I’m not normally one to be speechless. This is perhaps the quality my husband loves MOST about me…
In my last blog, I wrote about some of the struggles being faced by those around me and how I knew my time of need would come. And this week, it did.
A dear friend of mine lost her ex-husband, meaning her three-year old lost his father. Attending the funeral of 40-year old man was not how I wanted to spend my Saturday, especially as it was my son’s two-year birthday and we had about 25 friends and family members gathering for a party later in the day. As I walked through the funeral home lobby, there were two mementos laying out for attendees to sign – one in memory of the vibrant man taken far too soon and one for his son, notes of encouragement and hope. I desperately wanted my thoughts to be included, memorialized for all to see, but I had no words. I didn’t know how to articulate my feelings, wishes, reflections – I was still processing what was really going on and how this would forever impact this man’s family, especially my dear friend, who lost her co-parent and friend. So I walked past the table, leaving no words or messages, to pay my respects in hugs and tears, hoping just being there brought some comfort to those in mourning.
Today, I found out my Uncle Rod lost his battle to cancer overnight. Over the past few weeks, several types of cancer enveloped his body and took him quickly in the end. I tried to visit him this week but scheduling and his worsening condition got in the way. Last night, he was moved to hospice care near my house so I rushed over as soon as I knew. When I arrived, the nurse told me he’d just fallen asleep. I sat quietly in his room, not wanting to wake this restless man, who was fighting a losing battle. I wrote out a card and a note to tell him how much I loved him and shared some of the fond memories I have of him, placing it on his desk for this morning. As I sat there watching him sleep, I just wanted to pray for him, but I didn’t even know how. God brought this verse to mind:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
So I let my tears and the Holy Spirit do the work, when I was too helpless, too sad, too distraught. My main concern was that Uncle Rod would make peace with God before he passed. I wanted to know I would see him again one day. I decided to open my Bible to the first Bible passage I memorized, Psalm 23:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Thy ROD and thy staff, eh? I have to think that as I continued to have no words, that God had the perfect ones in mind for me. And yes, they did bring me comfort. I trust Uncle Rod felt this same comfort and peace today. His cousin had visited right before I did and confirmed today that Uncle Rod did make his peace with the Lord when he was there, just before me. So in my tears, I rejoice that my Uncle Rod has met his Maker, is free of pain and is with a host of his loved ones who have gone on before him. I feel blessed to have at least been by his bedside.
So friends reading this, here is my PSA of the day: life is short. It can leave us breathless and speechless. Sometimes there just are no words for what comes our way. But I know for sure that in those moments, God has given us the wonderful gift of His Spirit to help us, as well as His eternal words of the Bible. I will continue to cling to these as I navigate joys and sorrows and trust that through them, I can be a light to those around me.