Tuesday, December 29, 2015

His Face is Kissed a Thousand Times

My brother-in-law's best friend, Steve, went home to be with Jesus on Monday night. He was 56 years old with pancreatic cancer. He was a man who lived life to its fullest. He loved Jesus and others with his whole heart. He was blessed to be able to hold and play with his first grandbaby that was born two months ago. Another one is coming next month and he so wanted to live until this one was born. Steve was like an uncle to my sister’s children. He flew out here from Colorado to attend all of their weddings even though he was very ill. They all loved him dearly. He had an amazing voice and sang a beautiful song at my sister’s wedding many years ago. All of their hearts are now broken.

His dear wife, Stephanie, loved him deeply and will miss him terribly. She wrote a beautiful letter a few days before he died. I pray you are blessed by this letter and if you have a husband who is still living, love him today and always, will you? Life is fragile and short. Never take one minute for granted and never stop living for and loving Jesus.

Steve and I are sitting side by side in our bed in our home. He is comfortable and peaceful. He has not been able to eat or drink for days now. He no longer moves independently and can say no words. Nor does he open his eyes, but his hands are held all day long by my hand or those of his family who {all of us} love him dearly. His face is kissed a thousand times and we constantly whisper our love for him.

I wish I could tell you I am doing well, but I am not. I am overwhelmed with grief that breaks forth like the evening rain storms Steve and I witnessed in Hawaii. It comes on suddenly without advanced notice, dissipates, and then violently lashes out again. C.S. Lewis writes about the grief he experienced after he lost his wife, ”The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.” 

Today, I read  Isaiah 64:4 and the words spoke to me. "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him." I was struck by the thought that the only choice I have is to wait on him to act on my behalf. Nothing else will suffice.  

Steve shared a dream with me that he had while in the hospital; after sharing it we laughed together. But the dream continues to sit in my thoughts and I bring it back to think about over and over again. In his dream he was running with the reindeer. It was a large group of reindeer and he found himself running alongside of them, and then in the center of the herd. At one point he tells me they are suddenly launched in the air running together, like flying but running, and his legs are pounding and his arms are swinging back and forth, up and down. 

I frequently find myself asking God to gently, safely carry Steve to be with Him and keep him ready to meet me when it is my turn. It thrills me to think that I will have Steve to meet me and we will fly off together and he can show me everything, just like he did in our earthly time together. He was always showing me things to see and do, guiding me with his beautiful perspective. Today, I realized that what I have to do is wait on God to keep me safe here and then later I'm with Steve again in that place we call Heaven. It means my relationship with him is not over, just suspended. I know one thing for certain, if we retain any of our former selves in heaven then  Steve will be planning fun things for me to do with him when I get there; maybe even running with the reindeer.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:4