Last week, Bob's uncle died, and while it was not a suprise, I was amazed how facebook is where we first learned, and before the phone calls could be made, many had kept up with updates on facebook. And I watched different ones communicate with each other on how they were doing, as well as memories and wonderful videos on facebook.
I missed the first facebook message yesterday, but saw it after my friend called me to give us the shocking news that her husband had quit breathing, and she had had to perform cpr on him three times waiting for the ambulance. Her daughter had posted a call for prayer on facebook a few hours before my friend called from the hospital because it did not look good. My friend's husband's brain had gone too long without oxygen. And he was dying.
As soon as Bob got home from work, we drove down to the small town regional hospital, and tried to comfort friends and family. The hospital room was full of family and it was just going to be a matter of hours. Waiting. My friend wanted to sing Amazing Grace, as that is her husband's favorite hymn. So we did. And she asked Bob to show her how to salute. So, Bob did. That slow, respectful, heart-wrenching salute given to fallen soldiers.
God provided the most loving, gentle, kind doctor who patiently explained to the family what was going on, and what to expect, and he answered all their questions. The nurses, too, patiently answered the grandchildren's questions as they quietly worked on IV bags, and changing out medications. It was amazing to watch. The ICU unit was not very busy, and they allowed all of us to be there and say goodbye, and comfort each other. There is something to be said for these small town hospitals.
My dear friend took on the sad title of widow this morning at 2:12am. She is the first of my friends my age to walk down this path ahead of us. I know widows at church, but they are in their seventies. And while one of Bob's sisters is a widow, it was sad to hear Bob's sister talk about how she lost so many friends when her husband died. Her social life severely re-arranged. Maybe a younger widow is a threat to shallow people. Maybe they were fair weather friends?
Amazing day. Amazing week. And the sun is shining, and it is suppose to be warm again today. Seventy-two degrees. We have dandelions blooming in our yard.
My thoughts and prayers are with my friend and prayer partner. We hurt because we know she is hurting. And we desire to bring all thoughts captive for Christ. The good message we heard the other day from Denton Bible Church came to mind, as Pastor Tommy Nelson reminds us, as does the pastor at Mars Hill---that we are always worshipping something. Not just on Sunday or Wednesday nights...but every moment of every day, in our decisions, words, actions. I pray that we continue to honor the memory of loved ones, and comfort each other. And realize we are not here long, and some are given the test of being left behind for a time. And we don't grieve in a vacuum, but God invented the family where we get sandwiched and loved, and we are given teachable moments for the next generation.
I could tell that one of my friend's step-daughters would have preferred to have her daddy all to herself. This girl frowned upon our words, and laughter, and looked down up my friend who is very outgoing, and vivacious. My friend sorta thinks out loud, and is generous with her praise and thanks. And maybe this step-daughter had some regrets, and desired her daddy to come back so that things could be resolved. Maybe this step-daughter thought that deathbeds should be somber, sad places like the way they are portrayed in movies and on tv. So, I am suspicious that no matter how the funeral and graveside go, certain family members may look down their nose at our joy. As Christians we have such joy and are thrilled to know our departed one is no longer suffering, but is face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ. One of my favorite songs---No more pain, no more tears, no more death neither dying again...praises to the Great I AM, we will live in the light of the Risen Lamb. (google it---and let your speakers blast away!) David Phelps does a great job with this song.
Please help us turn, Lord, and comfort others, and know what to say to the bitter, and folks who judge our grieving as not appropriate. It will be a funeral they will never forget. But, check my motivation, Lord. Help me be a help, not a hurt. Help us grieve in such a way that honors, You, Lord, and points to Your Son as the One Who conquered sin and death.
In Jesus name. Amen.
I wish I could tell my friend that I saw two shooting stars on the drive home last night. Meteorites fall to the earth all the time---but I saw those two. spaced out by thirty or more seconds. Two dazzling lights that flashed into the west following each other. Not together, but when I saw the one, I was alert for the next. But, even then, my eyes only see a fraction of the sky riding in the car going west.