It surprises even me, who has spent the better portion of his life assuring prayers to and for people in need, to note what impact of love these simple expressions deliver.
We had hardly gotten Dad settled into the Hospice residence before our family's church in Pensacola cranked into action with calls, visits, food-- indeed, fleshed-out prayers. Perhaps we tend to de-value these seemingly small caregiving gestures. We shouldn't. These reminded Mom at a tough moment, when her sons had to return to Mobile and Atlanta for their weekday responsibilities, of that most critical piece of information: you are not alone.
First thing Monday morning, I received a call from my pastor who was already marshalling forces of love on our behalf. Take it from one who has made thousands of such phone calls over the past twenty-five years: it touched me. Hearing the voice of my pastor assure not only his own prayers but also those of the church located me in instant spiritual solidarity.
Being on the receiving end of these electrical charges of love reminds you of why it's so important to keep vigil at your post on the giving end.
Hard business dealing with these end-of-life issues, no two ways around it. But, in the midst of it all there is provision at every turn. The word is from the Latin, pro-video, meaning not only to "see ahead," but also to "see for." There is One who sees ahead of us on the journey, who, according to our Leader, knows what we need before we ask. But, this One also sees for us, that is, on our behalf, in advocacy, paving the way for us.
Example? When Mom finally reached that place last week where she knew she could no longer supervise Dad's care in the home, there was a place available the next day in the Hospice residence, as if it had been waiting for him all along. One can feel the force-field of compassionate care upon entering the place. The miraculous merits of Hospice I will celebrate later.
Dad was a little more lucid yesterday, which is always a mixed blessing. On the one hand, he can commune sweetly with his lifelong companion, but on the other hand, he knows more fully and sadly that he is no longer in his own home.
Like driving through a mountain fog, things will be clear for a brief moment, then back into the haze. He must wonder: can't I linger in this lovely clearing just a little longer?
Hospice residence is designed only for temporary care. We are now searching to find a competent facility for Dad's ongoing care. There was a place available months ago, but Mom simply wasn't ready. She is the chief decision-maker; we follow her lead.
Thoughtful prayers are the best gifts these days as we do this difficult dealing. Thank you for them.