My father is dying. It has been a long journey in this passage for he and my mother. It has been a long journey for all of us who love him. I have struggled with many emotions as I have been living this with all of my family and those who love us. They have ranged from confusion to sadness to anger to fear to feeling guilty at any small feeling I might have...all the while working my way to acceptance and hopefully peace. I am not there yet, but I have faith that I WILL get there.
I most often go to John 14:1-4 "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL COME AGAIN AND WILL TAKE YOU TO MYSELF, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going"
This whole thing gives me comfort...The WAY spoken of here is to live as God has asked us to live...and to DO what God has asked us to do! We aren't going to be alone at all in death!! Jesus will be right there...We as CHRISTIANS have a place right near Him!...THAT is my favorite passage for this thing we are going through...
These pathways, this journey has, for me, has my mind moving at breakneck speed sometimes. Trying to understand facts, trying to give comfort to those in distress about it, trying to find comfort for myself if even for a moment through other activities, through sleep...but for me I wake every day with a heaviness of heart as we are still walking the steps of waiting and knowing the struggles of passing from life to going HOME. For me that has become my daily routine while I wait to hear that he has gone home. I'm noticing my tears come more quickly and easily...not because I fear for him to go home, but because I want him to go home to have that perfect body free of this life and all that it has become for him, and I am HATING that he is stuck here in his struggles to move from this imperfect body to a perfect one.
This year I am waiting for a call to come to put my father's earthly body to rest and learn to live a life here without him in it. I am aware of the stages of grief, and I am sure as we make that 11 hour drive to my mom and the family that I will be very aware of each one...what I am feeling, what I think will be next...grief that I will miss him here on this earth, and gladness that he has gone home before us (just like a dad to pave the way for his family), sadness that my mom has a new existence without him and she will miss him, knowledge that we all will be in this place one day, so desire to understand what is normal to be and do and feel...for me it has always been so, to try to learn from what I see those ahead of me going through...always learning and seeing and trying to understand.
Time is marching on, and I'm trying not to get in the way of it...trying to do and be what I need to for whomever may need whatever...whew...But in this crazy time I want to stop, I wish we could ALL stop and think about what is truly important in life...what is really the end game for all of us...I want everyone to be aware that EACH person has a right to grieve the way THEY GRIEVE, to not judge someone's life or process...to not feel anger that others don't do things the way they do...There is no judgment here...there is no place for it here...there should only be love and gentleness and support for each other...sigh...how I wish it!
BUT, we all fail in life...in the imperfect parts of life...we try, and we struggle, and sometimes we all say or do things we regret...What I've learned is that each person's pathway in life has its imperfections, has its sin, has its mistakes...NO ONE is without it...PLEASE be gentle in your thinking of one another, PLEASE understand we all try our best and sometimes find ourselves in places we wish we weren't in...and we struggle, and we cry out in our own ways...and we need things we may have passed by without understanding we need them...PLEASE BE GENTLE IN YOUR HEARTS for one another...because in the end the ONLY thing that matters is that in our hearts we tried to be right and do right...PLEASE be gentle in your thinking of someone who may have fallen by the side...PICK THEM UP like the good Samaritan did...LEAVE that kindness on the heart of one who struggles. Life is short my friends...no one is immune to death...no one is immune to mistakes and failure and sorrow and regret...We are all in this life together, and our goal should be to stay connected so we can help each other go gently toward heaven!
So, for a Christian, death is merely the passage from this life (where we are not meant to stay) John 15:19 "The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I CHOSE you to come out of the world, so it hates you" Going HOME is our goal as Christians. We are to be happy for those faithful Christians who have gone home for their reward. That should be the goal for everyone..But, while in this place of waiting and reflecting, be gentle with one another as grief is personal and every ONE has a right to go through it feeling secure that their way is ok
and finally...for today...read Ephesians 4:32 "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." As we travel this together...remember we all need this of each other!