The car drive down, it was the elephant in the room. Grandpa is dying. Are we going to talk about it, or are we going to pretend it isn’t happening? So glad we’re missing traffic! How is work? Oh, I heard this super funny joke the other day…
At the hospital, we didn’t know what to do. We sat there. We talked. We waited. But we were there together. As a family. A crazy-big family that packs out the hospital room. Very glad to all be together. (But let’s not talk about politics.) Do you think they’ll mind if we sing? Is that weird? We know he’s not responding, but he’d probably like to hear a song. This hymn was his favorite.
We’ll sing it quietly. The eleven of us. We’ll try not to disturb anyone next door.
Just before we left for the night, we gathered around his bed to pray. We held hands–all eleven of us–and we prayed. Thanking God for this amazing husband, father, grandpa. Who has lived such a long life. Who has shown such strong faith. And who has loved us all so unconditionally. Thanking God for his life. Thanking God that we know what it’s like to feel loved. (Not because you did anything to earn it. But because you are you.)
An amazing father, husband, grandpa whom we will miss like crazy. But whom heaven is so lucky to have.
In the car on the way home, we listened to music quietly. Talked a little. Just sat as we drove in the dark of the evening. “It feels peaceful,” my brother said. “I wasn’t expecting it to feel this peaceful.”
When we prayed, I’d asked the Holy Spirit to be with us. To be alongside each of us in the coming hours, days, months … in whatever ways (s)he knows is best we need.
And tonight, we felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in our car. In that peace. In the quiet. Being able to talk and to not talk. But just being together. In a calm, sweet, stillness. That peace. That moment of peace.
We won’t feel it forever. But it’s a moment to hold. To remember. That peace that passes understanding. For when everything is ripped out from under us. God is still there.
God is holding, crying with, walking alongside. For as long as we still draw breath. And after that…we’ll meet grandpa again. To talk theology. To mull over Bonhoeffer. To pick dandelions (or whatever the heaven equivalent of that will be). To exist in a beautiful, brilliant, colorful peace so beyond imagination.
In all this, you greatly rejoice.
Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith
of greater worth than gold
which perishes even though refined by fire
may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed
Though you have not seen him, you love him
and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy
for you are receiving the end result of your faith
the salvation of your souls