Wednesday, July 26, 2017

When We Made Up Our Minds about a Hard Thing, and We Did It


No one should have to face death by themselves. When you give your word, you keep it. Those two truths helped us do what had to be done. There were, of course, a few Scriptures that helped us, too...

- greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend. (John 15:13)

- do unto others as you'd have them do unto you (Luke 6:31)

- love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:39)

Those verses describe the love Jesus has, the love He intended us to have. We become more like Jesus by doing what He says, so we did it. 

It's that simple. It's that hard.

My neighbor, Sam, came to live with me yesterday. He'll be here until the end. It wasn't an easy decision, and it wasn't an easy move, but we both knew it was the right decision.

We made it through the first day and night.

There were a few moments when I thought we might not. When the man setting up the bed found a broken clip and asked for duct tape to fix it...when Sam told a friend on the phone that he was just spending the night for one night...when we planned Sam's funeral and his obituary...when the baby monitor picked up the cyclic whooshing of the air mattress pump so well that the noise nearly drove me crazy...

Overall, though, it was a beautiful day. 

At the beginning, Sam was so frail and weak that he barely made it to my car with his walker. It was a demonstration of enormous resolve that he continued to walk when he was barely able to move one foot in front of the other and had such dizziness that he could scarcely see. As he crawled into the car and sank into the leather seat I thought, "This is what tough looks like."

He says his tongue doesn't work and he can't eat, but Sam managed to get a bowl of ice cream down, as well as several Boosts. By the end of the day, his skin wasn't as pasty, his smile was back, he was speaking more, and he was a little stronger. He could get to the bathroom and back to the bed without staggering (well, not as much staggering). He wasn't as short of breath.

Late yesterday afternoon, Sam was seated in the same recliner my Mama occupied five years ago. Same exact spot. He looked over at the hospital bed and back at me. "I never thought I'd end my life in a place so nice." It was all I could do not to weep. This is what grace looks like. Unmerited favor, for both of us. 

I'm tired this morning, but content to know that we've done what I promised I'd do back in 1989: Take care of Sam and let him stay here on the farm as long as he lives. 

We're both grateful for the outpouring of love and prayers. We're so grateful for all those who have called, texted, emailed, and come by. For those who have done some of the myriad of tasks I haven't had time to do. For all those who will help us along this way.

I can't do this alone and I'm grateful I don't have to...thank you all. This beautiful international digital community has become family to me and I'm grateful to be a part.

I'm not doing anything special. I'm doing what we're all called to do: loving our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. 

Today, please keep praying for us. It's the only way we'll make it through. 

But don't just pray; do more...look around and see which neighbor God has assigned to you. Who should you love as you love yourself? For whom should you lay down your life? 

Obedience is hard, but it's always worth it.

"Great love hath no one than this, that on lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When the Time to Move Finally Comes

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#sam #loveyourneighbor