Both Bern and I were out tonight--a rarity in the 'retirement years'. She went to her women's group that she's been a part of for, what, almost 30 years. They meet every Thursday night--only 5 of them now and never more than 6. That's just the way Group works. Two of the other 3 have been in Group even longer than Bern. It is a remarkable support group, context, friendship they have. Men seldom do such things.
I was down in Higganum at a Book Group looking at Hebrew poetry. There was a guest tonight invited by the man leading the group--Rabbi Alan Leftowitz. I've known Alan for 25 years through the Mastery Foundation that I'm a part of. He is a wonderful man. I told GW, the guy who invited him, not to tell him I'd be there--let it be a surprise.
When I arrived, Alan was in his car talking on the phone. I knocked on his window and waved. He waved back. "He doesn't recognize me", I thought. And I remembered one year in North Carolina on the beach when I saw my friend George down the strand, but because George wasn't supposed to be there, I told myself it wasn't him.
When Alan came into the parish hall, carrying his guitar--he was a Cantor for years before going to rabbinical school--he greeted everyone and gave me a funny look, like "you look familiar, but why would you be HERE?"
So he went to unpack his guitar and I walked over and said, "Alan".
His face lit up and he hugged me. (It was like that scene in the garden when Mary Magdalene doesn't recognize Jesus, thinks he's the gardener, since why would a dead man be HERE. Then he spoke her name and she knew him and said "Rabbi"....Well that's a stretch since it would make me Jesus and Alan, who's really the Rabbi, into Mary.....All metaphors eventually fall apart....)
Anyway, the night was great and near the end, about 8 o'clock, my cellphone rang. My cellphone seldom rings so I apologized, went out the back door, which promptly locked behind me, and answered it.
It was my granddaughter Emma. It was bedtime in Baltimore and she had convinced her mother to call me so she could tell me how much she misses me. My heart lurched almost out of my chest. My vision blurred. We talked for a while--actually talking to an almost 6 year old is a process of 'listening' more than talking. Then Cathy, her mother, my daughter in law, got on to apologize for bothering me but said the girls were really missing me tonight. Then I talked to Morgan for a while and even Tegan (who is not yet three) said something and I was in Highest Heaven....
My grandchildren, who I carry always in my heart, missed me and wanted to talk with me before they went to sleep.
Such a gift. Such a wonder.
I know if Bern, who doesn't have a cell phone, had been home, they would have talked with her and not me. So I thank God for Bern's group, for my cell phone, for Emma and Morgan and Tegan, for just being alive in a world with such wonders as granddaughters....
(Which, by the way, was what Alan was saying about some of the Psalms--that they are songs of wonder and joy at the mere miracle of 'being'.)
Alleluia, praise the Lord! Praise God's holy name....
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