Sophie, Serafina, Lucy and Bitsy grew some more while I was gone. They are now out of their crate and in the Chicken Palace in the garage. Daisy and I played a quick game of fetch outside a few minutes ago. I hadn’t checked the temperature but there was a thick enough coat of frost on my windshield that I would have needed to do some scraping if I were going out somewhere. Now, she, Spot and I are hanging in front of the fireplace, warming back up.
My trip went well. There were some moments of sheer joy. Maria is back at BARC with the roommate she loved dearly, C, back even in her own bed. One of the other residents in A House is excruciatingly shy. I had considered it a huge accomplishment in the past, when she would give me a quick wave before turning her head and studiously ignoring me. On Monday afternoon, she shook Maria’s hand, and mine, just beaming. Literally, there was jubilation in the welcome Maria received from the staff and residents alike. Our girl has a fancy new Android cell phone (there are better parental control apps for it), and I am getting almost hour by hour accounts of life via text. That life is good!
I was also able to have a short visit with the Latino part of the faith community I served. I walked into the parish hall of the Lutheran church they are now a part of where there were easily 35 children, most of them sitting at tables, still working on homework. The women who were there once thought they had no value. One of the things we discussed was that in a few weeks, they will mark the anniversary of Marion’s death at the hands of her boyfriend. We all know it could easily have been any of them. Now these women are growing into leadership roles in the program that is poised to expand in ways that go beyond my wildest hopes. I am grateful for the love and respect we have for each other, saddened that there wasn’t a place for this ministry in the Episcopal church, and absolutely certain that my leaving gave these women, all of them, the space they needed to become the ministers God has called them to be. I could not be prouder.
This was the sweet mercy of release that made it easy to be back in Fort Lauderdale and know I can go back as often as I need to without the oppressive sorrow I had felt before. Now, on the day after, I am home.