“You yourselves bear me witness,that I said, I am not the Christ (Messiah), but, I have been sent before Him.” John 3:28
Each week either on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, I have the joy of visiting the sweetest saint on earth. I pull into the driveway of her apartment building, expecting to either meet her in the dining room for lunch with she and her friends, or I’ll find her waiting at the entrance for a ride over to one of her favorite restaurants – just the two of us, she’ll say. Those are her cabin fever days when she needs some fresh air.
Once we’re seated with lunch before us, she’ll tell me about her adventures over the past week. “Can we stop by Tuesday Morning to pick up some good chocolate today?” She has asked on numerous occasions recently. One week she told me a story, her green eyes dancing. Seems she has discovered when she goes over to pay a short visit with her friends in skilled nursing, she has had some positive feedback that the visits were so special and enjoyable.
I muse at her enthusiastic surprise. Of course those dear folks are glad to see you, I’d explain. You’re not a needle poker, or pill giver. And what you bring doesn’t come from the kitchen. They are delighted that another soul other than family or foe has taken the time to walk all the way down the hall to see them! Imagine! She does imagine. Not too many years ago, she was sitting in one of those tiny rooms in a chair beside a single bed, her beloved husband of sixty years lying in the middle of it.
On this last visit she and I dined out at La Madeline near her home. My heart was heavy that day. She was patient to hear of one of my friends moving to hospice care this week. She’s my age, I sighed. But does your friend know the Lord, she asked me, leaning way in; concern written all over her face. Because, if she does, she ought not be afraid! Heaven is a wonderful place! Yes, I told her. My friend, a relatively new Believer, is at peace. She knows Jesus.
Then she shared her story. Sad, yes, but so much better. Her best friend of nearly fifty years has released her husband, she said. Good, I replied. Her ninety year old husband has been existing in a hospital bed in their two bedroom apartment, filled to the brim with all their furniture and treasures they simply couldn’t part with when they down-sized five years ago.
Now, her husband has her permission to pass into glory, unhindered. She asked her best friend, Wanda, if she had funeral services in order? Did she know what her husband would want? A memorial? Where? Wanda was befuddled. I have no clue, she told her.
She sat down with her dear friend, and over the past few days tenderly walked her down the long last days hall with her, down to the florist choice, hymn choice and where she wants the service. This was now familiar ground for her. Yet, I know she was careful to let this be her friend’s husband’s service. These were their wishes, not hers.
” He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
On the way back to her apartment a light went off in my head. I turned and looked at her. These are the very reasons you are still here at the feisty age of eighty-nine! You are still here on earth to go through these hard days with Wanda! You’re here to bring a bit of chocolate, sunshine and smiles to your friends at skilled nursing! Plus, you now understand heaven and all its joys! She wore radiance as a silk scarf around her neck the whole time we talked. Talking of dying and suffering are hard when you don’t know where you’re going afterward, she said, radiant.
You were made for such a time as this!
This past Friday’s Bible Study lesson had focused on John the Baptist, the forerunner for Jesus. After Jesus had been baptized, called out His disciples, and began ministering, teaching and healing folks, John the Baptist’s disciples were a bit jealous that Jesus was now getting all the attention. But, his purpose had been accomplished. He had announced the coming of One greater than he; he had called the people to repentance, and he had baptized the Messiah. Purpose fulfilled.
I bent over and gave my mom a genuine hug. You are so ready! But not yet, Lord! There’s still much the Father has for you to do! Right here! Where you live!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” II Corinthians 1:3-4
Father, thank you for this season to enjoy my mother. It is a joy to watch her be exactly where you want her; to witness her love for life, for her friends, and most of all, for her Savior! And yes, Lord, I know I’m very blessed to have her! In Jesus’ name, Amen