Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dylan on a Sunday

I visited my Aunt Dorothy today (my mom's aunt, actually). She's in hospice care and so this may very well be the last time I visit with her. She's been a presence in my life. She was my 4th grade Sunday School teacher. During worship, she sat on the aisle on the second row opposite my mother on the other side of the aisle. I have told people that I learned the gospel by paying attention when Dorothy and my mother would nod during my father's sermons.

When I preached for the East County Church in Gresham, OR, Dorothy and her husband, Jess, sat on the second row as I preached. They were always dressed to the nines and became fixtures in our congregation. There was simply no one like them, especially Dorothy.

Dorothy is a Guild, one of my grandfather's younger sisters. And all of them are strong-willed, outspoken, insightful women with a more than a little bit of cantankerous mixed in. My favorite Dorothy story consists of an encounter she had with a famous Church of Christ preacher who had retired and attended the congregation she attended. He had a peculiar view of the Holy Spirit. He couldn't deny that the Bible talked about a personal indwelling of the Spirit, but he maintained that the Spirit was only active in relationship to Scripture, kind of a modified word-only position for those of you CoC'ers.

So, to demonstrate how ridiculous this position was, she bought a necktie, wrapped in in a gift box and gave it to him one Sunday after church. Once he opened it, she told him that she never wanted him to wear it. He protested. "Why would you give me a gift and expect me not to use it!" "Exactly!" she pounced. "Why would God give us the Holy Spirit and not expect us to use it."

Classic Dorothy.

I talked to her husband, Jess, yesterday on the phone. He promised Dorothy he would never put her in a home. And a few months ago, it looked like Dorothy's decline would be fast and final. But she's a tough old boot and is hanging in there. She's improved. And this could go on now indefinitely. And even thought the hospice workers come to their home periodically, along with other helpers, Jess is exhausted. He's 84, and while he's in good health, this is an ordeal.

He told me yesterday that he has fought in the war, been shot at, and had other difficulties in his life, but that this was by far the most difficult thing he's ever done. "I think I can do it, though, see it through, if I could just get a little rest."

I admire Jess. He's been married to Dorothy for 60 years and she is the more dominant figure in their relationship. I'm thinking not everything has gone his way, that he's had to swallow a few things here and there. But here he is, serving Dorothy, beyond his endurance and stamina allows. He wants more than anything to see it through to the end.

So, for Jess today, Dylan on a Sunday is When the Deal Goes Down.

In the still of the night, in the world's ancient light
Where wisdom grows up in strife
My bewildering brain, toils in vain
Through the darkness on the pathways of life
Each invisible prayer is like a cloud in the air
Tomorrow keeps turning around
We live and we die, we know not why
But I'll be with you when the deal goes down

We eat and we drink, we feel and we think
Far down the street we stray
I laugh and I cry and I'm haunted by
Things I never meant nor wished to say
The midnight rain follows the train
We all wear the same thorny crown
Soul to soul, our shadows roll
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, the moon gives light and it shines by night
When I scarcely feel the glow
We learn to live and then we forgive
O'r the road we're bound to go
More frailer than the flowers, these precious hours
That keep us so tightly bound
You come to my eyes like a vision from the skies
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

Well, I picked up a rose and it poked through my clothes
I followed the winding stream
I heard the deafening noise, I felt transient joys
I know they're not what they seem
In this earthly domain, full of disappointment and pain
You'll never see me frown
I owe my heart to you, and that's sayin' it true
And I'll be with you when the deal goes down

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is so very sweet! I needed to hear a marriage success story today. Too many dear friends blowing apart lately. Thanks, Sooz