December 27, 2004

Making it Real

When R and I went to visit his father in the nursing home last month, I could hardly contain myself. It was so hard to see this man that I loved so much. He appeared so different to me. We kept our visit short for the man who once loved the details and the time it took to give them. As we drove home, I recalled all the times that R and I had taken our first and second grade youth group over to the nursing home. I remembered the smiles we received from those whom we visited, and the comments of the children afterwards. It occured to me that all those people were special to someone- that the man was someone's father, grandfather, husband. That the stooped elderly woman was someone's mama, aunt, and daughter. It made me hope so much that someone is stopping in to sing a simple song, or share a homemade card, a pencil with a crossword book, the local newspaper, a home baked goodie, with my father-in-law. I hope that someone is standing in for me where I cannot be and for someone who I so love.

Earlier in the week, we had stopped over in our former town to visit and attend church. It was the first time I would see our former assitant pastor. He found out this past summer that he had a massive brain tumor that was compressing much of the nerves to the right side of his face. After several doctors examined him, it was concluded that surgery was the only, yet still unsure option. When I saw his face- his wonderful kind face drooping and unemotional, I couldn't stop the tears. I hugged him for a long time. I then told him that I was sorry for crying, it was just so difficult to see him like this. He told me that it was humbling to have to ask "Am I drooling?" It made me mouth widen into a grin and the taste of warm salt slipped into my mouth. We concluded our brief visit with a laugh and I committed to praying for him and his family.

Later, as the quiet of the van and the repetitive sound of the road home filled me, I began to think about something from a new perspective. I recalled when Jesus was so tired that he had his disciples row him out into the middle of the lake. I had always understood that as a physical need. This time, I felt that I understood it differently. That perhaps, when he saw the faded father-in-laws, the drooped cheek from a tumor, the gnarled hand of a niece, the arthritic back of a grandmother, that He being omnipotent, was grieved by their physical discomfort and pain. Grieved and saddened to the point of utter exhaustion, he experienced the emotional and spiritual evaporation that is caused by seeing the suffering of someone who is endeared to another. This was the physical affect of sin in the world. When Jesus saw the people, they weren't just people, they were someone particular, like my father-in-law and my former pastor and His heart felt the burden of their physical pain and discomfort and saw how it trampled those they loved, as well.

Thinking of this made me review how He felt when someone came to Him and He saw their "sin." He saw it as crippling and weighted. He wanted to extend forgiveness to lift that burden that was suffocating their spirit and stiffling the life out of them. He did so out of compassion. His compassion moves and motivates me. That I might have the true compassion of Jesus is my single prayer/resolution for the New Year. I want to have the eyes of Christ who sees with full understanding, mercy, and the grace to extend to another falliable human being.

This counts as my last post for the year 2004. I will return after New Year's Day, 2005. Blessings of the compassion of Christ, the strength of God to navigate the deep waters you will encounter this year, and the wind of His hope to fill the sails of your life and refresh your soul.

Posted by Rae at December 27, 2004 12:07 AM

Great post! It does make me sad to see the elderly and worry about if their family visits or if they have family left to visit and care about them.

Makes me thankful that my parents are in good health.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: GrumpyBunny at December 27, 2004 09:20 AM

I've been reading for a while now, but my first time commenting.
Every year, while my husband's grandmother was in a nursing home, on Mother's Day he would take a bucket of roses to the home and hand out a rose to each woman there (whether or not they were an mother) He said it made every single one of the women smile. Now, even though his grandmother is gone, he still goes on Mother's Day and hands out roses. Such a little thing, but it means so much to all of them.

Posted by: Marsha at December 28, 2004 02:01 AM

Hi, Marsha. Thanks for commenting :)

That sounds like a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing it.

GB- how are you, haven't seen you in awhile...

Posted by: Rae at December 28, 2004 03:19 PM

First Kris, and now you. . . *sigh*

While I'm disappointed, of course, I am happy for you and your decision--and pray it will be a blessing in your life.

Grace and peace,

Posted by: TulipGirl at December 29, 2004 02:08 AM
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