WORDS FROM W.W. October 28, 2009
“Wishing I Was There”
Living in Colorado has its benefits (Except today as I look outside at the snow that is falling. Snow in October just isn’t right!) I step out my front door each morning and gaze at Pike’s Peak. I love the low humidity, and the significant drop in the mosquito population compared to Michigan. God has opened up doors for me to coach basketball at the middle school and high school just a couple of blocks away from our house. There is a lot of upside to life in “these neck of the woods.”
The downside is separation from my mom and dad, sister and brother, and attached uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews. It’s especially hard these past couple of years as my mom and dad have experienced so many hospital stays they almost have had a room named after them.
It’s a “deep aching from a distance.” Distance creates anxiety and uncertainty. It also has a way of putting a pinch of guilt into the recipe. I’m proceeding with my life, my ministry, my day-to-day routines even as my mom and dad are facing daily struggles. There’s something unsettling about that.
In the unrest of this week’s struggles from southern Ohio, I got on-line to see about getting a quick flight in from Colorado Springs to Columbus. The price, although hefty, didn’t drive me away. It was the way I would have to get there. Immediate need is not a good situation. I would have had to fly from Colorado Springs… to Houston… to Charlotte…to Detroit…to Columbus. A delay at any of those would have cooked my goose…the non-flying kind!
The immediate concern is my mom’s deteriorating memory and mobility. (My sister said Mom asked her where “Billy Dean” was yesterday- a name she hasn’t called me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.) And in the midst of that situation, my dad’s servant spirit is taking its toll on him. He has had significant cardiac issues, but his wife of 62 years has needs that he can’t- and doesn’t want to- be blind to.
Thank God that my sister and brother-in-law live right down the street! They are a part of the daily battles of confusion, emotional breakdowns, and physical ailments that Mom is having.
Meanwhile I can only offer that I wish I was there. I took some solace reading in several of the Apostle Paul’s letters that he felt some of the same aching and desires. For example he told the believers in Colossae “For though I am absent from you in the body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” (Colossians 2:5) To the Thessalonians he wrote “…When we were torn away from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. (1 Thessalonians 2:17) In most of Paul’s writings that sense of longing echoes from the pages.
Distance is difficult, and it has taken me a short distance…from standing to kneeling.
It’s amazing how the episodes of our lives can keep driving us to our knees.
An almost-dad praying for his expectant wife and child that she is precariously carrying in her womb.
A mom praying for her son who is heading to Afghanistan.
A child praying for his dad to arrive home safely in the midst of a winter storm.
A church praying for renewal.
A friend praying for his buddy who is spiritually distant.
And so even though the aching is still deep, I go to my knees for my mom and my dad.