Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Miss You. See You Later.

I've got several posts teed up but life interrupts my writing plans.  That's the ironic thing about being human.  One day you are be-bopping along and the next, something happens that requires you to pause and remember being part of a much larger story.

That's sort-of my theme today - a much larger story.

It pains me to write about it though because it requires meditating on a very sad situation.  Dave's grandmother - our beloved Mable - has completed her earthly journey.  She finished the race last night, or early this morning, depending on your time zone.  She isn't in pain any longer and she is finally free to live fully, as she did for so many wonderful years of her life here.

Mable fought against a terrible, horrible disease for the last couple of years - ALS.  But before that, she was vibrant and full of service.  She took care of babies in the nursery, ministered constantly to family and worked the front desk at one of the hospitals in her town with her best friend.

She adored her grandchildren.  She delighted in her great-grandchildren.  She took them everywhere when we visited and probably never laughed more as when they were around.  Most everything Natalie, Sophia, Charlie and Ella Grace did put a smile on her face.

She loved her family so very, very much.  She was a caring and dedicated listener, but also full of opinion.  You should have known where you stood with Mable.  She wasn't hard to read and that is a very good thing.

I love Mable.  I found rest, recovery and joy in her house.  She and I discussed matters of faith and life, which never seemed to be very far from each other.  Our conversations were peppered with both, knowing God is as much a part of the small stuff as the big stuff.

Which brings me to my point.  I read the Book of Ruth this morning, from the Message.  It's not long but it remains one of my favorite for a lot of reasons.  This morning, I came across another, right in Chapter 1, verse 16-17,

But Ruth said, 'Don't force me to leave you; don't make me go home.  Where you go, I go; and where you live, I'll live.  Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I'll die, and that's where I'll be buried, so help me God - not even death itself is going to come between us!" (emphasis mine)

My oldest, who knew Mable the longest, is arguably taking this as hard as anyone.  Yesterday, as God graciously gave us the chance to say goodbye to her over the phone, after we hung up, Natalie said,

I hate goodbyes!!!

She does, she really does.  She takes after her Me-Maw (Dave's Mom) in that way.  She said some precious things to Mable, about her new life in Heaven.  Oh my, her words were glory-filled.  Sophia's were so lovely too, asking Mable to say hi to Dave's other grandmother who is already in Heaven.

Death is never so poignant as through the eyes of a child.

We know we will see Mable again, so it isn't (really) goodbye.  And I know she is so much better than I can understand now that she is with Jesus.  It's just hard for us left behind.  We miss her so much already.  Ruth was right, Mable's people are my people.  Her family is my family.  And while not even death will separate us - for now, eternity does. 

The last thing I'll say comes from Eugene Peterson's introduction to Ruth.  He states,

Scripture is a vast tapestry of God's creating, saving and blessing ways in this world.  The great names in the plot...can be intimidating to ordinary, random individuals...But the story of...Ruth is proof to the contrary.  She is the inconsequential outsider whose life turns out to be essential for telling the complete story of God's ways among us...We count - every last one of us - and what we do counts.

You have probably never heard Mable's name.  Her life, from the outside, seems very ordinary, as does so many of ours.  Yet, because of her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, because of her prayers, because of her service - her life made all the difference.  Her love left sweet and deep impressions on all who knew her.

I can say that because I count myself privileged and honored to have been a part of her story, which will always remain part of God's grand, redemptive story.  It is with tears in my eyes I can say,

Thank you.  I miss you.  But I'll see you later.

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