Worked six months at Great Oaks as Recreation Therapist
for nine developmentally disabled adults.
Drove Jean to Montrose Christian, friends’ homes, 
the mall, Ted and Le’s; Ruthie to medical appointments.
Found a new church home, worshipping in the round
at Silver Spring Presbyterian, receiving my first starword.
Lived for evenings, weekends, trips, retreats, reunions.
Duped by ISOs, yearning for companionship, dabbled in dating.
Relieved Ruthie could return to her New York apartment,
but—-oh no! Her cancer came back.
By then I was Activities Director at Sylvan Manor,
facing state inspections, resident and family expectations.
Sad I couldn’t attend but so grateful for Rhonda’s Calvin graduation,
first of the fourth generation before Grandma Ribbens died.
Brought Ruthie to her Pocono cottage in August;
Rhonda moved in with Jean and me in September.


795D3181-269A-4BBF-A963-9532C18C795DSingle, but not singleminded;
divorced, needing to reconcile with kids;
dependent on Aunt Ruthie who bought the house
(and full backyard pool where she and Mom hoped to swim).
Jean was back with me finishing 8th grade at WCS;
a basement renter helped with expenses those first months.
Seniors Ministry gave me a thirty-hour week
but with DC Department of Aging providing meals,
Ella as site manager, three potential directors 
and plenty of volunteers, I was job-hunting.
Newly retired, Ruthie was diagnosed with colon cancer;
lived with us after weeks in NYC and DC hospitals.
Newt’s summer repertory (including Duff) blessed 
church and community with one more wonderful show —
Into the Woods — which affirmed my affinity for trees.



Every day new combos of jobs, friends,
family, walks, drives, prayers, meals.
Oh, the places You led me, Spirit!
The ways people encouraged me to lead
in senior center formation at DC CRC,
adult day care at University Fellowship 
and art classes at Sarah’s Circle.
Oh, the dear faces helping me focus
on whatever was true, noble, lovely:
Elizabeth O’Connor in “Journey to Freedom”
(Call) class at Servant Leadership School;
Katherine and Louise at my apartment;
Joe Bailey, Dr. Tom, Clara Chichester,
Mr. Walton and other Daysharers 
gathering around lunch tables at church.
You blessed our comings and goings, Gentle One,
working for our good in all circumstances:
October birthdays 12, 21, and 43 at my apartment;
Thanksgiving with family in Blacksburg;
Duff and Dave’s help moving from hi-rise to Hillwood;
last times at the dome—Mandela’s release on TV;
last time playing piano by the big window;
last paper routes for Jean and me;
first trip to Nancy and Marv’s in New Hampshire.


Family Wellspring, thank you for brother Bill’s 
welcome back at Calvin where Rhonda was a student
and Duff came singing Godspell one more time.

Holy Love, thanks for your language streaming
in journal dialogue over step-stones on Pocono,
New York and Front Royal trips alone or with others.

Shalom Spirit, thank you for amicable separation,
for my first apartment and Masters degree,
for the Collingswood job, for Dayspring and Dayshare.


Reading Elizabeth O’Connor’s Our Many Selves,
feared I had way too many, all competing, none complete.
Shivering Child cried for non-working woodstove.
Artist drew self-portraits; poet wrote haiku.
Dream Log Keeper questioned therapist;
Would-be Nun did last ditch family counseling.
Wife took Florida trip with husband.
C’s Mom idealized church hike.
R’s Mom beamed as she made Profession of Faith.
J’s Mom okayed Friesland trip.
Homemaker battled fleas in carpet, beetles in crawl space.
Niece winterized, cleaned, planted at Pocono house.
Budgeter fumed at tax debt levies and credit card interest.
Seniors’ Minister served as Beulah’s conservator.
Master’s Student led Seniors Summer in Park program.
CRC Member published Banner Voice.


Dear Marjorie at 40,
The sulking is ending and mulling beginning.
Look into basset hound Charlie’s eyes.
Walk to Angela’s or even to church.
Listen to Rhonda about that too-friendly teacher.
Wait with Beulah to see the doctor.
Draw those joy and care-lined faces.
Pray for Faye and kids to find safe housing.
Praise for trees, deer, water, sun.
Lose your impatient self in divine surprise 
at Dayspring Silent Retreat Center;
find your Spirit-breathed Shalom self.
Savor the lectionary readings.
Enjoy West Side Story— yes, four times!


Journals noted simple joys: morning
woodstove fire-building fired me up.
Letters from Mom, Joyce, Ruthie and
Grandma Ribbens brought smiles.
University of Maryland classes in
Gerontology and Recreation renewed my
devotion to Seniors’ Ministry at DCCRC.
I rejoiced with Joyce welcoming baby Clara
and with Nancy for her Silver Spring B & B.
But grieved my failures as wife and mother.
Duff graduated from Takoma Academy;
sang “You Are the Light of the World”
in Godspell. How many dear words from this
my favorite DCCRC summer musical
still rev me up today!


Heart surfaced back in Michigan 
with Jean at Gram’s memorial service
and in New York on Ruthie’s balcony.

Driving Edwina to dialysis kept me real
between paper route, carpool and church
secretary trips to the printer.

Heart leaped as Duffy starred in
You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

and soared as I joined The Ribbon peace march.

Post Distributer and Housing Rehab Inspector Ted
bought an RV; we drove cross-country but family
bonds only weakened as debts and taxes rose.


Thank You, Loving Impetus, 
for consensus at that November lunch. 
Thanks for Neighborhood Fellowship’s January launch
in Wednesday morning Bible Studies at DC CRC.
Thank You, Life Director,
for Youth Group leaders and Duff’s part in another great musical.
Thanks for Rhonda’s class song lyrics still flowing in my soul:
Friends are friends forever if the Lord’s the Lord of them
and a friend will not say never for the welcome will not end;
though it’s hard to let you go, in the Father’s hand we know
that a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.

Thanks for Jean’s hugs and kisses easing my worries,
Mom’s depression, Gram’s pain and confusion.
Thank You, Wondrous Re-Creator, 
for the watercolor class back at Calvin that summer.


Yearning to write, I did some Scripture meditations 
and lots of journal prayers. Worked six part-time jobs;
Sligo Gardens Nursing Home Recreation, best, paid least.
Ted worked three jobs including a Post paper route,
but we could barely make payments on Aunt Ruth's loan.

Still, joys multiplied: Rhonda's godmother Myrtle
saw to it we got a piano; Christopher, Rhonda and 
Myrtle's son Newt bonded at church youth group;
I found Body & Soul Aerobics at another church;
got my ocean fix on trips to Virginia Beach 
where Gram VDK now lived with Mom & Dad.
Beauty of trees and plants lifted my spirit.