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Archive for January, 2013

My aunt Diana is living out her last days on this earth. Later this week – maybe tomorrow – the doctors will remove life support. Two of her daughters will be with her, and her second husband.

I was thinking of a poem someone sent to my mom when their mother died. I remember how much mom liked it, and I liked it too. As I read it again today, thinking of aunt Diana, I realize I like it much more, now. When my grandmother died, I really didn’t have any image of “who” might be waiting for her on the other shore; I didn’t know her parents or siblings.

But I sure do know faces and names of people who will be welcoming aunt Diana; uncle Al, my dad, her sister-in-law Pat among others.

But my grandmother is foremost in my mind.  I can see Grandma Sybil on the shore, watching … and then calling out to my grandpa, “Oh, Earl, look! Here she comes!”

“I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky mingle with each other. ship

Then someone at my side says “There, she is gone.” 

“Gone where?” 

“Gone from my sight. That is all.”  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. 

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at that moment when someone says “There, she is gone” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout  – “Here she comes!” 

by Henry Van Dyke

 

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Sometimes life events really stink – some in large ways, some in small ways. And these can be very revealing … about ourselves, about others, about what we see as silver linings, and about what we hope may come of it all.

Life Stinks #1: Friday morning I learned that my boss’ wife, who is also my friend, was in a very serious car accident. She fell asleep while driving her brand new Highlander, hit a guard rail and was deflected into a concrete bridge support. She had to be cut out with the jaws of life and cracked a vertebrate in her neck. She is bruised and battered from head-to-toe and in a lot of pain … but wow, I think it is a miracle she escaped with only those injuries.

Revealed: a great deal of wonder and gratitude at how she was protected; her family’s faith and support for her and for one another is evident and amplified; my hope is that God will use this in very positive ways especially for their son who was just released from prison and is trying to build a new life.

Life Stinks #2: Friday evening my cousin Julie called with news that my aunt Diana had suffered a brain aneurysm Tuesday evening. Julie had just arrived in Phoenix to be with her and was trying to reach my mom. It’s not known whether Diana will survive. I located mom and gave her the news; I found a ticket for her to fly out of Omaha to Phoenix; I tracked her flights yesterday and know she got in late and was hoping to spend the night in Diana’s room. I’m waiting for a call this morning to find out what’s going on and I’m sure second-guessing myself, whether I should have traveled with her. Diana

Revealed: I am reflecting on the fact that no matter how weary I am of this world and ready to go home to the LORD, death still stinks. I feel so bad for my mom and for Diana’s four daughters; I think of how I will feel when it’s my mom, or my sister. Jesus understood this; he tried to withdraw to be by himself when he learned of his cousin John’s death. As he approached his friend Lazarus’ tomb – even knowing that he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead – Jesus wept. My hope and prayer is that during this time of worry and fear and sorrow, my cousins turn to God for comfort and for answers and receive Him in amazing new ways.

Life Stinks #3: I opened Facebook this morning and saw photos from the yearly office holiday party last night. Only, I had never received an invitation.

Revealed: I know it was purely oversight (no malice or intentional slight) so I’m happy to observe within my self no anger or blame as I might have felt years ago. On the other hand, I’m surprised at how bummed this has made me feel. I think too much pride and too little humility is being revealed in my own heart. While I’m not glad about that fact, I am happy that I very often pray that God will search me and reveal to me the things He wants to work on with me. I feel that I am seeing that prayer answered and am more than happy to turn to Him, to trust Him, and to walk with Him on the path of His choosing.

When my dad died I had just studied this small passage and I have reflected on it often in the years since. I guess this morning is one of those times when I’m able to step back and to review my progress. I’ve come a long way, thank God! But my journey will continue until the LORD calls me home.

Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians, 5:16-18)

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