Dear Friends and Family:
Somehow February always comes to an abrupt end, I keep expecting there to be a few more days in the month, so that is my apology for this coming a day later than I had hoped.
We celebrated their 25thwedding anniversary with a dolphin watching boat trip. Part of the cruise led past Old Cortez village, which apparently is the only surviving active fishing community in Florida.
Christine taught an introduction to iconography at St Peter and Paul Apostles Catholic Church to a group of women which is a new venue for her. She has a busy month coming up with teaching in Sarasota, New York City and Ghost Ranch, NM. She also had a flying visit to St Thomas’ Parish, in Upper Marlboro, MD, to deliver and attend the blessing of an icon she had written of Pauli Murray, a former member of that parish, who was an American civil rights advocate, feminist, lawyer and ordained priest. Christine has more commissions coming in which is so exciting and her book ‘Eyes of Fire’, continues to gather great comments and reviews as more people get the opportunity to read it. One of Christine’s recent students just got back to her saying she wished she had read the book before taking the class and she could have had a deeper understanding of how significant iconography is.
This has been an exciting month with my starting the new position of Chaplain at Freedom Village, in Bradenton. It’s a senior living community close by Blake hospital where I also volunteer as a Chaplain.
This new job carries a broad job description including preaching and leading Sunday Vespers service, Bible study teaching, coordinating and conducting memorial services, hospital visitations and getting to know a community of about 900 people.
There’s lots of opportunity to pray for people which I enjoy tremendously.
Sadly, some of the situations people face are heart rendering and all one can do is be present with them in silent prayer. Some of the more emotional experiences are for sons and daughters, faced with decisions about whether it is time to abstain from further medical treatment for their parents and allow them to pass over.
In a senior community many are facing end of life situations and those with a faith in God have so much more peace through the hard times. This community has a great spirit and many live very full and positive lives for many years. Seniors are though, facing very real difficulties as the body slowly or sometimes suddenly start to fail. The fact is getting old is not easy, in fact it can be a very challenging time of life, when we no longer have the physical resources to face challenges, we need the emotional and spiritual strength to do so.
Visit the Elderly
Loneliness is a killer. That is true all through our lives, but it is especially so in old age. Memories of delivering, ‘meals on wheels’ to shut-ins in rural New York gave me the full experience of old people living alone and slowly loosing any contact with the outside world except through the television set which played constantly day or night. As our society has become more mobile the support from extended family in our later days is often not a possibility. The children have moved out of state for work or education and their own families keep them fully occupied.
It is not a surprise that James talks about the need to not forget the elderly or orphans as we practice our different streams of Godly worship, James 1:27,
‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.’
Please let us know how we can pray for you and also hold us up as we go through these transitions in our lives.
We love hearing from you, and look forward to all that God is going to do in this new season in our lives!
Blessings and prayers,
Michael and Christine Hales