Greetings to each of you as we await celebrating the birth of Jesus and his second coming.
Judy writes “It seemed to take 2021 to climb back up out of the pandemic isolation and the knee replacement for me. Just as we were about to get on our feet again, our lives took a very different turn on November 12th, 2021. A pastor and his family from the Seattle area, who were dealing with an accident near Austin in which the wife had destroyed her ankle, moved in with us along with the wife’s mother who came to help care for the children, aged two and seven. At the time, the wife was in the hospital having surgery and we thought that they might be with us for a couple months. Well, six surgeries later and 8 months later, they moved out into their own home in Belton, Texas a 35-minute drive from here and are beginning all over again. (They had been taking a 3-month trip traveling around the US through every State when this accident happened.) Peter was a Facebook friend with the grandfather in this family and Peter responded to his post about his daughter’s being in an accident in the Austin, TX area. Within four days, they had moved in. The wife is still walking with a crutch and her ankle is fused with two steel rods inside attached to a bone graft. She is still doing physical therapy. The time, a Divine Appointment, in many ways was very formative and healing for them, but it got very tiring for me. In fact, on June 1st, I got the flu which turned into pneumonia. I was very sick for two months, which was probably contributed to by the exhaustion which I was feeling after 8 months with this family in our home.”
While the Dominican Sisters were away the end of July, Peter took the opportunity to visit his brother in Maryland. John turned 80 this November, a day after Peter turned 75, and at that age one must grasp such opportunities. On his return trip, probably in an airport, Peter contracted COVID and a few days later Judy came down with it as well. Paxlovid (and vaccination) made this a shorter and lighter sickness than it could have been, but Judy was still under the weather from the flu and pneumonia. Judy continues, “A real ‘downer’ came when Covid kept Peter and I from attending my aunt’s funeral. She had made it to 100 years old and this was really a celebration of a life well lived. She was the last of that generation in my family.”
“So, when Christmas of 2021 rolled around, we were very busy planning a celebration for Christmas for seven people. We had a lively time with two small children in the house: it was a very joyful occasion. The grandfather arrived for New Years and stayed 10 days with us, which made us a family of 8. Peter and he had many theological discussions; and he has since come to the fulness of faith, entering the Catholic Church back home in Vancouver.”
“The war in Ukraine has also been occupying our attention. I have been zooming with a friend who left her husband, (who was mandated not to leave the country) in Lviv and escaped with her 12-year-old son to Warsaw, Poland, where she is staying with a friend. Peter has become involved with a previous student from ETF Osiejek Croatia who lives in Ukraine with his family. We are trying to help both these struggling families. We are praying for peace.”
Both Peter and I find ourselves aging and trying to deal with this gracefully; but I am finding it a real challenge. I need a second knee replacement. I also have a frozen right shoulder. But we have many gifts in our lives- especially that of family. October brought a real gift: the highlight of my year, a birthday visit from our daughter Elaine, a physical trainer, and her eldest daughter, Caitlin, a professional photographer, aged 25, from Calgary, AB, Canada.
Judy’s sister, Elaine with our daughter, Elaine
Our daughter, Elaine and her daughter, Caitlin
We had fun treating Canadians to a Mexican and a Cajun meal. This was a very special time.
Peter has continued as chaplain to the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist here in Georgetown. He also is the priest for a Byzantine Catholic Community in Austin, since he is
bi-ritual. He helps in parishes in the local deanery. He has basically retired from involvement in biblical studies so he can focus on prayer and ministry, although he took part in and read a paper at a conference at Lanier Theological Library sponsored by the International Library for Biblical Research. Another part of the ministry is leading a cell group for the Domestic expression of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity in the Austin area. Of course, he attended the Priests Assemblies of both the Diocese of Austin and his home diocese, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
This has been a year for deaths: besides the loss of Judy’s aunt, Peter has lost a former dean from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, a faculty colleague from Regent College, a rector he supplied for in Calais ME, and others. This month we both went to the funeral of our BSCD friend of 10 years David Dickinson, a model of godly servanthood, who was 13 years younger than Peter (David and Gina were members of the cell group we were part of at St Clare Monastery in Houston). Those events keep us focused on what is meaningful in life and where to keep one’s focus.
So, we are back to Christmas again and we will rejoice in Father God’s gift of his Son, Jesus, the greatest gift that the world has ever known. Have a joyful and blessed Christmas, celebrating!
Peace and joy,
Peter and Judy Davids
Mission House, our home in Georgetown, TX