Three young women are my "handlers" during this three-week "Home Care" period following my pneumonia week in the hospital. One is Paige the nurse, who draws blood, to check my INR numbers in the battle against clots. Another is Paige #2, an Occupational Therapist, who gives me exercises toward the slow return of strength. The third is Amy, the salty Physical Therapist, whose interest is in my stability. "Take your time," she says, "slow down, conserve your energy." She helps me map out next steps for getting to the Flagship in Eden Prairie, making it from the parking lot to the front desk, and to my rowing machine, and the shower.
There have been doctors, too: at dermatology, at pulmonology, my generalist, and my dentist to complete the dreaded root canal procedure. The care contract has allowed me to go to church, and to a lunch with a dear Rwanda colleague who has worked with us 25 years in healing retreats in his country.
It's all to make me slow down, restore strength, and "get back into life." To stay alive and do whatever it is God yet has for me to do.
When a sudden cold seemed to overtake me one day last week, even my grown children said, "Dad, we need you still. God has more for you to do."
In my inner soul, I feel that's so. Not only Advent Bible Study at the Hilltop, and preaching one last time on Christmas morning, but being in the audience for choral concerts of my grandchildren, and perhaps a summer or two more at Ossipee, paddling my canoe, and even preaching there as well (to tiny congregation at Wonalancet Chapel of 10 people and a dog).
And just being present here to sit over coffee with the five or 10 people who've already asked for time together to talk and pray of life and faith. Maybe mostly to be a friend to those who need me, and encourage others in their journey through, with Jesus. Such a small thing, but so important to them and me.
And, still and always the family, dear Molly, and each grown child, and grandchildren who face such a strange world to live in.
And maybe, just sitting at home, writing about things I care about, the Christian life, for others to think about. Perhaps helping them, having done all, to stand - with the Lord and His people.
That's some of what I pray for...
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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