Good morning all! Well, we have made it halfway through the week. 🙂
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
Last night I was called by a family who needed me to be there. One of the people in my church was transitioning to death. And her family called me to make sure I had the chance to say goodbye and to pray with them. So I went, knowing that the next few hours would be life changing for them and for me. Jean has been struggling with dementia and pretty steadily declining. I had visited her a number of times and know some of her family as well. So when I walked in and saw the family gathered around her, I couldn’t help but think this was a God picture.
Jean rallied for the morning and then took a turn but now was peacefully resting. Her family steadily came to say goodbye and to be nearby. We told stories and prayed. We played music which seemed to soothe. And after some time it was time for me to give up my seat and tell the family to call me to keep me posted. I gave out hugs and then walked into the lobby. One of her daughters walked me out and when we left the room we both audibly gasped. In the midst of the lobby were lots of small children (great grandchildren of Jean) running around, giggling, having the time of their life with the residents who were also giggling and having the time of their life. Both Jean’s daughter and I said at almost the same time…this has got to be a glimpse of the kingdom of God. It was the most beautiful picture. These kids didn’t think these older folks were weird or scary…they saw more grandmas and grandpas. And these older folks didn’t think the kids were annoying…they were making noises right with them.
One of Jean’s favorite Psalms was psalm 139 and I understand why. It is a picture of an intimate God that surrounds us, comforts us and knows every bit of us, inside and out. This is the God that gives us glimpses of God’s kingdom right here and now. This is a God that acknowledges that death is not the scariest thing or even the last word. This is a God that tells us, “hey, I’ve got this. Let go.” This is a God that gives us family surrounding while we transition and this is a God that shows us kids running around who are the next generation.
During Lent, we have to acknowledge death, grieve, mourn, and then see the giggling kids right outside the door who offer new life. Thank you Jean for a life well lived. Jean passed last night at 11 with family gathered around and peacefully.