December 26, 2016
I think I am going today to see my father die. I bought a ticket last night that will fly me out to Syracuse this afternoon. I spoke to Dad in his hospital bed yesterday, and his wheezing was horrible. All I could manage to say was that I loved him. Repeatedly. He tried to talk but hardly had the breath to support it. And he didn’t know what to say, other than that he didn't know whether he was up or down, and that he was scared. I couldn’t stand being here anymore. It was comforting to get online and buy a ticket. I now knew what to do. It was time to go.
My friend Linda, has been posting on Facebook for the past month one thing she is thankful for, every day. It has made me think about the things I’m thankful for, and right now, I’m thankful that if I must see my father die, it’s at this time of year. At Christmas. Because all around me, I see indications of Jesus coming to earth. Of God becoming flesh and bone. Spirit becoming human. And I am thankful for the mystery of His presence.
Donald Miller says, “It comforts me to think that if we are created beings, the thing that created us would have to be greater than us, so much greater, in fact, that we would not be able to understand it. It would have to be greater than the facts of our reality, and so it would seem to us, looking out from within our reality, that it would contradict reason. But reason itself would suggest it would have to be greater than reality, or it would not be reasonable.”
I got up early, unable to sleep more. I got up to turn on my tree lights and light the candles around the living room, and to sit in the middle of it all. In the middle of this glowing, warm light. The flames bounce and flicker and I remember that in Jesus "was life, and that life was the light of all mankind", and even the smallest flame dispels the darkness. I feel like I’m getting ready to fly into darkness, and I need to fill up on light and take some with me and carry it around in my chest. Somehow in the middle of this pain, there is still joy in knowing that God became Man, for the very purpose of defeating death and the grave. 1st Corinthians: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I can’t describe the fullness in my heart despite what I know is waiting. I am surrounded by reminders of His love for us. Death can snuff out the life in our bodies, but it can’t touch the joy of knowing the One who came and removed its power. I don’t understand how this joy is possible at this moment. So palpable. I didn’t think it could be like this. But I’ll take this peace, and put it on like a warm sweater. I’m thankful for discovering that the promise of His rest in the midst of calamity, is for real.
It's time to go.