Thoughts while caring for my Dad
Jesus knelt and washed the feet of his disciples. Of John. Of Andrew. Of Peter. His beloved friends. His family. Right before he went out to be killed he knelt and washed their feet. An act of service. An act of love.
These thoughts are rough and they don't have Scripture references but come from the Gospel in my heart
This image has been in my heart in the last few days in a special way.
Earlier this week I knelt washing and helping my father with private things. It was an act of love. I didn’t know it at the time but his body is riddled with cancer and the cancer is getting ready to kill him.
29 years ago I knelt frequently in caring for and washing my husband as he was being killed by AIDS, dying only 18 months after our wedding day.
Jesus also made breakfast for those same disciples. As they were grieving and scared and not knowing what to do with themselves after Jesus died they went back home and did the old familiar thing of going fishing. While they were on the water Jesus showed up and had fixed them breakfast.
This morning as I was getting my mom some breakfast I flashed to 29 years ago when she came to stay with me while David was dying and every morning got me my coffee and a bite to eat and let me go off to write in my prayer journal and cope with what was going on then.
Yesterday we were talking about a funeral for Dad and how the church will do a luncheon. Doing food is a big image of Jesus I see all through the gospels. Fishes and Loaves, eating at various people’s houses, stories talking about great banquets, and of course his last passover meal when he gave us wine and bread.
Jesus was completely human. He stood at the tomb of his friend Lazarus and wept. Of course we are showing tears and there are a lot more to come.
Before his death in the gospel of John there is a very long prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples. Frequently we see him slipping away to be by himself. The night before his arrest Jesus went and prayed about the very hard thing ahead of him.
I have been leaning on the wonderful folks at my church who make up the prayer chain and have been faithfully praying for us for weeks, even before we knew exactly what is going on with my Dad.
My parents church, and many others connected to our family have been praying. Along the way as we have walked this road people reach out with their words and their hearts and their prayers.
Jesus preached and taught about Grace. Unconditional love. About His, about God’s. He came to make sure we could know Unconditional grace forever, for eternity.
He didn’t just preach. He showed us what he meant. He loved us totally. He put skin on the Love of the One who made us so we might actually see it, feel it, know it to be true.
Why do bad things happen? Why do we hurt so much?
Something about free will but I cannot figure that part out.
All I know is that it is real. It is there. Pain. Sadness. Death.
But Jesus came to help us through and eventually defeat all of these.
He consistently challenged us to do what he was doing for one another.
“Love each other as I have loved you.”
Caring for the basic needs of our bodies, our hearts, our spirits, our souls. That is how he loves us. How we are called to care for eachother.
I am very grateful for all the caring going on within my family and coming from others.
But Jesus challenges us to go beyond our circle. There are lots of folks out there without families or friends or basic needs being met.
I am doing as best I can caring for my family but not so good for the strangers, for the “least of these my brethren”. I know some amazing people in my church, I see a lot in the medical care we are receiving for my father right now who do reach out with this love of Jesus.
I can only pray that as I move forward I will remember all this love and caring I am receiving from Jesus and from people right here and in His name reach out beyond my circle. Its ok now to focus right here in my family because that is where God has me right now.
I hope if anyone reads this they will reach out and care for the people around them and stretch themselves a bit too to care for those who are strangers and have needs as well but no one close.
So love. Love each other. Love strangers. Care with actions, with prayers, with hearts and hands and arms. In Jesus’ name. Love in Jesus’ name.