Monday, February 18, 2013

Seeing Something that Cannot Be Measured in Words

Road in Northern Michigan

Jesus taught us to pray that we would not be led into temptation. He did not say we would not be led into crisis. We will all face the dark valley. In that moment who we truly are will determine how we will respond. How we respond is more important than denying the crisis or trying to avoid it.

Henri Nouwen writes: “One of life’s great questions centers not on what happens to us, but rather, how we will live in and through whatever happens.” (Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times, compiled and edited by Timothy Jones, 12.)

For example, see David Andersen's loving care of his wife Charlotte, who recently died of pancreatic cancer. (David and Charlotte are the parents of Sarah, who is married to Linda's nephew Colson.) When I read this, written by their daughter Jennifer, I knew I was witnessing real faith in the Real Jesus.

The Measure of a Man

Written Feb 10, 2013 4:45pm by Jennifer Langford
There is a book that I see kicking around my parents' house each time I have been back. It's titled The Measure of a Man by Gene Getz. In it, Getz talks about 20 attributes of a Godly man. Some of these attributes include faithfulness, moral purity, wisdom, sharing resources, living a balance life, handling anger appropriately, and loving God wholeheartedly. Each time I glance at the title, my thoughts obviously turn toward my dad and I am prompted to think about what makes him the man that he is. 

But in the last few weeks especially, I have seen something in him that cannot be measured in simple words. They are things much more finite. I have watched him spoon feed hot soup to my mom, brush her teeth, adjust her pillows, put chap stick on her dry lips and shake the orange juice up just the way she likes it. I have listened as he sings her hymns as she rests, whispers how much he loves her, and hold her hand at night. 

I have heard him pray for each of the healthcare workers that come into their home. I've listened as they pray by name for each of you that have brought meals, sent cards, and written a note of encouragement on this site. I have heard him ask the Lord to bless each of his children, their spouses and grandchildren. 

Today, I watch as he lays next to my mother awaiting her final breath. I see him trying to make her as comfortable as possible, and longing for the day that they will be able to worship their Lord together. 

So when I try to put words on paper to define the measure of a man...I simply cannot...I'm looking at the most amazing one in the other room.