The last Thursday in January has arrived. We are above the freezing point. Not by much, but we'll take it. Wife is heading across the back yard to go "watch" the Great-Niece while mom (niece) is at work. They both seem to enjoy it, greatly.
This will probably be going on for a few more months yet. Niece is expecting another child, a boy, some time in June. Last time, from what I understand, she was off work for at least a month before the birth, and a few months afterwards. We made the move up here when the Little One was about 9 months old, and Niece had already gone back to work, part time anyway. I imagine a similar thing is being planned. So Wife and the Niece will be colluding until the birth, and for some period thereafter, and then we'll see. Great niece has one more year before going off to kindergarten, so I suppose that the plan is for us to be the designated "watchers" for the next five years. We shall see.
Dear Wife was been miserable about all day yesterday. So I was sent off to the Big Box store to fill in some of the items we didn't get last week.
One of those things was some wood putty. The screws that fasten, or at least fastened (past tense), the door hinge to the jamb of the door going into laundry room, pulled free. They'd backed out a little bit, I'd re-set them yesterday, but last night they fell completely out. I bought some wood putty and some slightly longer screws, hoping that will do the trick well enough. If it doesn't I'll have to try to move the hinge. No fun, the batteries on the power tools are shot and doing this with muscle power alone is not my idea of a good time. But we shall attempt it. Never a dull moment ......
She finished her course of the heavy antibiotics Tuesday. We're giving a few days to let her system "settle" before going back on the Humira. It depresses the immune system, which may not be a good thing when you are battling systemic infections. But that same immune system has gone wild in her system, and will attack her if nothing else appears. So it's a very tricky balancing act. Autoimmune diseases are no fun, and remind us how delicately balanced our systems are.
And it reminds us to take nothing for granted. Every moment, every breath, every heartbeat, every meal, everything that we think of as "normal", can vanish in a moment. The things that we take for granted, others are praying for. My walk outside, down the steps, out to the mail box, a lot of people simply can't do. My kidneys function, people on dialysis would love to have that. I can see. I can breathe without help. And the Lord reached down and touched me. Living where we do, and where we have, we encounter those who didn't grow up singing "Jesus Loves Me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so". I know a woman that Wife's family took in as a young teen: it was the only way her mother could keep her father from raping her, which he had been doing. I know too many who grew up without a father in the home. Or who were raised by grandparents because parents were dead, or in prison, or unfit. I've encountered drug addicted teenage prostitutes who can't imagine another life. Whose first sexual experience was with mom's "squeeze" of the week. I know a woman whose family came here from Viet Nam after the Americans were pulling out, leaving everything they'd ever known behind, because the alternative was to be slaughtered by the victorious socialists.
Sorrow and pain and misery are not hard to find, they're hard to ignore in fact. Yet sometimes we avert our eyes, focusing on our TV sets, smartphones, shopping, fads, our "stuff". ALL of which can vanish in a moment. Been there.
What is important is what circumstances can't change. Too many of us can't, or don't, see beyond the moment's circumstances. Me too.
Sometimes, things look impossible. Been there too. A story as old as mankind. Ask Moses. Or Aaron. Or Noah. Or Abraham or Sarah. Or Lazarus. Without those terrible circumstances, we would not know their names.
The Old Testament reading here is chapters 11 and 12 of the Exodus. This ends with the Passover, and the departure of the people from Egypt, after 430 years! Yes, the Lord doesn't work to our schedule. He hears, truly, but sometimes we ( including me) want what we wanted and right now. He had reasons for the delay, part of which may have been the growth of the people to the numbers they now had.
And it is no accident that the Passover and Easter come at the same time. In the coming year, Passover week will begin on the evening of April 10, and conclude at sundown April 18. Easter is on April 16.
Our New Testament reading is verses 21-35 from the 18th chapter in the Gospel of Matthew.
This deals with a tough matter. Forgiveness. The spirit and attitude of forgiveness that is expect of Christians, those who, after all, have been forgiven much. But it is a character trait that is, alas, all too rare, even within the church. Or within families, for that matter. Most of us have had to witness this, and more than a few of us -- me included -- have been guilty. Some of us still are.
The Lord has had to forgive quite a lot in my case. If we are called to take on His character, to be in truth, "little Christs", then we need to think and act accordingly. Not possible in human power, only by the indwelling of the Spirit can we hope to succeed.
Now, the question of "who is my brother", gets to be an issue here.