Advent 2020 with the Davids

This year Judy started our annual Advent newsletter, so our greetings start with her voice and then with mine.

Davids 2020 Advent Greetings

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.

Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended,      

That her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;

The uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand for ever.

Behold, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him.

He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms,

He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

                                                                                    Isaiah 40: 1-5, 8b, 10a, 11

The above words are ones that I have had to hold onto as this unusual year 2020 has unfolded!

I began the year with a two-month bout of pneumonia/strand B flu which included days in ICU in the hospital, 5 ½ weeks of fever, sleeping in a Recliner at night and coughing 24/7 for a lot of that time. My cardiologist asked me if I had had Covid-19. In May, I had an antibody test done and it did not turn up Covid-19 but I still wonder if I did not have it before anyone here in Georgetown was testing for it (antibodies would probably not have shown up 5 months later). At any rate, I was very ill. A very bright spot in that is that my sister, a professional nurse, came and nursed me for a week when I got out of the hospital. My Good Shepherd cared for me in an amazing way.

Then came lockdown on March 15th for Covid-19. Oh, my, had our world turned upside down?

We did our first personal retreat here in our home for someone the first week of March before it all began and that was great. I anticipated doing many retreats here and then came the lockdown. Ouch! Many things were canceled!

Easter was a highlight because Peter did the services at the Priory and I got to attend: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil as well as Easter Sunday morning service. The Bishop considered us at the Priory to be one big family – so Peter continued as usual (and we do not use masks “within the bubble” or “family”). Then the Sisters sent us home with a delicious homemade breakfast on Easter which we enjoyed immensely. So, worshipping our good Lord was NOT shut down. And the Sisters began doing our grocery shopping for us.

Our children’s visit in May was canceled – which was a real downer. They all three were coming, (without their families) because Ian was turning 40, Gwen was turning 47 and it was Mother’s Day – so we were going to celebrate. We comforted ourselves saying that maybe they could come in July for Elaine’s 50th birthday but Canada closed her border, so that was canceled, since they all live in Canada.

The Sisters hired a new maintenance man from New York City and he has sold his house there and brought his wife here and bought a new home in Georgetown. The plus in all this is that we befriended them and found out that Teri is a nationally-known quilter and she inspired me to pull out a quilt which I had begun when our first grandchild was about to be born. You guessed it: I had never finished the quilt and with Teri’s encouragement, I finished piecing it together and she is quilting it for me, 23 years after I began the quilt. It will be sent to my daughter in hopes that she will become a grandmother some day, a real plus of Covid-19.

In the summer, I had a mole removed from under my chin, which turned out to be Melanoma; so a second more extensive surgery had to be done. Then I was declared cancer free. Praise God for His grace to me.

Then came the Fall and we had our yearly physical, and it seems as if we have been dealing with health issues ever since. Among these things was a full left knee replacement for me and two cataract surgeries for Peter. I wonder if I have ever done anything so hard as the rehab for the knee replacement: the pain has been intense. But I was released yesterday from the last physiotherapy session and told that I had done well. My sister, my childhood friend, Carolen, and a friend, Mary from Houston all volunteered  to come and help after the knee surgery, so I had help for two solid weeks afterwards. Praise our good Lord for His healing and help. We are finding lots of new doctors in the Georgetown area as a result of our issues.

Peter’s brother’s trip to see us with his wife and sister-in-law (for the two brothers’ birthdays and Thanksgiving) had to be canceled in November.

I have done lots of Spiritual Direction over the telephone – except for January/February and October/November but I am going full blast again. Of course, it is all on the phone or FaceTime because of Covid-19. I have found the Lord’s grace during this year to be tangible and His healing power indeed real in my own life. I am very grateful that His LOVE was not shut down during COVID-19. We are so grateful for how the Good Shepherd has taken care of us.

 We love watching deer out our windows here in Georgetown and the many birds, armadillos, skunks and other wildlife. This is a contemplative setting which is conducive to prayer. We are grateful for this location.

Now Peter will add a few events that were important during this year for him:

My physical issues have been small in comparison to Judy’s, so there is nursing Judy when she was ill or taking over the work in the house, but mostly following a routine of prayer and ministry. I did have this rather quickly developing cataract in each eye (wondered why I felt a bit dizzy in the morning mass in the Priory) – it was not there in January, but by October there they were in each eye (I had my eyes rechecked because of two near accidents with cars that I did not see). I am looking forward to having better sight (and cheaper glasses) than I ever have. Judy was another matter, as she explains above. Likewise, she does not take to the “hermit” life as easily as I – although she does have her spiritual directees and occasional retreatants and, when well, goes to St Helen Catholic Church (since March, well masked and distanced). Otherwise, I am her “pastor” – I say mass for her in the chapel here, using the Ordinariate liturgy. I love what God is doing with me here and look forward to further closeness to Him.

Yours in Christ,

Peter and Judy Davids

About Peter H. Davids

I am a retired Director of Clergy Formation for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter, a retired professor, and an active Catholic priest (and former Episcopal priest for 34 years), writer, and editor. As a priest available to parishes in the Diocese of Austin, and the resident priest for the Austin Byzantine Catholic Community. I am also a husband, father, and grandfather. My main job at present is Chaplain to the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Our Lady of Guadalupe Priory in Georgetown, Texas
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