Thursday, May 31, 2012


I was at a nursing home the other day, and a lady came up to me in tears. She said to me, I'm terminal. But I couldn't help but be reminded that we're all terminal. We're all dying. We're all going somewhere.

That is an excerpt from a conversation I had with an older man one day at work this week. It was prompted by a simple question on a sheet I asked him to fill out.

Would you appreciate prayer today? (circle yes or no)

I get a lot of different responses from this question. Most people stop in surprise. Those who circle yes usually say something like, "Prayer is always a good thing." The people who circle no either say "Prayer is always good, but I don't need anything specific today." or don't say anything at all. Some don't even respond.

This kind looking older man came to my work station on a slow Tuesday afternoon. He greeted me with a  smile, and I began doing what I needed to do.

I don't know why, but I especially love it when I get older people. They're so sweet. They call me "hun" and smile, just happy to be there. My usually quick hands become much softer around their fragile bodies. If I'm lucky, they might even spontaneously recall a piece of their history. Those times are my favorites. I could sit and listen for hours to an older man or woman recalling their bits and pieces of their life. They have so much wisdom, gathered from years of experience.

I asked this older man to fill out the sheet, and he soon came to the prayer question. He smiled and circled "yes" with confidence.

"There is no such thing as too much prayer," he told me. I smiled a voiced my agreement. "We can't truly do well without God," I said. "His way is perfect."

"That's exactly right. Everyone needs God. We can't get through life properly without Him."

And as I finished what I needed to do, he told me a story from his childhood. He and some friends had gone rifling through a dump, looking for treasures. They came back home with what they thought was a glorious find: fireworks. They were setting them up in the yard, and were just about to light them when his older brother came home. He rushed to stop them. "Those aren't fireworks! They're dynamite caps."

Had this older man's brother come home any later, he might not have been sitting there recalling that story.

He shook his head, lost in the memory.

We could've been blinded. Or worse... dead. God's timing is absolutely perfect. I should be dead right now.

There's a certain magnitude of that I just can't ignore. Not then, not now.

Maybe I've never mentioned this, but I should be dead. I should not have lived longer than 30 seconds. The only explanation I can give for my breathing is God and His grace.

Really, God's grace is the only reason any of us are here. You are alive and reading this because God is full of grace and mercy.

This summer, I am learning about reality.

I know, that's a really odd thing to say.

I can hear your thoughts now...

She's learning... about... reality... what??

As an idiom, reality simply means in fact or truth.

This summer, I am learning to face the facts. To face and be aware of what is true, and shatteringly real.

Take my conversation with this older man for instance. The reality he left me with. We are all terminal.

We're all going to die. Life is terminal. It's the leading cause of death. It is the cause of death.

We're all going somewhere after we die.

Where are you going?

Is your destination Heaven?

Neither is there salvation in any other: 
for there is none other name under heaven given among men, 
whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

1 comment: