Nearing the end of yet another week. Been quiet here yesterday and last evening. Which can change quickly.
Niece next door was "due" on the 18th, meaning Sunday. She had a doc appointment yesterday morning. I don't understand all the jargon about dilation and advancement and all that. Glad I'm not a betting man: I would have given odds that she's have the baby LAST weekend! She's a tiny thing, and looked like someone glued a basketball to a straw. And she was uncomfortable and ready to be DONE.
Now, around 10 p.m. last night, we did get a call. Possibly false alarm, but I made sure we had a bag packed with our nightly necessities in case they decided to head towards the hospital.
Around 10:45, we got another. And we went over. After some indecision, things began to demand attention. By 11:30, they were en route and we were "watching" a 4-1/2 year old.
And then, The Call. Packed up the Great-Niece, and off to the hospital. And there we met for the first time, our new Great Nephew, all 8 pounds 1 ounce of him. Little sister got to meet him and hold him and all that. Much ado, but mom was getting tired. So we left, went back and put the little one under a blanket on the couch, Wife under a blanket on the recliner and me similar. Back home by 05:15 after a very long day. But a good one.
The birth of a child is a wonderful thing, and this is no exception.
But it will restart a family dispute. The niece grew up -- during our absence -- in my militantly atheist sister-in-law's home. She never grew up singing "Jesus Love Me" or in Sunday School or given a Bible of her own when she could read. Her parents divorced before she was even born, her mother's parents died before she was 6, and her dad's parents were busy with their own lives. Her husband's family is Methodist (I guess), but I've seen little inclination on his part in that direction other than hitting "like" on some of his mother (and sisters' ) FaceBook posts, whether out of real agreement or just keeping the peace I don't know. When the little Great-Niece was born, his mother wanted her christened. Niece said no, and invoked our belief in what I regard as Scriptural Baptism freely entered into at an age of responsibility. Which led to one of those nasty in-law squabbles that pops up with distressing frequency. This birth may restart that issue, and probably will. We've apparently made little or no headway with either of them, and I really don't want to reinvigorate already existing in-law-type tensions. Not sure what to do. Prayerful attention is about it at this point.
Wife spent yesterday horizontal. I tried -- not very well as she could tell you -- to cook for her, and got her the meds she wanted, covered her or uncovered her as her sense of temperature varied, and all that stuff. We shall see.
And had a call from an Old Friend, one of more than 40 years' standing. He's wanting us to come visit, which I'd like to do, but Wife is not up to it. Moreover, his grand-daughter desperately wants to come along. It's nearly an hour's drive, so in any event right now we don't have the available gas money anyway. I've known him for a long time, his daughters all regarded me as a big brother and now some of them have grand-kids themselves, that's how long it has been. I'd had little face-to-face contact with him during our nearly 25 year absence. His wife had died during our absence, and one of his daughters as well. Two of his daughters live 1200 miles away and very rarely come to see him: we saw them at Christmas of 2015 and not since. His other daughter has gone blind from a very bad case of diabetes. So it is he and his wife. He's 10 years older than I and not doing well, his second wife now is about my age and had to take disability retirement from her nursing job, so they're kind of "stuck". I know the feeling.
Yes, there's a lot of loneliness in this world.
There are old friends (well, one or two actually) that I've not seen in more than 40 years. Other than a few people at the church here, I really have no friends in the area whatever, and very very few out of the area. Like Wife, and actually far more so, I've been a loner just about forever. That's one thing when you're 14 (and it was very hard even then) and another thing when you're on the far side of 60 as I am.
And the numbers dwindle. Saturday afternoon, we're off to yet another "memorial" service at a nearby funeral home. Friend of Wife, the one that dropped dead the other day 3 days after diagnosed with cancer. Not a believer, never was. As are far too many. I met him once, so have nothing to add. And with Wife's condition, it's not certain she's going herself but she wants to. Then again, when one of her favorite relatives, a great-aunt, passed a year or so ago, she was too sick to go, which troubled her greatly.
I'm about out of relatives, there are none at all from the previous generation. I have several cousins in the area who are considerably older than I (my dad and mom were both the youngest in their families and didn't marry until age 30, so go figure). So services for them in the near future wouldn't be surprising. And it was just this last year that a cousin lost his wife after a prolonged bout with cancer.
It does put a person into a particular train of thought. Not a bright and sunny one either.
I fully believe that we have come into this area for a deeper reason. Not sure what. We have certainly been blessed in very many ways, no matter what our current struggles are, and I'm mindful of Luke 12:48, "... For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." (NKJV). Those blessing weren't given to make my life easy and carefree, they were given in order to carry out the Lord's mission.
Today we begin the book of Nehemiah. Ezra was charged with the rebuilding of the Temple, the reinstitution of the worship of the Lord, and in cleaning up some of the bad practices among the people. Nehemiah is sent to rebuild the walls and gates of the city of Jerusalem.
And there are and will be troubles and opposition and the like, in part from those who want to cozy up, those representing cultures that the Jews were supposed to be separate from. All the problems that come from having to deal with people who don't have the vision the Lord had given him. (As one who has at times earned his living developing and carrying on major projects, even secular ones without the spiritual battle, are quite tough enough.). And bear in mind through all of this, they didn't have powered cranes, or backhoes, or any of the equipment that in our world we would expect to be on hand and ready to go. But they didn't have the unions and the building trades council and a bevy of avaricious building inspectors with their hands out either, so that's something.
Our New Testament passage is verses 1-13 from chapter 2 of the Acts.
Pentecost has come. What else needs to be said?