My dad is dying. Officially, that is.
The meds we were trying are not working, and his doctor took him off of them. Hospice will be calling my mom today to make arrangements and answer her questions. My sister and I will be heading to Oregon together as early as this Saturday. Levi will stay here until it’s all over, and we’re getting ready for a service.
We told the kids together yesterday. I told them that God was going to answer their prayers for healing for Papa in a way that we might not like very much. I told them that God was choosing to take Papa to Heaven, instead of healing him here on earth.
They were devastated, and we held one another and cried together. Tischel was with us, and kept asking us all, “Wha’ happened? You sad?” Then, she gathered up our snotty tissues in a fit of helpfulness, and stuffed them back into the box. We had to laugh, even as I told her not to do that. It was too cute.
She really does bring so many moments of joy, and I am so grateful to God for two-year-olds.
As we all calmed down and talked about things, I told the kids that they may have all kinds of different feelings about Papa, and that none of those feeling were wrong. I asked them to remember always where Papa is going, and to thank God for healing Papa forever, even though we don’t want him to leave us yet. To cheer ourselves up, I suggested we sing a song that Papa used to sing to my sisters and I when we were upset, angry, sad, or just grouchy.
It drove us crazy! And I’ve been driving my kids crazy with it, like a good mother would.
“It’s a happy day,
and I praise God for the weather!
It’s a happy day,
and I’m livin’ it for my Lord!
It’s a happy day,
and things are gonna get better,
’cause I’m livin’ each day by the promises in God’s Word!”
I’ll sing it for you sometime.
Audrey suggested that we sing “You Are My Sunshine,” so I did. I barely made it. That’s the song Dad sang to me growing up, because I am his Sunshine.
So, we are sad, and grieving. But we don’t grieve as the world grieves – who has no hope. We have such great hope! This world is just the blink of an eye. It is temporary. My dad is going to a place where there are no more tears or pain or sorrow or cancer. There, it won’t be long before we all re-join him to be in the presence of our great God and Father, Jesus Christ, for eternity.
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)
This earthly walk, and all its trials, are light and momentary. There is nothing to compare to what we look forward to, by the grace of God, and through the blood of Jesus. There is no other way I could know the peace that I know now, even in the midst of grief. Peace is here, solid, like a great rocky foundation. My emotions conflict, and I struggle to know my own mind.
But God knows my mind, and has granted me peace. I am still in his hands. His great, all-powerful, just, merciful, healing hands. And so is Dad. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
And this morning, that is all I need to get me through this day.
It’s true what they say – life just goes on. The world does not stop and take notice when a man lays dying. It just keeps moving. And whether I want to or not, so I have to keep moving. I have school to do with the kids today, a packing list to write, a budget to plan, and a class to teach tonight. I have loose ends that need tying, a husband who needs his wife, and friends who need my time.
I have arrangements to make, and practical, unromantic things that need my attention. That’s just how it is.
So, by God’s grace, and through your prayers, I am lifted up and able to keep walking. To keep running the race set before me. I’m not exactly sure how well I’m doing right now. I’m struggling and in pain. I feel wounded and disabled.
But – I am not alone. The body of Christ has rallied around me, under me, and beside me, to hold me up in prayer. To hold my family up in prayer. To reach out and help with practical things. To love me. To fellowship with me. I am sustained by God’s grace and the love of his body.
Grace & Peace,