I was blessed to have more than 20 years with my Mama’s parents. Grandmama and Granddaddy made life pretty special. Granddaddy told the best stories, gave us lots of laughter, and instilled in us deep courtesy for others and strong work ethic. Grandmama nurtured us, cooked with us, rocked us, taught us how to be excited for holidays, and taught us how to appreciate each other. And really, that’s only a little of what they gave us.
Grandmama loved it when the whole family came home for a holiday. She would clean the house (which was always clean anyway) and stock the pantry with all of our favorites. She would cook up a storm, decorate, and make all kinds of preparations that made us all feel loved, welcome, and home. And when the preparations were done, we would sit in the living room and watch to see the family arrive. And as soon as one of us would see a familiar car coming through the winding, tree-lined driveway, voices would ring out from all over the house, “They’re here!” Shoes and sweaters would be slipped on, and whoever was waiting at the house would pour out into the yard to greet and hug and help carry in suitcases.
I don’t like thinking about death. And so I have rarely let myself think much about it. Other than believing that I’m going to be with God when I die, I don’t dwell on it. I’ve heard sermons. I’ve read what the Bible has to say about it. But to think about it just hasn’t seemed necessary – or particularly pleasant. And so as with all unpleasant and unnecessary things, I’ve put thoughts of heaven away as one of those things that I’ll just trust God for, because that’s certainly easier than thinking about it. Imagine my surprise when, this summer, after my five-day vigil at Rick’s bed in hospice, after he had exhaled his last breath of life and left us, I found thoughts of heaven to be a comfort. Suddenly, I’m comforted by the thought that this person who shared life with me, who spent time with me, talked to me, listened to me, and knew me better than anyone, is going to be there to meet me when I arrive…
Tonight I got another one of those calls that, as an adult, becomes an uncomfortable and all-too-often reality. Another person, whom I can’t remember life without, who taught me about life and laughter and love and cooking and yes, fishing, is close to leaving for heaven. I’m 3000 miles from her, in a place where I can’t hold her hand, hug her good-bye, or be with her. And as a do-er and a nurturer, I find that so difficult and painful. But as I stood in the shower tonight, praying for her – and for her husband, kids, and grandkids, I was taken back to those days, sitting in my grandparents’ living room, watching the driveway.
I kind of think that must be a bit of what heaven’s like… All of those who have gone before us have eagerly made preparations. And the time will come when they see each of us come down the driveway and into the yard. And they’ll holler, “They’re here!” And pour into the yard to greet us…
This is the last post in our series of discussions on Corrie ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place.” And in the 5+ years we’ve been doing this, this is the saddest I’ve been to see a book discussion end. There were a lot of emotions while I was reading this book, but this, this chapter – not even written by … [Read More...]
For those of you who aren’t reading along with us, let me tell you a story… It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that … [Read More...]
Life was so much easier when it was in black and white. Think about it. The good guys wore white hats. The bad guys wore black ones. Life, behavior, and even people were easily categorized – good or bad. Roy Rogers wore a white hat, thus he was good. For many years, my world was black and white. … [Read More...]
It’s amazing what love can do. It can heal. It can give hope. It can restore one’s worth. It can save lives. Think of the woman in John 8. She had been caught in bed with a man who wasn’t her husband. According to the law, the religious leaders were within their rights to stone her to death. But … [Read More...]
Have you ever felt completely alone? Like nobody has ever been through exactly what you’re going through. There’s no way they can understand you. And nobody wants to be around you, Debbie Downer. Just keep to yourself, Negative Nelly. You suck the joy out of a party. I’ve been there. In fact, I … [Read More...]
For several years, I had the opportunity to travel on medical mission teams with Mercy International. As a non-medical person, I wasn’t sure exactly how helpful I could be, but I found two roles where I was a productive member of the team. One of these roles was as a pharmacy tech. The other was … [Read More...]
At what point does depression turn to a desperation strong enough to consider suicide? I’ve considered it a number of times over the last 25 years. But the times that I got closest were times that a little voice whispered to me – over and over again: “It never gets better.” It would be pretty … [Read More...]
My Granddaddy was a character. And one of my earliest memories was him “playing” his favorite game with us. It was a game that he had created just for his six beloved grandchildren—a game called “Mousie.” The winner of this game was the grandchild who could be still and quiet (like a mouse) the … [Read More...]