A friend texted me one day while I was out-of-town and asked if I was writing. My response was simple: “I’m writing memories.” My normal routine is to write here at least once a week but it’s been at least 3 weeks since my last post. Life has interesting twists …
A couple of weeks ago we loaded up our truck like the Beverly Hillbillies and started off on a long trip to New England …stopping for a wedding along the way and then continuing on our way to the Northeast for another wedding of a dear friend and some sweet time with our two daughters, their husbands and 4 of our 6 grands …and life was grand!
Weddings and my Ramblin Man in a suit! … and babies and conversations on kitchen floors and around dining tables and on winding trails …and laughter and visiting dear friends and wiffle ball …and walks together and worship and building tepees and a grandbaby’s spiritual dedication …and putting my feet in the soul-healing waters of the Salmon River and the beauty of New England in the spring …oh the joy!
And then the call came as if from another season of life altogether …my 92-year-old mom was having a major health episode. She was unresponsive. Within a few hours everything had changed. Laughter had turned to tears. Uncertainty hung in thick clouds– saturated …the deluge sure to come. Waves of emotions …wanting to be here and yet longing to be there. A heart torn as a sobbing 6-year-old grandchild held on to us for dear life while at the same time looking at pictures sent to me on my cell phone of my own mother trying to hold on for her own dear life.
And it seems we’re always torn between life and death … the here and the there. With every open door we step through there seems to be one closing behind it. We navigate between here and eternity …one foot here …the other on heaven’s shores. Life seems to meander between the two as we see with our eyes what is here but get glimpses of what is to come…the glory and mystery of it all flowing together in “ceaseless praise.“*
We loaded up our truck yet again but this time with a different kind of anticipation. The mix of emotions between weddings and now a possible funeral…the swings of life that leave you nauseous. The longing to be there right alongside the agony of maybe I can’t handle this after all…maybe it’s too much …too hard …too painful.
With a long drive and little sleep, we arrived in time. Life was fragile but holding on. God’s timing can be both interesting and quite mysterious.
With family all around, Mom would rally back to the land of the living.
And my thoughts continue to rally around the thought of the seasons of life …from seeing a newborn baby to another beginning the birthing process into eternity. It’s always about letting go. As a baby comes into this world, mamas have to let go and release them to breathe the air of this world. As we watch someone we love begin the birthing process into eternity, we have to let go yet again and release them to breathing new air –the breath of heaven!
I’ve never been good at letting go. I hold on to all that’s dear to me with a white-knuckle-grip. Living and loving deeply leaves deep grooves engraved on the heart that mighty rivers can’t re-route.
Peace has come in knowing that many years ago my mom put her trust–and ultimately her whole life–in the hands of Jesus Christ for His saving grace. She’s held securely in His arms. She said she’s waiting on God to take her home …her true home where all is at rest and she’ll finally see Jesus face to face. All over her room are little notes she’s written about her love for Jesus … “My Jesus, I love Thee.” She’s ready for new air …trading the air from an oxygen tank to pure air made by God Himself.
We wait with her for that glorious birth. While we wait we sing … and pray …and hold hands …and speak love …and hug and kiss … and watch and wait together.
One of her med-tech/care-givers at Carolina Gardens Assisted Living sent me a few lines from Don Wyrtzen’s song, “Finally Home” saying, it “fits Rev. and Mrs. Waters’ reunion to be” since my dad’s birth into heaven was over 15 years ago. Mom’s story is still being written. God is not quite finished with her work here on earth and He is doing a work in me as I’m learning to lean into His embrace and rest there as the journey unfolds. It seems letting go of anything ultimately means grabbing the hand of the Father and holding on for dear life.
I’m holding on …
When surrounded by the blackness of the darkest night,
Oh how lonely death can be,
At the end this long tunnel is a shinning light,
For death is swallowed-up in Victory, (Victory!)
But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven!
Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s!
Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial!
Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!
by Don Wyrtzen
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
You can listen to the song, “Finally Home” Here
*”Ceaseless Praise”: From the hymn “Take My Life and Let it Be”
Words cannot express how much we appreciate and love the caregivers, med-techs, staff and administration at Carolina Gardens Senior Living in South Carolina. They have become family to us.