I've done little blogging this week other than linking to other people's articles and thoughts. So, not a lot of creativity chez Magdalene. I think I may be making up for that in my sermon, however. It's a departure for me, stylistically very different from anything I've ever done before. Ever. Anywhere. Actually, it's kind of scaring me, as it has taken on a life of its own. MoreCows has just suggested it's the perfect kind of sermon to memorize, so... oy. I guess I know how I can stay busy at tomorrow's denominational meet-up).
I've spent much of this week at the hospital with a dear member, well into her nineties, who has been ill, with they knew not what for several days. Tonight she is resting (I pray) following successful surgery to untangle her intestines. She has had a rough week, lost a lot of blood early on, and she isn't out of the woods quite yet.
I have spent much of my time with her next of kin. D. doesn't have children, and her husband died about 30 years ago. But she is a kind of "aunt" to two women, twin sisters, who have been by her side constantly. They were raised by their grandparents, who happen to have been dear friends of D. They have adopted her as their own as fully and fiercely as you can imagine. They are with her virtually every moment, advocating for her, deciphering her slurred speech, catching her jokes (she is still making jokes, even in extremis, as she is. She is wry and hilarious. Today when another of her friends said "I'll call your neighbors with an update," she rolled her eyes. "You can tell them where to go," she said. She is in pain and not to be trifled with.)
I met D. in September, nearly as soon as I began working at New Church. I went to bring her Communion, along with a Deacon, after I'd been there about 10 days. She was sprightly, on a schedule, eager to tell me about her days as treasurer of New Church. She told me then who her friends were, the same women who have been standing vigil with her this week. She reminded me of my mother-in-law, now deceased. There was something in her delivery of lines... that humor I mentioned. Also, a slightly gravelly quality that may have come from just a little bit of smoking once upon a time. What a contrast to how I've seen her this week: so close, hovering near the veil that parts the worlds.
And this is what it is to be a pastor this week: the best laid plans of writing text for the narrative budget... out the window. Maybe I'll get to it Monday morning. Preparation for my new member class... Sunday morning. Practicing guitar to play with the youth choir... also Sunday morning. Memorizing sermon... we'll see.
One of the twins called me on the phone this morning to tell me what time D.'s surgery was scheduled for. She told me, "D. said to us last night, 'If something happens to me, call Magdalene. I want it to be her.'" I hope what happens to her is that she gets to sip some clear liquids tomorrow, and then to have some Jell-O and crackers on Sunday, and maybe a bit of chicken soup on Monday. I like her. I hope she sticks around.