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Shepherd of the Sentimental

I find myself becoming more sentimental about those no longer with us on this earth. I've been thinking about my brother Fred, who passed away in 1995. Since this past December, I've enjoyed a renewed relationship with my nieces and nephews, some I haven't seen since they were toddlers. This certainly brings my brother to mind more frequently. His children so strongly resemble him.

My brother loved movies. As a little girl, I remember he had the movie sound track (yes vinyl lp) to Gigi. One of the stars was Maurice Chevalier, a suave, debonaire Frenchman. He was famous for songs such as Thank Heaven for Little Girls and I Remember it Well.

I hadn't given the movie or songs much thought until tonight. We had an easy listening, elevator type music station on during supper. As I was cleaning things up they started playing "Gigi." It was an instrumental version and I started singing along. Before long I had tears in my eyes--tears of sadness for those times I still miss my brother and tears of joy for the renewed relationships with his children.

These memories of mine of Fred are unfamiliar ones to his now grown children.  So, although I get misty, such remembrances of times with my brother are for them as well. Whether we experience tears of joy, sadness, or pain, our recollections are an important part of who we are.

This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. In preparation, I was reminded of the various ways in which a shepherd cares for his sheep. He protects them, fights for them, and comforts them. Sometimes he disciplines them.

Where I lived in Bethlehem, the apartment overlooked a field where one of the shepherds used to bring his sheep and goats for the day. This particular shepherd had a very playful way with the sheep and with one of the goats in particular. He taught the goat how to play soccer. He'd throw the ball to the goat and it would butt the ball back with his head. Shepherds can be fun-loving as well.

The shepherd  acts toward the sheep in the manner that's needed at the time. Tonight after a few tears, it was good to be comforted by the loving, tender Shepherd who knows me so well. Our Shepherd gives us what he knows we need best, be it a boot in the rear or a tender caress as he leads us in and out, just as he led my brother into the Father's presence.

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