A friend of ours, and his family, lost his precious, grateful mom this week. He posted an array of beautiful thoughts on his Facebook, that I felt needed to be shared. Please enjoy them like we did. It is a reminder for us all to think deeply about things, and trust God on every level and with everything.
“Last night was a special family time, and a divinely orchestrated congruence of schedules over a holiday weekend when everyone was home and immediately available to gather spontaneously to usher my mother into the presence of Jesus.
I was only able to follow Phil Mickelson through the 12th hole, it was a perfect “Master’s” weekend!
I had been on a media tour in NYC with the Scruggs, the parents of the 23-year-old Texas model who walked into a plane propeller last Christmas, accompanying them as they appeared on (ABC) “Good Morning America” and (NBC) “Weekend Today,” to discuss the meaning of Easter on Good Friday in the context of the hope of their sustaining faith through the challenging last four months.
Over dinner with the couple the night before, we discussed messaging of their daughter’s story and over-arching themes of hope and second chances found in the Easter lexicon, including resurrection, restoration and new life and strength in Jesus that empowers individuals to move on from difficult challenges of life. Little did I know that all of the points that were resolved for young Lauren physically her on earth I would face in a spiritual realm with my mother – and over the next few days:
• The message of Good Friday is of sacrifice, and suffering — such as Jesus endured on the Cross and my mother experienced without complaint for the past four years. It is through that process that we find strength outside of ourselves our faith is deepened and our character is refined. As our priorities are realigned, we receive an added measure of grace to see us through.
• It is in our pain that we find gain – even victory — that can also benefit others. Pastor Rick Warren often says, “Our misery becomes our ministry.”
• The message of Easter is the hope of the Resurrection, new beginnings and new life, as we serve a God of “second chances.” It is a time of year when believers especially celebrate the joy of our faith in Jesus. Happiness comes and goes, depending on one’s situation, but joy transcends circumstances, because of the hope within us.
On my way to the hospital to see the doctor early yesterday morning, when I started my car, the radio was mid-song, playing , “The Music Never Stopped,” by The Grateful Dead. After several bars of a musical interlude, the lyrics of the next verse were:
“They’re a band beyond description, like Jehovah’s favorite choir,
People joining hand-in-hand, while the music played the band,
‘Lord, they’re setting us on fire.”
I switched to a Sunday sermon before heading into Starbucks for coffee, and when I came out, the church choir and orchestra began a live rendition of “The Hallelujah Chorus.” Later, I realized that for two days my mother, the most grateful person I have ever known, was literally the grateful dead lying in that hospital waiting to be taken off life support. But the music never stopped, she was already in heaven, as:
“The band kept playing on, and kept on dancin’ through the daylight,
greeting the morning with song.”
As the party was already underway in heaven, our family experienced that same joy (to the extent it is possible on earth) – individually and corporately – through the shared experience of holding her hand as she walked into the presence of Jesus and all the heavenly hosts:
“When the cool breeze comes on Tuesday, and the corn’s a bumper crop,
the fields (white unto harvest) will still be full of dancin’, full of singin’ and romancin’ (to Jesus),
and the music (myriad verses of “The Hallelujah Chorus,” I am sure) never stopped.
To God be the glory; that is my story, and I am sticking to it.”