I like to watch how people use their hands. Hands are beautiful and expressive and most often they are used with grace. Fortunately, I have never seen anyone beat another human being or kill another person. Boxing has never been a “sport” in my book. Hands are for caring, for holding a baby, wiping a fevered brow, cooking and washing, making music and painting lovely pictures, writing, and receiving the Body of Christ at the Eucharist, and oh, so many other extraordinary things such as fixing a hurt toe. You’ll soon see where I am going with this.

Feet are on my mind right now. Perhaps it has to do with Jessie putting shoes on old Obadiah’s (Shamba’s) feet. I well -up with emotion when I think of that loving gesture, and I think of one of Jesus’ last acts before his crucifixion: he washed his disciples’ feet.

Jessie and I are in somewhat of a deja vu situation at the moment. Two years ago she had a bunionectomy and recuperated at our house for two weeks. We planned our funerals during that stay, crying and laughing, all at the same time with 3 dogs on her bed. My dog, James went to sleep with his head on the Prayer Book/Hymnal which I think makes him ready for confirmation. Jessie is back at the Bandy nursing home having had a toe shortened on Monday. The doctor told her that an extra long toe is an indication of intelligence, and then someone else told me it is a sign of royalty. I guess I’ll never hear the end of that. She was very brave and resisted any kind of sedative while they put 7 gargantuan needles into her foot and ankle to block the pain. Then she refused the Versed because she wanted to watch the entire procedure. No luck there ~ she was draped in everything but mosquito netting and couldn’t see a darned thing but she could hear the electric saw (bzzzz), and Dr. Strom heard from the other side of the drapes: “I want to see the bone that you remove.” She also wanted ME to see the bone which had to be left at the hospital. No body parts are allowed to leave the hospital. She was in pain walking to and from the Bishop Stanway Primary School in Africa but it didn’t slow her down, just as having a cracked rib didn’t slow me down. I kept that a secret because I knew people would worry. When you love what you do, pain seems irrelevant. It gives me joy to be able to care for Jessie as I know she would take care of me if I needed it. She’s a dear and beautiful friend and I wouldn’t take a million dollars for our friendship.

We have some other news that we hope will interest you. The Reverend Moses Matonya, priest and principal of the Msalato Theological College will be with us in Pinehurst shortly after Christmas. He will preach at St. Mary Magdalene’s Episcopal Church in West End on January 3rd at 9:30 a.m.. Many of you have donated generously to the college and the Bp. Stanway Primary School. We hope people from Emmanuel will come and also the good people from Christ Anglican Church in Southern Pines. The Reverend Robert Brown, Vicar at St. Mary Magdalene’s wants to throw the doors open to everyone. We might even sing the song that was sung daily at Lambeth: ALL ARE WELCOME. Please come and meet this wonderful man of God.

With Anna Franklin Smith’s skills we are working on our Power Point and hope to have it ready next week. Then we will take our show on the road to tell the story and to raise money for these struggling brothers and sisters. Dr. Paul Farmer writes in his book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains”: “Lives of service depend on lives of support.” We continue to need your help.

“I cried because I had no shoes, ’til I met a man who had no feet.” Please pray for all who are losing hands and feet in the war, pray for the people of Africa who have no shoes, and pray for Jessie as she mends.