April 1 – Need some inspiration today?

Embracing Hope
We are called to do small things with great love.
Mother Teresa
I ask for your prayers for my family
April 1, 2020
Pastor Ron Myers
Her text message to her sister and I was desperate as she texted, “I am going to call in few mins– SOS.”  My heart jumped right up into the center of my throat as it beat louder than the airplanes in the flight pattern over our house, and I waited for the call.  Rebekah is a mature young woman who carries a lot of responsibilities for her twenty-two years of age, and I could tell by her text that this was very different than before.  Ever since her mother’s death when she was a junior in high school, she had displayed an amazing depth of strength.  Despite her strength, I knew that underneath the surface was a young woman trying to keep it together.  She traveled from Anchorage, Alaska to attend the University New Mexico in Albuquerque.  She excelled at the University where she found a community that affirmed and supported her.  She had demonstrated incredible responsibility as the Student Body President in her senior year.  For almost a year now, ever since her graduation, she has been working at the University of New Mexico in the Human Resources Department.  Six months ago, she embraced an enormous responsibility.  She became the “Power of Attorney” for her, ninety-year old, grandfather.  Jim has been an important influencer in her young life. He has poured out unconditional love on both of his granddaughters. Both of my daughters adore their “corny, joke telling, silly song singing, grandpa.”
Jim holds a special place in my heart.  Jim and I traveled the Alaska-Canada highway from Davenport, Iowa to Wasilla, Alaska in 1989.  Linda Jean and I had purchased a new car in Davenport for our extraordinary new life in Anchorage, Alaska.  Jim and I told terrible jokes and sang hokey songs along the way while spending the night in shady motels and drinking cheap quarts of beer.  Our wives weren’t necessary pleased with us when we didn’t call as we drove through the Yukon.  Later we would tell them that there weren’t telephones in that part of Canada, but they didn’t believe us.  The truth was that we were so caught up in the journey that we forgot about other responsibilities.  I loved my time with my father-in law.  Jim provided me with great strength, support and comfort following Linda Jean’s death though her death was just one month after his wife, Joan’s death.
In the last six years Jim has lost his wife, Joan; his daughter, Linda Jean (my daughter’s mother); and his son, David.  Jim moved from his home of 50 years in Davenport, Iowa to Fort Scott, Kansas to spend his last days in the community of his birth.  It is hard carrying on a long-distance relationship even with all of the advances in technology.  The girls worried about their grandfather and relied on distant relatives to keep them informed when they couldn’t get in touch with Jim.
Back to Rebekah’s text message.  The care center where Jim was living had called to tell Rebekah that her grandfather was extremely ill, and that he had requested Hospice care.  The nurse had called Rebekah to ask if she concurred with Jim’s decision, and then shared with her that the current COVIC 19 pandemic protocol for his age group was to simply keep him comfortable.  Rebekah asked that her sister and I join a FACETIME conversation so that she could update us on Jim’s condition.
Now here is the most beautiful part of this most difficult situation.  The nurse offered Rebekah a gift of incredible grace by simply using her own phone to FACETIME Jim with Rebekah.  Rebekah was able to say her, “goodbye,” and to hear her grandpa tell her that he loved both of the girls very much.
We experienced what many families are encountering during “pandemic” days in that FACETIME conversation.  We were talking about life and death issues. We also know that we can’t be by his side as he began the next chapter of his journey.  We all process grief very different, but we all grieve.  As we attempted to pay attention to facts about what was happening to our loved, our emotions twisted our hearts in knots.
I wanted to leap across the miles that separated my daughters, Rachel in Seattle, and Rebekah in Albuquerque, and, forgetting physical distancing, hug them tightly.  Even as I write these words, I can feel the tears that are running down my cheek.  It is hard for a parent to see their children suffer, but we, as a family, have experienced a lot of suffering and pain in the last several years.  But as we suffer loss and the pain that comes from fully loving another human being, we have survived living with a vision of grace and love that holds all that we love for eternity—we have resurrection faith.  I am confident that their mother has been looking down on us, and in a mysterious way, that I don’t understand, has lifted us up when we found the way difficult.  Both of my daughters are courageous woman who have leaned into an inner strength that helped them wade through murky waters.  I take comfort in knowing that they are anchored well in love.
I am reminded of Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7:
“ For the Spirit God does not give us a spirit of fear, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
As I hear about the rising tide of deaths that are touching families just like my own, I find myself needing to root myself even deeper in the mysterious Spirit of God that infuses me with power, love and self-discipline in order to fully embrace God’s abundant promise of peace and joy that will carry us all through.  I haven’t spoken these words often enough, “I am going to simply trust Jesus.”  I know that my father-in-law is trusting Jesus now, and he is ready for the next chapter of his journey where he will join Joan, Linda Jean and David on the path.  We fall down on our knees before the shadow of death, but my faith teaches me that when I fall down God lifts me up.
What about you?
Today’s inspirational Message
Pastor Ronald R. P. Myers
Ocean Shores United Methodist Church
On the beautiful Washington Coast

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