Monday, June 23, 2014
There is something unique that waiting can bring. Often, it is anticipation. If we are looking forward to something, waiting stands in the way of what we have now and what we are waiting for in the future.
However, there are some things we find ourselves waiting for that we would just as soon have never arrive. The pending death of a loved one is one of those things.
For the past four days my family has all been together, taking turns by my father's bedside - holding his hands, adjusting his hospital gown and sheets, trying to keep him as comfortable as possible. But something unexpected is happening. I noticed something else going on while we are waiting. We are becoming a family again.
Yes, it is true that we have ALWAYS been a family, but us Hall's have gone our separate ways through the years. My brother lives in California, my wife and I live in Wisconsin and my sister, mom and dad all live in Michigan. And although we always get together for a family reunion each year, we seldom have time to just sit and talk. In my dad's illness a silver lining has appeared. An opportunity to spend some much needed time with one another.
It is a sad thing to wait for a loved one to die. There are times when it seems as if the clock is ticking ever so slowly. Then, during those special family moments, the hands on the clock seem to be in high gear and the minutes and hours just fly by.
We have all had our time talking alone with dad, sitting with him and trying to understand the words he is saying. Most of his speech is unintelligible mumbles but once in a while he will say something that is wonderfully clear and understandable. Often those are the times he says something funny. That is so like my dad.
For example, I was telling a fishing story one night about how my dad had taught me to fly fish. I was describing how he had once told me to cast towards a particular brook that was bubbling into the stream up ahead and how suddenly there was a nice trout on the line. My dad held up two fingers indicating the length of my fish as being about 3" Funny guy, my dad. We all had a good laugh.
And the side conversations we had with other family members were priceless as well. The long periods of waiting almost forced us to talk with one another. That was very therapeutic and a blessing from God.
But the thing that waiting allowed me to do the most of these past few days was to stare for hours at my father's face. Stare at his ever-changing expressions - every raised eyebrow, every twitch of a lip. Trying to fill up my "dad gas tank" now because it's a long way to the next filling station.
I would encourage you this morning to spend time with those you love. Tell them you love them. Don't be afraid to give a friend a hug or a kiss on the cheek. You will never regret it. Saying goodbye should never be about regrets. Saying goodbye should be all about love.
Never wait to tell someone you love them.
"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 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 with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." - Romans 8:24-30