Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Home time

I'm back in Bellevue for the month of June and for (again) some medical attention. I have an unexplained and - so far - undiagnosable chunk of gunk in my bronchia that shows up in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and general discomobulation. There's a bronchoscopy scheduled Friday - following up on two of those in March. I hope for diagnosis and a treatment plan!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the glories of late spring at St. Mary-on-the-Lake. The rhododendrons are in full bloom, along with azaleas, strawberries, dogwoods, salal and a Chilean Fire Tree. The view from anywhere, but especially from our chapel where you look out onto a 30 foot tall red rhody in full bloom, is spectacular. All the evergreens, the western red cedar and douglas fir and spruce and yew, have fresh new light green tips. I haven't been back at this time for two years, and I'd almost forgotten what it's like!

The special joy of this time has been celebrating our six Jubilarians - I was very honored to be asked to reflect on the readings for the Jubilee Mass, and very glad that Sr. Carmel Little kindly read the reflections for me, as I didn't want to cough my way through them. You can read a bit of them on our Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace website.

The special sorrow of these days was the death of our Sister Rita Mary Lyons. I knew that she was receiving hospice care and was quietly taking her leave of us, but really wanted to be able to tell her how much I loved and honored her. I was able to do that the night I came home; she died the next day. Sister Rita Mary was a nurse and nursing teacher and supervisor for most of her active years as a sister; in Ketchikan in the 1970s (I think), she became a chaplain and offered her understanding heart and wisdom to staff and patients. When health forced her to retire to St. Mary-on-the-Lake in the 1990s, she saw the opportunity to do all the reading that she didn't have time for in her very active life. She must have read her way through almost every book in our fairly large library of spirituality and theology, as well as a few entertaining novels. She was a woman of few words and deep wisdom, a wisdom worn with great humility. I will miss her greatly.

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