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Monday, August 13, 2012

Stu goes to church......

On Sunday, a lovely thing happened.

Stu and I went to church together again.

I have seen the church next door to Laurel Hill all along, but Stu's condition was not very stable, he wasn't comfortable in his wheelchair for extended periods.....bottom line, I wasn't getting a green light about it, and he wasn't asking.  So I waited.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, a former neighbor of ours stopped by the stand at Grower's Market with his darling daughter, asking how Stu was doing, wondering where he was staying......and when I told him it was Laurel Hill he burst out "That's our church next door!"

The wheels started to turn :-)  I knew the building, and remembered it as being open enough to be wheelchair friendly.   It was worth a try.  I asked Stu how he would feel about visiting, and he thought about it.  After all, it's a big step to do a "normal" thing when your body is no longer "normal".   On the phone, after thinking it over for a few days, he told me "I'm determined to see it through".

So, Sunday morning, he navigated over in his wheelchair (on a side note, he has been receiving daily training at the facility from an occupational therapist----Dale.  A very encouraging fellow.  His time at the facility is limited, but the timing of it couldn't be more perfect.) 

Everyone was so, so welcoming-----I wish you could have seen Stu shaking people's hands and introducing us, beaming and glowing, making jokes and just reveling in the environment.  There is a very large area before the sanctuary, with a coffee bar on the side,  and we got to meet and greet to our hearts' content. 

When the service started, we were able to sit in the back and just let the music wash over us.  I could hear Stu's good bass voice joining in on Amazing Grace.  In the past, Stu has often been critical of church, church services, church music, church people.......there was none of that today..  His heart has been softened.  He enjoyed every last drop of our time there----although we did have to leave just before the service ended because his leg was troubling him.  As the person who has walked by his side through many years of  unpleasantness and bitterness, I will say that I saw a miracle----produced by very unexpected means-----in his attitude yesterday.   A broken body has yielded a quieter, humbler, more contrite Stu.   A Stu who can appreciate what God is doing through ordinary people.  He commented at one point "I can see that this is how heaven will be.....ordinary people, worshiping God together." 

We will see how things unfold from here-----if there's one thing I'm learning, it's "one day at a time".   I will keep you posted on his doings, as always.  Quite a few people have responded to my invitation to come visit him at Laurel Hill, and that too has been a blessing.  He told me one day that he was fervently praying that Jesus would appear to him, and when he opened his eyes, there was our good friend, Doug----!  And  later that same day, his beloved Ruth paid a call.  It definitely made an impression on him!    I trust that God will nudge others to do the same.  It sure makes a good story, doesn't it?

Until next time


Monday, August 6, 2012

The Berries are Coming Ripe.......

Tonight it struck me that outside my cottage window there was a quiet miracle happening.
The blackberries are coming ripe.
(If you are among those who curse blackberries for all their negative qualities, you may want to stop reading here.  I am going to appreciate them.  My apologies:-)
The sun was low in the sky, and had lost most of its heat, the light was golden-----I needed to walk away from my to-do list and my favorite distractions and simply roam along the long living wall of berries that borders my property.  I took a small bowl with me----nothing big enough to seem like work. 
As I picked,  thoughts came to mind that seemed  large and relaxed and comforting.  I had done nothing to make these berries grow.  No planting.  No watering.  No worrying about what kind of crop they would produce.  Yet here they were, more berries than I could ever harvest.  Doesn't it make you think about God's way of looking at things?  It did me.  He seems untroubled by what we might consider waste, somehow.  What is His secret?

In my humanity, I am always and forever looking for ways to make the most of my resources, maximize my potential, etc. etc.----a trait much admired in our country.   But on a good day, I wonder about that.   I wonder about it very much, and I take it with a grain of salt.

This is helpful as I walk through this newest chapter of God's Stroke of Genius with Stu.   So much of his story seems like a waste on first examination.   If he was going to end up in a nursing home for the last part of his story, what was the point?   It looks, to my human eye, like all thorns and brambles.   Stu himself can not understand what has befallen him, and goes up and down the gamut of emotions, trying to find a balance point.   I do what I can to reassure him, but really, who am I?  Just another traveler.  The thorns grab at me,  too.  Some days I feel pretty scratched up!

But down deep, where thorns can't reach, I am at peace.  And I believe that the same is true for Stu, even if it's sometimes hard to tell.   The One who planted knows the outcome.  He knows the pattern of growth, and what is needed to produce a crop.  I find myself grateful that even during the waiting, there are days like this, where a hedge of blackberries can remind me of His nature.   How good He is!