Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A shower

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a devotion at the bridal shower for the daughter of a dear friend, who herself is a friend of mine! There is some magical age when daughters of friends become your own friends and she is there already!
Anyway, I didn't have much time to think it through - it was a busy week at school and at home.... lots going on and less than 48 hours to think. I thought about the wedding at Cana and how Jesus turned water into wine. Yes, it was His coming out party, but it was also so that the bride and groom would not be embarrassed. Also, in doing this, He was stating that there was a new age now present. Heaven and earth would now be joined - purification water was now celebratory drink for a wedding. He used a wedding to announce this! This wedding now had new significance. There was much more going on, as well, but I wanted to focus on this last point.
As I sat at the luncheon preceding this sharing time, however, I was increasingly uncomfortable thinking about this devotional. So when it was time to sit together in the lovely garden setting on a beautiful SoCal Spring Saturday afternoon, my remarks were brief. I spoke about the importance of forgiveness.
I said that wives must forgive whether or not they have been asked. They must learn to live in an attitude of forgiveness. Just as importantly, a wife must quickly ask for forgiveness. She must confess her wrong attitudes, harsh words, disgusted looks, silent moods.
Forgiveness keeps love alive. Forgiveness gets the crap out of the way and lets love flourish. It is true between husbands and wives. It is true between us and God.
Forgive one another.
I said it to the bride-to-be and to myself.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December passages

Who could have foretold I would lose both parents just one year apart! Just as I was moving on from a year of mourning Mom's death, I got a call from Gracie the day before I was to go to see Dad for a visit. Dad was failing quickly. Larry re-booked me and within 20 minutes of Gracie's call, I was out the door.
God's ways were already becoming clear - I had completely packed that morning and was ready to go. When the flight was delayed a half hour, I didn't panic; I knew I was in His hands. When we had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes, I was at peace. When it took 45 minutes for my bags to come, I still knew I'd be on time to see Dad. It was part of the plan.
The limo driver drove 85 miles/hour on the empty toll road and I was there at Dad's side in 35 minutes from Midway.
He was already in that sleep that would last despite any attempts to waken him so I was free to hold him and cry. He had changed much since I visited in August, thinner in the face, sunken in the eyes. He was already changing, leaving his body.
Gracie and I sat holding his hand through the night with Gracie taking a nap in the early morning hours.
In the early morning hours, as I sat alone, I pondered the lamp post outside his window as the snow drifted gently down. Like Narnia. Dad was stepping through the door to another world. Aslan was on the move, coming to find him. Dad's winter of life was ending. Summer - heaven was about to begin.
As the sun began to rise, we noticed changes in his fingernails as they turned blue and his face grew pale.
His feet became purple and cold.
His breathing changed, slowed.
He coughed and stopped breathing several times.
And then he stopped breathing.
We kissed him; we held him. We spilled our tears on him. We sang over him and thanked God for such a man who was our father, who showed us God.
Alberto came in minutes later. He, too, held Dad and wept. "Rodney! Oh, my American Father. Oh, friend."
Dad was godly and brave and faithful and gallant and honorable and true and quiet and strong and wise and funny and loving and tender and good.
He loved God's word more than anything and had much memorized which he would recite on his many many walks.
Hospice told us that though Dad was often unresponsive in these last days, they would sit and read to him from his Bible. He would stir. The Holy Spirit was active and ministering to his spirit though he couldn't communicate with anyone. He knew his God and was known by his God and for that we are grateful and have peace.
Dad, thank you for giving us life; thank you for living life so well; thank you for the beautiful life you gave us.
Thank you for showing us the love of God and bringing us to His Son, Jesus Christ.
We will miss you forever, Dad. You and Mom were the best.