Sitting in the hospital waiting room beside my 76 year old dad while Mama was back with doctors undergoing a procedure to try and bring relief from yet another episode of ongoing nausea and pain, I recognized at least in part what lies ahead of me. As for everyone of us, if we live long enough we face the loss of loved ones. I’m 41 now, and found myself simultaneously feeling every long day of my 41 years along with the vulnerability of a child that lives at the heart of every adult. We never get old enough to no longer need or want a mother…I tried reading the book I had taken along with me, but found my eyes were simply skimming over words that were never making a connection with my brain. My thoughts were elsewhere, back there with Mama, wondering what they were finding, doing, how long it would be, what will come next…

I closed the book and just sat with my thoughts, allowing them to take me where they willed. I thought of how we live in relationship to and with others, yet in truth we can only depend on one relationship to linger, to last, to see us through. The Lord is our only continual shepherd and He alone will never leave us or forsake us. I lingered there with that thought, considering how He dwells inside of me. I can sit quietly with no one able to notice that inside of me dwells a relationship wherein all manner of prayer and need is being conveyed to an all-knowing, all-seeing God. How would I endure without His strength, His presence to fill me and to carry me through this unpredictable and often harsh world?

Not surprisingly, given the heaviness in my spirit, Mama’s procedure failed and she left there with the same troubles that led us seeking help for her. I have hope they will be able to resolve this issue in the days to come, but I carry this deep knowing this morning that my folks won’t be here forever and much suffering may encumber their remaining days.

Such heaviness of heart burdens me when I see suffering and lost hope. Yet, I am forever reminded that the promises of God are not extended to me alone, but to all those who seek and find Him. We have His enduring, unwavering love and grace that will eventually bring us into perfect and eternal peace. I pray for those who do not have this blessed hope to find it and to rest in the comfort of grace. “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isaiah 43)

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