Ever since the stroke that crippled me two years ago, in my nighttime dreams I have always seen myself as walking and speaking normally. Until today.
This morning I woke from a dream in which I had been wobbling about with a walker to support me. In my dream I had an episode of the dizziness that still sweeps over my head when I move. This was exactly the condition I found myself in as I awoke. It was a sobering and unhappy way to start the day.
As I did my leg exercises that morning, walker firmly against the front door to keep it anchored and steady, a thought crossed my mind. When I have found a tool or gadget to be broken in the past, I have not hesitated to throw it away and replace it. Duct tape has its limits. I stared down at my feet, trying to keep my balance while I did 50 repetitions of knee bends. I haven’t started screaming yet and I wouldn’t know where else to put the duct tape.
I sat down for breakfast. Melanie had just made the morning rounds of her garden. We had both noticed that birds had returned to the feeder that she had refilled with seeds. She had also refilled the birdbath with water. She casually mentioned a fresh detail from her morning activities.
“The plastic measuring cup I used to fix your food had a crack in it. So I took it outside and I’m going to use it to pour water into the birdbath. It leaks a little, but it’s light weight and easy for me to handle.” Melanie hurt her back this week and has been having difficulty with ordinary tasks.
Broken, but not discarded. Either one.
She started playing the devotionals we listen to over breakfast. One was about Joseph deciding to dismiss Mary when he found out she was pregnant. He was going to do it as quietly as possible. He did love her, after all. Then he had his first dream and changed his mind.
A second devotional came from John 8, the story of the adulteress dragged before Jesus for judgement. Jesus gave permission for the stoning to proceed if it was initiated by the one in the crowd who had not sinned.
As I listened, I realized the example Joseph had set for Jesus. Clearly Mary and Joseph had told young Jesus all the events surrounding his birth. On the visit to Jerusalem, when he was only twelve and he was found lingering in the Temple, Jesus was already talking of being about his Father’s business. Mary and Joseph had been honest with him about his origin as they brought him up. They had seen to it that he knew Holy Scripture so well the Temple priests had been amazed. Joseph must have had necessity to explain why he chose to depart from the usual rules about a woman found in Mary’s situation. Jesus had already been given an example of mercy in his own earthly home.
God doesn’t always discard what He finds broken.
After breakfast, I rode in the van with Melanie on an errand to deliver mail to my mother. At age 97 she has moved into an assisted living apartment. She also needs to use a walker to get around, but the new companions on her floor have restored some enjoyment to her days. God has given her a new season of ministry.
On the way to the facility across town, Melanie smelled something burning and saw wisps of smoke from under the van’s hood. When we parked, she raised the hood and more billows of smoke poured out.
I could only watch from the front seat. Melanie went inside the building to deliver mom’s mail. When she returned, she lowered the hood, got in, and started the engine.
“I think it’s steam. There’s a leak in a water hose,” she said. We went back home quickly.
At home she sent a text to our friend, the mechanic, who takes care of us. He was out of town, visiting relatives for the holidays. He promised to come by next week and check it out for us. Melanie told him we weren’t going anywhere. We’d be waiting.
I thought about it. Yes , Christmas is coming. Maranatha.
But this week it is still Advent. So we’re waiting, still. Broken for now.