But Never Have to Say Good-bye

As we grow, we realize that at some point we will have to say good-bye to our folks. Dale and I lost our parents early. We were in our late thirties when we had lost all of our parents. So, the thought of saying good bye to parents was something we accepted.

We have remarked several times through the years that we were approaching, or had hit the age our parents were when they died. It is a strange feeling to be the age your folks were when they passed. You sort of do a victory jig when you pass the age they were.

Yes, this sounds very morbid. But, it was something that has rumbled around my brain today. Actually, these thoughts began when I started to think of my daughters. Both have families of their own and both are busy raising their children and working. I admire my daughters greatly. They seem to be far ahead of myself at their ages. They never cease to surprise me.

I have a friend who lost her daughter about a year ago, and another friend I have known since high school lost a daughter last week. I cannot begin to imagine how they are coping. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. It breaks my heart thinking of them.

This all reminds me that it is important to keep in touch with family. Texts, phone calls, visits when possible, these are imperative things to do. To keep that bond secure.

I never felt a panic or gave much thought to my mortality, I figured when it was time to move to heaven, I was ready. I had had a family, I saw my daughters grow, get married, have children and become settled in their lives. I felt a measure of success.

I am gifted in that my daughters do many things I did when they were little. This is a true blessing to Dale and I. It’s like we made a difference in their lives. No one could ask for more.

When our first grandchild was born, I spent time with our youngest to help her out in recovering from birth. As she napped one day, I held my grandson and began to sing to him. I started to sing the songs that I sang to his mother. A part of a song goes, “In His name I say good-night, but never have to say good-bye”. I got the first part out and my mortality hit me. I would have to say good-bye to this precious boy. I held onto him and cried.

A couple of years later, our Little Miss was born. I knew that song would get to me, and somehow I managed to squeak it out. I felt a twinge of victory. The thing is, though, she loves that song sung each time she goes down for the night. She will choose who is putting her to bed whenever we are together. Each time I put her down, that song is sung (well, a whole lot of songs are sung). Each time I come to that last part and choke up.

Each time I choke up, I remind myself to make more memories with my grands. I desire to give them memories for a life time. Memories that will follow them throughout their lives.

When Jesus was on earth, He watched His Father. “Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19 (NKJV) Much of what I see my daughters doing, I recognize that I did similar things. Likewise I have caught myself doing what I saw my mother-in-law doing. Jesus gave us the example to follow the Father. I try to follow that example, but I cannot help but see how that example bleeds into every facet of our lives.

Journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Chinese Proverb

This morning while walking, a plane flew overhead. While we lived in San Diego, that would happen every couple of minutes as we lived in the flight path for the airport. Here, in upstate South Carolina, a plane passing overhead is not a common sight for us.

As I looked at the small plane, obviously a private jet, I wondered where it was headed. I often think of that when I see a plane. The point being, it has been a long time since we have taken a journey, a real vacation. A journey that ends at a destination. The kind of destination where you plan.

A place where you look forward to being there. You have just the right outfits for day and evening wear. Those outfits being planned down to shoes and jewelry all coordinating. A trip where you research where you are going, seeing all the sights and monuments and museums that have been on a list as a must see. This place is where you make dinner reservations in advance and you scour the menus to allow your mind and taste buds to prepare for a meal.

I haven’t been on a vacation like this for years. A part of me would love to go somewhere exotic and fun. Actually Dale and I had a conversation about this recently. I am of the mindset that we most likely will not go on such an adventure again with all the restrictions now in place.

But, I know that I do have one adventure to take hold of. It is one that I look forward to.

Yesterday we went to a funeral. A brother and uncle of some dear friends passed away last weekend. As the young minister spoke, he reminded us that this man was no longer encumbered with pain, illness and inabilities. No, he had finished his life here and was now free of the burdens of this life.

He talked about having the finger of God placed upon each of us when it is our time to go. This spoke to me. There will come a day when the finger of God will touch each of us. At that moment our life here is finished.

Almost a year ago, a dear friend passed away. He was our pastor and dear friend. He taught us so very much in his lifetime, I have notebooks filled with his insights and messages. I never expected his death to teach me as well. Watching this man struggle to let go of the bonds of earth was difficult to say the least, but, he was filled with anticipation for his journey.

It wasn’t a journey of a thousand miles that he had to plan and pack for. He had prepared his whole life for this final journey. No new clothes were needed, no reservations needed, he had his journey paid for at the cross of Calvary. He had the finger of God touch him, closing his eyes here and opening them to see his Creator.

Yes, I would love to see many things this earth holds. Pyramids, great water falls, ruins from ancient times, having high tea in London, seeing Scotland where my grandfather was born and Ireland where my family lived. Yes, there are many things that I would love to do. Distilled down, though, the most important journey I will take will be my last one. The one where I will one day close my eyes here to open them and run into the arms of my Savior. I wait. I enjoy my life. The greatest thing on my bucket list though is to be held in the arms of Jesus and hear His heart beating for me.

“But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed” I Corinthians 15:51-52 (MSG)

Gone

Death. It seems so final. The emptiness that echoes in your heart. The darkness that creeps on the edges of all you do. The hollow feeling that envelopes you.

Jesus was buried in a borrowed tomb. Out of fear, His tomb was sealed. Not only gone, but locked away.

Imagine what the disciples felt. Their friend. Their teacher. Their Lord. Gone and sealed off. Their feelings of desolation must have been indescribable.

“From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.” Matthew 16:21 (NLT)

Having heard the above from Jesus, as humans we are sometimes slow to comprehend what we have heard when faced with tragedy. I think (and this is my opinion) that one of the disciples would remember this statement and share it, reminding others that there is hope. But, Jesus is full of surprises for us. I can’t imagine how the disciples got through those three days Jesus was in the tomb.

They thought He was lying in there dead, but, no, he was busy. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last.  I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Revelation 1:17-18 (NLT)

Jesus was working, grabbing the keys to death and hell. I personally cannot wait to hear this story.