What a difference just one week can make!
I will grant you that by evening, this old knee lets me know that it still means business! But —
This morning, I baked bread for the first time in two months. (I did very little else today besides bake bread and sit on my chair, but–) I still got the bread baked and sliced and packaged ALL BY MYSELF and that was a great encourager in my progress!
And tonight, I took my van out for a little test drive around our circle, then out the chicken house lane and back in the house lane and it did not hurt. Not one little smidgen.
Today I got the very saddest news, though. Another neighbor, Joan Niblett, is dying. She has lived right across the road from me for over 20 years. She is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. She was the best neighbor and friend a gal could want. Our kids swam in their pool in the summertime, and she and I exchanged recipes and neighborhood stories and she gave the most unique and appreciated gifts at Christmas. Some of my most treasured items on my walls are from my good friend Joan. She has been battling breast cancer for over a year, and it metastasized to her brain and spine. Just before I went for my second knee replacement, I had talked to her mother and then to her. She had a new grandbaby, and she was doing a little better. Apparently, things went downhill suddenly, because she was admitted to hospice this past Wednesday, and has been largely unresponsive since then.
When I realized that I could drive, I asked Certain Man if I could go in there to see her one more time, and he gave me permission. Milford’s beautiful Hospice Center is just plain wonderful. It is peaceful and quiet and it feels like you are stepping into a little Island of Calm when you walk in. I found Joan’s room, and she was alone, a little mound in the middle of a bed. I pulled a chair up to the side of the bed, and reached under the covers to find her hand. It was very warm. She was breathing that hard, raspy breathing of the dying, and I talked to her about what a great neighbor she has been, and how I should have told her more often what she meant to me. I sang her some of the old, old songs of Heaven, and I stroked what is left of her hair because she always loved it when someone stroked her hair. Her breathing slowed down very far, and became less labored, and then evened out to a pretty easy rhythm. I know that her family has been keeping a pretty steady vigil, and I was glad that God allowed me to be there when she was alone. It felt better to me somehow to be there alone with her, and I felt free to sing to her, to say things to her about her coming journey that I wouldn’t have been able to if there had been others there. I didn’t stay very long – Just shy a half hour, but it felt like long enough.
And then I came out and got into my trusty mini-van and came on home. I didn’t feel like celebrating the fact that I could drive.
I just felt very, very thankful to the Father. He gave me this gift just in time to tell my friend “Good-night, Darlin’. I’ll see you in The Morning . . .”