the street to church tomorrow, walk up to get the mail on Monday, sit beside the pool while Miles and Jasper play in the water next weekend, and cook beautiful meals day after day. Or something like that. There’s no hurry, and in her own re-entry she can just relax and watch God work.

Our new friend Karen (who also goes to Grace Covenant Church) was released yesterday. She wore a blue “Independence Day” t-shirt and rang the big bell as she headed home. Robert thinks he won’t leave till next week on Friday. But Margaret got her own t-shirt yesterday, and she’ll ring the big bell today. We’ll learn how to inject the antibiotic infusions through her own personal I.V. “pic” line, while her body gets stronger. Our friend Pam, a retired nurse, will visit and help us survive for a week or so. And Margaret will have uninterrupted sleep for the first time in 43 nights.

Andi removed the pictures and “thank you” list from her walls. It has gotten longer every day, and now it’s almost as long as Margaret is tall. Earlier this week we copied the Lord’s Prayer onto a dry erase board called “Nursing Goals,” which had been empty since we arrived. We left the prayer up there, and perhaps the next occupant of Room 103 will appreciate it. The maintenance folks might notice it first, but it’s not a given that they will erase it. I hope they don’t.

Behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom I delight. He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.

Margaret hasn’t been out of air conditioning since June 4. The dog days of July are certainly upon us; in Austin it’s been well over 90 every day, although next week we might get a little reprieve. Whatever. She’s so happy to be free. Weak in body, strong in spirit, and free indeed.

A bruised reed he will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench.

(Exodus 12, Psalm 136, 2 Corinthians 5, Matthew 12)

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