Last week, we celebrated the life of our music director's mother. She was 94, had lived a long and beautiful life, and died peacefully. This song was playing when she took her last breath, and I was asked to sing it at the funeral. For the days leading up, I listened to it nonstop, mostly to try to take the emotion out for myself. It didn't work...there's still a lot of emotion there.
Yesterday, I visited a gentleman who has moved into an assisted living facility. We at church thought that his wife moved there with him, but she's still in a rehab facility across town, in her last days, as he said.
My heart immediately broke when I saw that they weren't in this new place together.
Then he said, "I might be sinning myself, but I really pray for the good Lord to take her. No one should have to suffer like that."
He paused and said, "I know that might be bad, and if the good Lord wants to do something to me," he patted his chest over his heart, "I can take it. But she is the one who is suffering now, and I can't bear to watch her like this."
He told of how they had sold their home, and needed her signature, and he wasn't sure she'd even be able to make an X.
He told of how much he loved the new place, but wished that they could be together.
Then he asked who I was.
"The pastor of Lischey's church," I said.
"Oh!" he exclaimed, and immediately reached out to hug me. "It's so good of you to come."
I was so overwhelmed, I had to hold the tears in till I reached the stairway outside his door.
In one day, I could go from dealing with the mentally ill young man who visits our congregation and mysteriously goes into the bathroom with zucchini, to hearing a heartsick older man lament his wife's suffering.
If this is what God gives me to do with each day of my life, I will be forever grateful.