Saturday, April 7, 2012
I awake early. It seems not a moment passes until I realize what today holds. The pain of the last days coats my face with huge wet drops and chokes my throat. Breathing is only possible if I stand. I cover my face with tissues and quietly move down the hall, peeking at my sleeping grandchildren, closing the doors of their bedrooms with the skill acquired from years of motherhood and now Nana-hood. Ron is making the coffee, while I step onto the back porch, a box of tissues in hand, striving to control my sobbing, distanced away from the sleeping ones. The sun shines through the trees and pierces my soul with the faithfulness of its Creator.
“Honey, look at the beautiful sunrise. ‘Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright.'” I speak, surprised to hear my own voice through this pain.
My heart is breaking, but I remember God’s promise – that even in this darkness, light will always dawn for me – a sinner made upright because of Jesus. Once again, I thank Him for His Word, for hiding it in my heart in those early years, and for bringing it forth in times of deepest need. This is one of those times.
We wake our children and dress to go to Mama’s funeral. The Spirit, which filled me when I first trusted Jesus, now envelops me, and, as I enter, I sense His presence in the large room, as well. His presence continues to encase me all day, teaching me all things and reminding me of the Word, just as Jesus had promised it would.
I recognize that Spirit. It is The Holy Spirit, my Advocate, my Comforter.
Friends and family are present in this large room.
Compassion coats their faces. Tears flow with mine. Empathy emits. Sympathy extends. I recognize each face. It is the face of Jesus.
Their hands reach out, ministering to me and to my family, offering assistance and sustenance,
“Let me get that for you.”
“Could I help you with that?”
“Eat something, Kathi.”
I recognize these hands. They are the hands of Jesus.
I recognize these arms. They are the arms of my Jesus.
Feet are busy. Moving throughout the room. Big feet assist. Little feet run and bounce and dance about the room.
I recognize these feet. They are the feet of Jesus.
Jesus is ever present in this room with me – ever present in my grief – ever present in my suffering.
We follow the white hearse carrying my beautiful Mama. She is covered with flowers. The hearse takes Mama one last time around her circled driveway – past her front porch with the corner window above her sink – past the spiraea and mock orange and rose bushes – across the road, up the lane, lined with walnut trees, to the cemetery where she buried her beloved one month ago.
She will rest beside her beloved, my Daddy, in this setting they chose, overlooking their big yellow house, the creek, and the church where they first met and worshiped and vowed “until death do us part.” I sit where she sat just one month ago. I face her this one last time. The little ones – with the busy feet – surround me. God uses them to bring joy to my heart and to remind me that my life and my Mama’s life will go on within this family! It brings a moment of joy, but then heartbreak as I remember the suffering she endured. I rejoice in the memories of a lifetime with her, but then I imagine the loss I will now always feel. The emotions waver, but God’s grace covers it all. I open my heart to receive it. It is a welcomed grace.