* this week, i learned of the passing of one of God’s children after having a two-year battle with cancer. (6/23/10) It reminded me of this story.
*this is an email to my friends on December 3, 2009.
” Dear sweet ladies,
I just wanted to share with you what happened to me today:
There’s something about a nursing home that makes us all uncomfortable. There is no hiding from the reality of death and decay when you are with people who are entering or are in the ‘Shadowlands.’ You do have a choice however of what you do with that reality. You can accept it by making eye contact and by remembering that these people were once young too. Or you can detach from it. But in doing the latter we rob ourselves of enormous blessing or as was the case today; an encounter with the living God.
Today, the other coach and I took our 3rd-5th grade running team to a nursing home in order to sing christmas carols as part of a community outreach lesson. I went wanting to be detached as much as possible. It’s a hard venue for me as I still miss my “memaw” who died in a nursing home last september. Some of these squishy women look too much like her for my heart to bear. But, it was clear early that these little girls needed me to be fully present and aware in order to run interference for them and make them feel settled. So, I made a choice to look people in the eye, speak directly to them, and treat them like they were still fully human, cause they were and they deserved that much. And the more I did that….the more the girls followed suit and were more restful. It was a beautiful thing.
At our last stop there was a sitting area full of people in various states. So, we began singing our very simple songs with 2 stanza’s and a chorus. As we were singing “silent night” and “the first Noel” there was a resident in the back who was laying on some type of reclined chair on wheels. I noticed that she began to tear up. Then I watched as the aide gently wiped away her tears and lean down to say something to this elderly woman. I do not know what was said, but a smile rose up on this woman’s face like a sunrise. Tears in laughter. I had only experienced them once before and that was the day before my grandmother passed away. That was all I saw. But I saw it because I wasn’t hiding behind my music which is what I REALLY wanted to do.
As we were leaving the aid who had led us around and was standing in the back with the woman I mentioned, thanked us so much for coming. Then she asked if we had seen the resident who was tearing up at the music. I said that I had. and she said, “She is a Christian, and she is dying. Her organs are shutting down. Your girls lifted her up today with their music.”
anyway, my husband really thought I should share this moment from the afternoon when God used little voices to bring the peace of Himself to one of His own who is in the Shadowlands.
Praise be to Emmanuel; God with us.
i. love. community.”
Revelations 1, 5 , 21, 22 via The Jesus Storybook Bible
” I see a throne. And on the throne is a King. And the King is Jesus. All around the throne people are bowing down. They are giving him their treasure. There are loud cheers and clapping, clapping and bright laughter like a thousand waterfalls and everyone bursts out singing a new song….
“This is our King! The Lamb who died, so we don’t have to-our Rescuer. All Honor and Glory! Forever and Ever.” And every creature everywhere, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, joins in.
And then From all around. A wide, Immense, Beautiful, Silence.
And I see Satan- God’s horrible enemy- thrown down, defeated.
I see a sparkling city shimmering in the sky: glittering, glowing- coming down! From heaven. And from the sky. Heaven is coming down to earth!
God’s city is beautiful. Walls of topaz, jasper, sapphire. Wide streets paved with gold. Gleaming pearl gates that are never locked shut.
Where is the sun? Where is the moon? They aren’t needed anymore. God is all the Light people need. No more darkness! No more night!
And the King says, “Look! God and his children are together again. No more running away. Or hiding. No more crying or being lonely or afraid. No more sick and dying. Because all of those things are gone. Yes, they’re gone forever.
Everything sad has come untrue. And see- I have wiped away every tear from every eye.”
And then a deep, beautiful, beautiful voice that sounded like thunder in the sky says, “Look, I am making everything new.”