Sunday, April 15, 2007

'Where is thy sting?'

Life is so complicated and messy and intertwined and beautiful, isn't it?

Yesterday morning in church I stood behind a friend and her parents. Her father has had a rocky several months - in and out of hospital, and finally a diagnosis that resulted in a risky operation - and there he was, singing and smiling. And for all the joy there was, his loved ones watched him carefully, not quite able to believe their eyes.

Over Easter, a beloved friend speculated about her own father's last hours. Had there been a moment when he, like Jesus, cried "Why hast thou forsaken me??" I've thought long and hard about that since, and about my father's last moments and I think - No. That's not the way it will be. We are told "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" and that with Jesus' death on the cross, death was 'swallowed up in victory'. And I imagine it this way - my father knowing this is it, and panicking at the thought of leaving my mother on her own, and there before him - the face of God. And he is promised that everything will be alright, that He will get us all through the aftermath, and over His shoulder, Dad can see glory, and how glorious it is! and with a rising joy, he realizes that this is his, now, and he stammers "all this time, I thought I trusted You - but this, THIS is trusting!", and life, real life, begins. I think my Dad, who worked hard his whole life to look after everyone in his life, is still sometimes amazed and gratified that he was allowed to lay it all down.

And I'm sitting behind Mr K and trying to wrap all those thoughts into words and the music starts and we're singing "And ohhhh we will look on His face" and suddenly it is all too much to bear, the anguish and the comfort.

3000 miles south, a family is holding vigil in an ICU room. It's been many days, and they need bolstering. Please pray, when you have a moment, for Ray and Vivian and Renee and Sharif, and for a husband, father and grandfather whose ending is not yet known.


Wendy said...

it's the way the two come together, isn't it? the anguish and the comfort? it's like love in the middle of real life pain. it's like father god.

Kay said...

You are so right, I believe, Susan. I think death for a believer is a wondrous thing and beautiful.
My friend's dad looked up to the ceiling, smiled, extended his arms for an embrace and was gone.
How long has it been since your dad died?

darien said...

my friend, that was a truly beautiful post!

LC said...

My oh my, not just this but all this week your posts totally inspire me. Thank you, and hugs, elsie

Kassi said...

Have you ever thought that maybe it's not your novel that "needs" to be written, but your continually inspirational blog ?

Tricia said...

My friend, you are truly a blessing. God has given you this wonderful ability to string words together in a way that just says it all. I love and miss you!