Sunday, November 12, 2017

Thanking God and Thanking You


I don't have a word burning with passion that demands to be written today. Instead, I simply want to say thank you. You loved Sam well, and you grieved along with me. In so doing, you loved and blessed me more than you'll ever know.

Yesterday, I saw a friend from church when we were eating lunch at a local restaurant. "I've been keeping up, and I'm still praying for you," Kim assured me. It was all I could do to say thank you. I wanted to weep with gratitude.

Your prayers have mattered more than you know. In truth, they've mattered more than I expected. I'm so grateful. Thank you.

Your physical help has been invaluable. From visiting Sam, singing to him, reading Scripture to him, and introducing him to spray whipped cream (thank you Jerry and Sonya Iverson for that joy) while he was still in my home, to visiting, washing his face, kneeling at his bedside, singing to him, and sitting with him while I was gone, you've done what I could never have done alone. You've loved him and treasured him in tangible ways he understood. 

Sam felt loved, because he was.

I've received so many comments on posts, texts, emails, calls, and offers of help that I'm humbled and stunned. I can't begin to reply to them all, but I've read and treasured every one. Friends have shown up at my home to help with tasks they knew were needed but I could barely begin to accomplish. Again, I'm so grateful.

Ryan has been home since Thursday evening. It's been like the balm of Gilead to have him here. We've laughed, remembered, and begun to look toward a life without Sam. 

Ryan said, in his eulogy at Sam's funeral, "I don't remember a time without Sam because he's been there every day of my life. . . I told the people at work I was going home for my Grandfather's funeral." That's what Sam was for Ryan: A constant in his life. The grandfather my daddy would've been if he'd lived to see and know Ryan. 

Tomorrow, I'll attend the memorial service for my decades-long friend who taught me that an ordinary person like me could be a writer. He cheered me on from a distance, even when his writing career took a long pause. I hadn't seen him in years, but he often emailed me encouragement for a line well-written or a post that touched his heart. 

His tragic death is one more blow that, added to Sam's dying, seemed like too much at once. It's not. Today, both he and Sam are whole and rejoicing at the throne of God. They're with their much-loved wives and families and their long-served Lord.

Tuesday, I'll resume my "normal" life. I'll go back to the office, open my computer, and start emailing missionaries again. I'll work on prayer projects and plan for upcoming speaking engagements. I'll make a start on a mountain of thank you notes that are long overdue. 

More passionate blog posts will come, but none will be more heartfelt than the thanks I offer today. You've been the hands and feet of Christ to me, and you've helped our Lord carry Ryan and me through this very hard time. We're eternally grateful to God and to you.

Though expressions of gratitude vary from one language to the next, the meaning is still the same, and equally heart-felt. May God bless you for the love and generosity of spirit you've shown to us.

Shukraan. Merci. Gracias. Grazie. Thank you.

"I thank my God every time I remember you." Philippians 1:3 NET Bible
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In case you missed the last post, here's the link: Caregiver Chronicles: True Success: Living Like Sam