Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sisters can be a Pain

Sisters can be a pain
especially older sisters!  (I have two)
especially older sisters whose personalities
are very different from you,

sisters who know you well enough
to see through
the posturing
the silence

but sisters
are also
amazing gifts

who are woven into the fabric of your life
in ways that are profound
in ways that are sometimes unnoticed
but are

my sister Susan (Sue)
turned out amazingly well
considering all the trouble she had with
her bratty little brother

growing up we were great friends
and great enemies
I teased her about her weight
I crunched my carrots, loud!  (she hated that)
and helped her sneak out for time
with that horrid boyfriend our father hated

she is older than me
much older
much, much older :)

OK, not really that much older
and so left home, wandering off to college
and then to nursing school

she graduated from nursing school
and got married to her wonderful, playful Dan
the year I graduated from high school

not too many years later, upon the unexpected death of her father-in-law
she and Dan landed in Wallowa County, Oregon
to take over the family farm
what a wonderful retreat for a philosophy major
from Whitman College

there were weekends
full of bridge (the card game) and skunks
snowmen and nephews

and over the years Sue’s house was always
a retreat

Henri Nouwen once said that the task of the Christian
Is to practice hospitality
to create a free and friendly space
where the stranger can cast of his or her strangeness
and find themselves

Sue has always had the gift of hospitality
The greatest praise I can think of
Is that when you are at Sue’s you are “at home”

It is a gift
a huge and wonderful gift
and countless people have experienced it !

this last week, the front page of the local paper
sang the praises of Dr. Seibe, and wonderful doctor in my little county
who well deserves the praise given

after all it was he who took care of my thumb
after stupidity cost me about half of it

but the nurse behind the doctor
the one who established a calm and loving space
in which he practiced,
was my sister Susan
who retires with him

after over 30 years of nursing
she will retreat to the farm
and her 10 grandchildren

and there she will continue to offer her gift
of hospitality

I am a lucky guy
I have this sister

My nephews and their wives are lucky men
Her grandchildren!  Ah, should any child be so blest
Her friends
Her community
Susan Lea Kliewer Duncan
You may have been a pain
But you are amazing
And I love you

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