And now, we who do not know what to say, nor what to do in the face of such heaviness—in the face of the very END–will call upon the Holy Spirit and count on His intercession to love on our sister who has lost. And our widow’s mite, our best, will be enough.
This, I wrote a couple of weeks ago, when unknowns were swirling, building, filling our airspace:
“Life’s been heavy as of late, and decidedly bitter. But I’m glad for it, for the needed perspective it’s lent me. This morning found me ruminating once again on a recently recurring theme that is HEAVIEST of them all. The END.
I’ve been struggling to fathom…simply to process what a girlfriend is going through right now; trying to imagine just HOW she’s breathing under the weight of her husband’s looming death. I imagine it’s hovering…so close they both can taste it, abysmal, in all its obscurity. Yes, at this point–the cancer, near satiated, having done its destruction–the deep, dark mystery that is death surely looms…larger than life.
This morning a Facebook post shed some light on the shadowy subject; it was written by a woman with a captive online audience, similarly deteriorating on her deathbed in the grips of the cruelest cancer. Her life’s pace having been forcibly slowed, her perspective is full of peace, acceptance, and full-bodied, yet gentle SURRENDER. Yes, she still winces at the bitter, but I was struck by her admission that now, all she has left to do is pull her loved ones close and cherish each remaining moment. Simply cherish.
The precious souls in this fleeting-life space, so close to The END, never fail to astound me. And instruct me–so helplessly entangled, entrenched in this life. (Of course, I am neither help nor hope-less. I am ever grateful to be carried by my Heavenly Lifeline. And I revel, joy-filled, in the eternal treasures awaiting these life-bruised and battered blessed ones, just around the corner.)
After praying over and pondering such heaviness this morning, I, spacey-eyed, with mind appropriately blown, shared with my husband: “In a way, I’m envious. When you’re at that precipice, it must be easy to shed the world’s worries. Because at THIS juncture, none of it must matter.”
Assuredly, at The END, time must slow. And I imagine the frail ones in this position must be afforded a closer glimpse than ever, of this life through God’s lens. A glimpse I often l-o-n-g for. An unshakable fixation on what DOES matter: our people. I long not in a morbid way, but in a desperately-caught-up-in-the-trappings-of-this-world, perspective-poor sort of way…
…And in my longing, I long to help. This is the burden those of us on the outside, looking in on the aforementioned agony share: just WHAT can we do? Needing to feel there’s SOME way we can lessen their pain. And feeling there just isn’t. That we could never even broach meeting their need–shouldering the heaviest of burdens, if even for a moment.
I’m not one of those spring-into-action-at-the-first-sign-of-distress women, who intuitively knows exactly what’s in order in any given situation. I’m a feeler–an ultra-sensitive contemplator…and sometimes I’m so overtaken by the magnitude of the burden I’m beholding…that I freeze.
But I’m also hopelessly stubborn—and determined not to settle in this life. So I’ve spent a lot of time the past year mulling over God’s BEST. For me, for my family, for us all. That’s truly where I want to be, and have taken steps to remain in this sweet spot. To be open and available, Spirit-filled, for His best, whatever it may be, whenever He ordains its fruition.
So just WHAT is the best can we offer to those hurting, needing, bleeding through the gravest of circumstances?
I think–and I can only surmise, having not personally weathered a storm so heavy–that the BEST one can do for friends who are IN IT, is simply to tell them we’re thinking of, praying over, and agonizing along with them. To be a warm body to hold them. After all, they know we don’t know what to say. That we’re at a complete loss for what to do. That we’re having the most terrible time even imagining what it’s like to be in their place.
A girlfriend of mine, a breast cancer survivor, recently told me, teary-eyed, what meant the most during her darkest days: people just BEING there. Not necessarily to offer ingenious, game changing perspectives or energizing pep talks, or even doing: taking charge of neglected household chores or making meals. Just BEING.
Isn’t that what God encourages us to do in His Word? “BE STILL, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 (NIV, emphasis mine) I think maybe He can use us most mightily in the lives of the hurting when we still ourselves and let Him be the Savior.
So maybe just the knowing they’re HELD in our thoughts and care and faithful prayers…maybe that’s enough. The best gift we could give. Maybe–no, most definitely–holding them helplessly up to the Father is ALL we really can do. Perhaps the communal holding up we all do of friends in crisis is JUST what will get them through it.
This morning, early, I texted this to my friend, whose husband is so very near his End:
‘Eyes popped open at 2:51 this morn. Instantly started praying for you. And singing: God reminded me of a fragment of an old camp song the other night when thinking about you guys: “And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hands…”
Praying raising for you. Strength when you’re at the end of yours. And certainly raising for [her husband]. Strength when he’s most certainly at the end of his. Showering your home with blessings of peace and comfort and an undeniable assurance of His LOVE for you both.’
There. My best, in the face of The END.”
…That dear man, who was hanging in the balance between this life and the next for so long, husband to a precious woman of God; father to two darling little girls; and a friend to many, went to meet his Jesus a couple of Sundays ago.