Can you hear the farm gate creaking open? Only 3 more days until this old horse is put out to pasture. He spent the day on campus putting the final touches on his new website, spoiling his assistant (this time we enjoyed my favorite cuisine in the whole wide world -- Korean), and ordering a new computer for his home office.
Then he made his airline reservations for Dallas (the funeral is on Monday) and also let people know that this Saturday they are welcome to drop by the farm to give the old horse a few carrots before he trots off into the sunset. Dad has been on my mind for much of the day. I know the stages of grief that mom has begun to go through. Trials -- who wants them? But then there's that little section in James chapter 1 that we can't escape. We accept the trails of life because we know they
- deepen our faith
- increase our endurance
- enhance our character
- build us into maturity
Oh my, you can't beat that combination. But, says James, all these things come by way of trials -- things we would normally not have chosen for ourselves. Ruth Graham once said that faith and pain are not mutually exclusive, that we can have pain and have faith in God at the same time. She's right. Thankfully, just when life seems too difficult to manage, God steps in and meets us right where we are. All I know for sure is that last night God was waiting for dad to be with him. He was waiting to embrace him and welcome him home. Now dad and Becky and all the others will spend eternity giving God praise. He is a loving and merciful God. He sees our struggles and our striving. Even when we are too worn out to hold on to him, he holds on to us with his everlasting arms. Grieving friend, we need him to do that work in our hearts today. Live in the awareness of his embrace. Allow yourself time to grieve. Allow your heart to break if necessary. Even if life does not get easier, we can move on in strength as we learn to trust him.
Mom, eager to see you and the rest of the family on Sunday. Know that life will feel pretty different for a long time. Keep your heads up and do the best you can. See you all soon.