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She’s in charge of celebrations

by davesandel on July 12th, 2021

Monday, July 12, 2021                                   (today’s lectionary)

She’s in charge of celebrations

Both of us were very tired yesterday. Although I didn’t hear them, Margaret sent me several after midnight texts about her late-night thoughts and plans. I woke up around 3 and stayed awake awhile, reading what she wrote, shopping for a Jasper birthday present and various other fun things.

A new king who knew nothing of Joseph came to power in Egypt. The people of Israel grew powerful, and Pharoah commanded all his subjects to “throw every boy born to the Hebrews into the river.” But he let all the girls live.

In the morning Maria burst into Margaret’s room full of her usual energy. Maria has 12 patients and wants to make all of them happy, and so she works fast and furious. I pointed that out. She laughed and said, “Well, for you and Margaret I will try to go slow.”

Ah, yes. Go slow. But fast or slow, she does indeed make us happy. We sang her song from The Sound of Music two or three times when she left the room. She laughed and laughed – while she changed the sheets, helped Margaret with her shower, brought her water, brought her food trays and later took them away, checked her blood sugar and managed her IV tower.

Had not the Lord been with us, the waters would have overwhelmed us and swept us away. But our help comes in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

She told us there are five Marias on the Encompass staff. She is Maria Cruz, Maria-of-the-Cross. Twenty-five years ago she escaped to the United States from Mexico. She couldn’t stay in her country, because her abusive misogynistic boyfriend wouldn’t leave her alone. She did not yet know she was pregnant at 18 with her first child, Brian.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

She became a US citizen and had three more children. Now Brian is 25, Jennifer is 21, Misael Jr is 19, and Michael Angel is 17. Brian has never met his dad, and Maria has no idea where he is. Perhaps Brian will find him one of these days.

Andi came while Maria was helping Margaret with her shower. I told Maria that Andi was a writer (she published a great blogpost yesterday) and Maria’s eyes sparkled. “I want to write my life story,” she said. “Maybe you can help me! So much has happened. I crossed illegally, I learned English on my own watching TV shows for kids with my boys and daughter. I got a green card and then citizenship, and now … I work very hard and very fast to make my 12 patients happy every day.” Oh, and I am sure there is so much more for her to tell.

Jesus said, “Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut through cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God.

Maria is 43, but she has not lost her joy. Not even close. In yesterday’s story Andi wrote, “That sparkle in the eye when ice cream is set in front of you fades in some and disappears completely in others. Oh, ice cream again?” Maria still loves ice cream, right? I didn’t ask, but I’ll bet she does.

“My mom calls it tail-wagging, when I get excited about something. I apparently haven’t lost all my child-like joyful spirit!” Andi described examples of her kids and their own tail-wagging. Yummy food, dates with Aki, dates with the whole family. When a firetruck roars by, when they catch the garbage truck and give them treats on Mondays. (Hey, that’s today!)

How about Maria? She sure wagged her tail when she talked about writing a book. And she was excited when she talked about going back to school to become an RN when her youngest son is just a little older.

This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.

Perhaps Margaret got Maria to sign her red heart pillow. It is full of signatures and well-wishes already, but surely she can squeeze in a few more. Maria-of-the-Cross can do so much more now, after 25 years in Texas, than sign her name. She’s going to write a book! When Margaret is released from hospital care in a week or so, we are really going to miss her.

(Exodus 1, Psalm 124, Matthew 5, Matthew 10)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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