Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Busy Few Days...of Friendships

The last few days have been busy but wonderful--and healing, too, in a way.

I spent Thursday with C at Mission San Luis Rey. I wrote last week about our day of friendship, the time we spend there each week, enjoying wonderful lectures on medieval church history, a lovely lunch in the dining room, and sacred time in the cemetery. This Thursday C brought folding chairs, luxurious ones with shades attached. We settled the chairs in the new part of the cemetery, on the pavement under the imposing statue of Mary, facing the marble wall. We nestled under the chair shades, relieved to be protected from the stunningly bright (and hot!) sunshine.

From my bookbag, I brought out my Divine Hours book and prayed aloud the Midday Office for Thursday, my voice lightened by brisk winds that set the nearby wind chimes dancing and singing. C pulled out her rosary; I dug out my Anglican prayer beads from the bottom of my bag, and we prayed in silence, side by side, fingering smooth beads, feeling His Spirit within us, her spirit beside us.

It was a peace-filled hour, yet an hour of struggle, trying to wrap head and heart around this new reality, a reality without her here on earth, filling it with her artwork, with her stories, with her quiet joy. I finished the hour by writing in my journal, completing the last sentence on the last line of the page just as the mission bells chimed two o'clock, a perfect way to end an hour spent with friends, one here on earth, one gone on into eternity.

On Friday I didn't attend the Feast of Transfiguration service with the Anglicans at Victoria Chapel; instead, I arrived in Lakeside at 9:30 AM to spend the morning with my chiropractor's wife, Fern, who had taken a bad fall in May and was still recovering from a broken pelvis, a broken arm, and spinal damage, the latter of which required a more recent procedure. Fern's pain is debilitating, yet her joy remains palpable.

I brought along The Divine Hours book again and I prayed aloud Friday's Office of Morning Prayer. From my voluminous book bag, I then pulled out my 1928 Book of Common Prayer and my English Standard Version Bible, and I prayed aloud Morning Prayer, including the Psalms for the Sixth Morning from the BCP Psalter (Psalms 27, 28, and 29) as well as the Old Testament and New Testament readings, according to the BCP Lectionary, from my ESV Bible.

Fern very much enjoyed hearing God's Word--which is what the Book of Common Prayer is: God's Word, arranged into prayers. We chatted between prayer and readings: what our kids are up to, the latest events going on at Lake Murray (they used to attend with us) including two new engagements, and the strange dreams our pain medications cause. After I gave her the pain meds scheduled for 10:30, she was ready for a nap, so I made myself a cup of tea and settled into a soft recliner just outside Fern's room to work on my MLA project (taking my MLA class posts for Brave Writer and transforming them into a book) for an hour or so until Dr. Burns returned from seeing patients at his office. He adjusted my neck before I left--which was a blessing as it's been bothering me this week.

He said that the visit was a true blessing to Fern, so I'll try to stop by for an hour once a week to spend time with her. Dr. Burns and Fern were our adult Sunday School leaders when B was born almost eleven years ago, and Dr. Burns has been my main doctor through my chronic health problems. Fern and I have always had a close relationship; she's known Keith's family for 40 years, and we have many acquaintances in common outside of Lake Murray. She even attended the Lake Murray Women's Retreat when I was the featured speaker. So it was a joy to be there for her while she's bedridden and in pain; she called me often when I was in the same situation eight years ago, and her calls always encouraged me and lifted my spirits.

I'm blessed and thankful that I am able to return the favor now.

Wishing you all blessed friendships in our Lord,

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