I have a sister that never left home even though she was born in 1972. I dropped by last week and paid her a visit. I always do if I am ‘home’, even if travelling through in the middle of the night. You can do that when you are family, calling in at rude hours. She never complains. Sometimes the chat is silent. Families are good at that too – communicating with silences that is. But this time Steve was with me and I felt a bit self-conscious about talking in front of him, even though he is the dearest friend and knows me well. Even saying hello seemed a bit awkward. So I stuck my hands in my pockets and shuffled my feet, got a bit emotional and after an awkward silence moved on. Next time I am back I will bring some paint for things are a bit weathered at her place and I would like to think people know there are folk who care. We can have a chat as the paint is brushed and I can take my time. I nodded to old Jim nearby, said hello to John (Joanna’s former babysitter), dipped me lid at Rodney whose truck once fell off a mountain and whose mother is no longer able to deliver him the weekly flowers, her last delivery now dry and broken stalks. She hangs out just a short walk away. We stood with David, mentor and friend, and gazed in silence over the countryside. He and his parents look out over Joanna as do many others I know. It’s getting to be quite a community up there on the hill. Sadly some of them have no voice but I am always pleased at what Joanna has to say. She tells those who would mull these things that she is ‘a child of the covenant’, speaking of a sure hope of eternal and unfailing commitment by her creator that, though her mortal remains look over a corner of Otago, she lives on in His presence and in that ‘presence there is a fullness of joy’. She is a great encourager that Joanna, sister of mine.
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