The Other Side

As I write this, I am sitting by mother's bedside as she slowly slips away.   She's fought hard these past few weeks, but this morning she was weary of fighting and slipped into a coma.  We were told that her time with us is measured in days.

It's late and everyone else in the house is asleep--most of them exhausted from a long and emotional day.  I volunteered for this "shift."  

Over the course of my pastoral career, I have done hundreds of funerals and counseled hundreds of families at the time of their grief.  

I have lost count of the number of beds I've stood beside where a church member's loved one was in the last days (and in some cases, the last moments) of their life.  

The view is a lot different from the other side.  

I see so much more clearly how important it is to know that you are not alone.

When the Apostle Paul wrote that those of us who follow Christ do not mourn as those who "have no hope," he definitely was referring to the Resurrection---that longed-for and promised day when God will wipe away every tear, and there will be no more sickness, pain, suffering or death.  

But I also believe that in part he was also referring to the way that as sisters and brothers we come alongside one another in moments of grief as we mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep.  

So tonight I am grateful for the incredible village that surrounds our family.  I have lost count of the wonderful friends from far and wide, who have contacted me with their good wishes and promises of prayer.  

I am also grateful to be part of such a loving, caring church family.  The incredible offers of help... kind words at just the right time...  people taking my kid to play...  all of it has been overwhelming.  

When we have felt empty inside and lost... When it felt like we were walking this path alone... So many have ministered to us, cared for us and have been pastors to us when we needed a pastor. 

I pray the Lord's blessings upon all of you today.  Embrace your loved ones.  Treat this day as a precious gift.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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