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On Monday’s I’ve taken to visiting with my friend Howard. We sort of spend the day together waiting for the chemo to do its job in his body. He’s a bit battered with the battle; battles for health aren’t clean and simple. We haven’t really settled into any kind of routine; we are feeling out how to have the days go, with the exception that I now recognize the look that means, “could you rub my back?” I really like it that Howard isn’t bashful to ask. When I put my hands to the task I wonder about the times Christ or his disciples put their hands to healing and how the news of those miracles traveled through the cities and towns where they occurred. Don’t you know everyone wanted to feel those touches? I try to concentrate on sharing my health and stamina with Howard through my ministrations, but mostly, I hope that I am not hurting him and that I am providing some ease, because truly I have no idea what I am doing. In between those times, I try to follow whatever lead Howard gives.

This week, when I arrived, I knocked on the door. A tiny bit of panic bubbled in my stomach when the doorbell wasn’t answered. I waited a bit and then knocked. No answer. I peered through the window and tried the other door. No answer. The bubble of anxiety was taking over. You should know that Howard has another companion, his beloved wife’s mother. Howard and Elaine are close; it’s easy to know why, they see the world in the same way, they have similar souls. They are chocked full of kindness. However, now they share another bond, they are both fighting illness. Elaine has Alzheimer’s.

Within an hour, I was safely ensconced in my chair, next to Howard and listening to the morning’s event. On top of everything else, Howard had contracted the stomach flu going around. He and Elaine had handled the little crisis that arose from Howard’s more productive stomach bubbles and now we were sitting sharing the details. (You should know Howard is my vet, his generous hands and heart sharing the health and death of my pets over the years; he is also legendary for regaling dinner companions with unusual-things-dogs-have-swallowed-and-my-personal-retrieval-methods at almost every dinner party he has gone to. That facet of Howard makes it very easy to discuss almost anything) I looked over at Elaine. More times than not on these Mondays, I have noted the confusion in her eyes but today there is the light of something else. Her softly lined face is mirroring the unmistakable mark of joy. In the telling of the story, it’s clear from Howard that Elaine figured large. On the next visit to the bathroom, while Howard was gone, I stood next to Elaine in the kitchen. “Elaine, you really did a great job this morning helping Howard.” “You know”, she said in the very clear and humbling knowledge that she had been of value that morning to someone she loves, “I did take care of my two daughters when they got sick. I knew what to do.”

The day over, I got in my truck to go home, and I stopped for a moment and looked out the window. I smiled at the family who lives across from Howard. Their father was marshalling his four young boys to yard tasks. They were recalcitrant. Down the street the garbage truck was picking up an unusually large pile and I could tell the guys were tired from a long day. Howard, his wife home from work, and mother in law were inside their house, settling down to a night where rest might be difficult to achieve. As I sat there, a very clean memory came to mind. One dusky evening, when I was coming home on a plane, flying low over watery east Houston, I saw a flock of geese below me. They were white, in stark relief against the graying winter landscape. I got to see them long enough to see the liquid movement of the flock, tacking one direction and then another, graceful, led by one and then another goose, flying at the vee. I have never seen geese from above before and I marveled at the landscape that flock of geese had to navigate to find their roost for the night. I remember thinking, where of all those thousands of reedy, fishy, bayous and bays should those geese choose to roost tonight? It was one of those moments that the sheer beauty of nature burned into my heart and soul and thinking about it this evening, clutching the steering wheel, eyes closed, God answered a question I have been asking Him for a long time. “What is the point, my Father, when there are things in this life can be so difficult and trying?” As my mind replayed the beauty I had witnessed high up in that plane, watching those geese flying together, adjusting to wind and weather and changing leads, God put the answer deep into my soul. “When I look down, Janet, I don’t want you worrying so much about where you are going for the night. I will take of that. I want to see the beauty of you my beloved, going there together, and what marvelous things can happen, when you, my creation, love each other. You will never see it if you don’t spend time together. It’s the place where joy and peace and love grow. It’s with this that you will know how much I love you.”

Happy Wednesday.

Bible verse of the day:
(Acts 20:28) Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Song for the week:
When I Get Where I Am Going – Brad Paisley
When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
I spread my wings and fly
I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

CHORUS
Yeah, when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah, when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every moment since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

CHORUS

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do
But when I get where I’m going
And I see my Maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of His amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah, when I get where I’m going