As I sort through my mother’s boxes, filled with letters, notes and cards, old announcements and playbills and church bulletins, I see a thread of grace running through the piles. As I shared right after her death, the watershed moment was my brother’s funeral, when Psalm 27 was read, specifically the last verses.
I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord.
For me, the life changer was a few months after Mac died, when I stayed with my mother’s mother in NJ. A woman of deep faith who prayed for me every day from the time I was born until she took her last breath, Grandmom took me to Ocean City Baptist Church every Sunday and weekday, morning and night.
There, in the midst of her faith and prayers, I responded to the mysterious call of God on my life.
Many months later, when I was baptized in Christ Church, Oswego, NY, though no physical signs or emotions marked that event, I see now that my life was never the same again. I received a means of grace, the physical overlapping with the heavenly.
Thus began a long, circuitous journey. Many times I eased toward the light, and other times I stumbled in the darkness, but with a sense that, no matter what, the sun would rise with healing on its wings.
Now, still in that alternative reality that comes from experiencing the slow death of a dear loved one, so much of what I usually spend time and energy on seems just a shadow. Dark images on the wall, created by hands in front of a light. Tiny, one-dimensional signposts pointing to reality.
Everyday actions and objects have taken on greater meaning, become symbols mediating a deeper reality.
We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment.
At this writing, I am in the Smokey Mountains.
The great vistas speak strongly of a great Creator. Wildflowers, colored leaves, even lichens on tree bark tell of His creativity and imagination.
As the pain of a homeless man wrings my heart as we must wring His, feeling our pain, even when self-inflicted, a curly-headed girl dancing in front of the restaurant speaks of His delight in his children.
And each new day assures me that the sun rises with healing on its wings.