It's been a few months since our friend Kevin died.
As with any death, there are “affairs” to be put in order–the closing of accounts, paying off of balances, and such like. Kevin's sister Colleen came in from Florida and spent the past six months with Kevin in the hospital. Now she is about to finish tying up the loose ends of a life and return home.
And a big concern has been Kevin's roommate, whom I'll call Andy.
Andy lived with Kevin for the last 20 years or so, and depended on him to navigate the practicalities of life. Andy has a significant intellectual disability, and now in his late 50s, daunting health challenges as well. What will happen to Andy? He can't really live on his own, and even if he could, would not be able to afford to. He doesn't want to live in a group home, fearing loss of freedom and–his words–“they steal all your stuff.”
We have all been feeling the pressure mounting as the day for Colleen's departure approached. Not many acceptable options were likely to pan out within the time frame we had to work with.
And not only that. We love Andy. He's a great guy with a big heart and a lot of spunk. He's sufferened some heart-breaking losses in the past few months. We wanted a place where Andy would be welcomed and appreciated for the great guy he is.
And then I remembered Mary Catholic Worker House. Hoping against hope, I sent off an Email, along with a heartfelt prayer, to the Director, Lynn, who ironically began this ministry about the time we began the Ranch, and for the same reason: to welcome the ones the rest of the world spends little time thinking about, much less caring about.
Within hours back came one of the most beautiful communications I have ever in my life received: Judy, we would love to meet Andy. Please let me know when you can bring him out to meet everybody.
Last Tuesday I picked Andy up and we trundled down to south Austin to meet Lynne and the men currently living at Mary House. A large concrete sculpture of the Virgin of Guadalupe announces that this home is special. Gorgeous gardens take up the front lawn, and very contented cats lounged about taking the sun.
Inside the home is clean and cheerful, eclectically furnished and equally eclectically peopled. Lynn arrived shortly and we went back to her quarters to talk. She explained the rules to Andy, including the one requiring everybody to be present for the evening meal unless urgent business dictates otherwise. This rule is so the community will have a set time each day for fellowship, encouragement, and catching up on what's going on in one anothers' lives.
As I was leaving I noticed the picture of Jesus praying in the garden–a popular representation found in many Catholic homes.
But what caught my eye and set me laughing was the caption below, which read: Jesus waiting for government services.
Indeed. All this and a sense of humor, too.
Thanks be to God!