Sister Wisdom

2022.01.21

Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” Proverbs 7:4 NIV

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Last weekend I made the 3/4 mile trek up from Hāna town to Fagan’s cross, 500’ above Hāna. When I lived in Hāna I made the trek through Hāna Ranch pastureland regularly, for exercise, for Easter Sunrise services, and to accompany visitors. Hāna Ranch is a working cattle ranch, and the hike includes avoiding grazing cattle and their by-products that litter the ground. I stepped around many piles of by-product on my way up. As I rounded a corner, I saw three steer next to the path, and immediately recalled a similar experience with my sister almost two decades ago.

The Trail Up To Fagan’s Cross, Hana, Hawaii

In 2003 my oldest sister Carol retired. To celebrate she came to spend two weeks with me in Hawaii. I’d always thought of Carol as my beautiful, blingy, bossy big sister, ten years my elder. I hindsight, I am sure it wasn’t easy being the oldest of three sisters. But at the time it felt like she was positive that Jane and I should do things her way whether loading the dishwasher, driving the car, and dressing for success, among other things. She was generous with her advice, and her resources.

Her visit was the first time I truly experienced her sense of humor, somehow set free by retirement. It was also the first time I received her wisdom. It happened in the same spot. We’d made it to the top of the hill without seeing any cattle. We enjoyed the view of Hāna Bay and started back down. We’d just crossed the upper cattle guard when we encountered several steer who seemed intent to stand their ground, right in the middle of the trail.

Being Findlays with small bladders, we were purposeful about our destination. There was simply no way we could delay our descent for long. Carol turned to me and said, “Just keep walking and don’t make eye contact.” With her in the lead, we did just that.

Carol has Alzheimer’s, she is a widow with no children, and I am her power of attorney. She has declined significantly in the past 6 months, and “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” I will move her from assisted living in Ohio to a memory care facility about a mile from our home Woodstock by the end of the month.

It hasn’t been an easy journey for either of us. When Carol was still able to articulate it, there were occasions like when I took away her driving privileges and got rid of her when she’d put her hands on her hips and declare, “You are not the boss of me.” I wish I weren’t, but sisters do what they must do for love’s sake. Carol’s advice, “Just keep walking and don’t make eye contact,” is fitting wisdom in this situation. Once she is settled in at her new home, I’m hopeful that we will be able to make frequent eye contact while we still can, this side of heaven.

God, for my sister, my and for your wisdom and insight from her lips, I give you thanks today. ~ Anne

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