Life has such sharp contrast some days.
Yesterday was one of those for me.
Madison did NOT want to sit in her cute little bouncy seat while dad finished getting Noah dressed. So Noni rescued her and became the bouncy seat substitute.
I sat contentedly on the back porch; all the while, patting the object of my affection. Singing. Talking. Listening to the traffic. Praying. Kissing the sweet bald head. Making eye contact with Dad as he peeked in to make sure we were okay.
And just before she had to move on to her next appointment, Madi rewarded my patience with a HUGE smile! She looked me right in the eyes.......and Smiled!
The kind of smile that melts the hearts of all grandparents. The kind of smile that sends you scrambling for your money and asking, "What does this angel need that I can provide?!" The kind of smile that brings tears to the eyes of the recipient.
Deep contented sigh! And the day rolled on.
About two hours later found me sitting by the bedside of one of our much loved church members. We had received the call Wednesday after Bible study that Rev. Mulvaney had taken a turn for the worse. Frank went right to the nursing home to be with the family.
Rev. Mulvaney and his wife retired many years ago from pastoral ministry. They had even served as pastors at Garden Grove Church temporarily; long before we came on the scene. Two of the finest people you'd ever want to meet. So of course, we wanted to be there.
But Thursday, Frank had to be out of town for a conference. And the family had stayed until late into the night. So no one was there when I slipped into the darkened room of our dear friend.
By quietly moving a chair close to the hospital bed, I was able to touch his arm. His once vibrant and mischievous blue eyes were open only a tiny bit; not moving or blinking. His breathing was steady but shallow. No response as I greeted him.
Research has proven that people nearing the end of their earthly journey lose their hearing last of all. So Frank has taught me to sing or read scripture when we visit, even if the dying person can't acknowledge you. They still hear you.
And so I sat contentedly, patting the arm of my friend. Singing. Talking. Listening to the traffic in the hallway. Praying. I even put a kiss on his sweet bald head. Making eye contact with nurses as they peeked in to make sure we were okay.
During one song, his chin moved ever so slightly; right in rhythm. I knew he was singing the old hymn with me. And I did see one eyebrow raise slightly; like an "Amen!" as I finished quoting Psalm 23.
But the most marvelous moment came just before I had to leave.
I began to rehearse aloud the joys that wait for us when we finally reach Heaven as believers. The delight and awe we will surely feel when we meet Christ Jesus. The majesty and wonder and gratitude that will mark those first moments. How marvelous to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
And that's when it happened.
Rev. Mulvaney had laid perfectly still for nearly an hour. His only movements were almost imperceptible. But just then, his eyes shot open wide. His mouth formed an "Oh!" And he gasped. There was the slightest hint of a smile.
His gaze was fixed on something far beyond me. The air was electric! I don't mind telling you, I feel sure he was being given a glimpse of the great joy waiting for all those who die in Christ.
Such a holy experience!
It was over almost as quickly as it began.
Once again the eyes were still; the breathing shallow. But tears stung my own eyes and the lump in my throat made it difficult to sing the next song. His reaction to that glimpse, burned forever in my memory.
We just got the call an hour ago that our dear friend has gone to be with his Savior. It's sad for us. But we are delighted for him. No longer sick. No longer afraid.
One brand new. One aged by many miles of life. Yet both powerful in their own way.
Ah, the contrast in a day! May you be blessed to experience life fully - Shabbat Shalom!