Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Spirit Said Stop At Home

On Tuesday morning I had the sudden, irrepressable urge to go to my parents house.  The reason, I thought, was to grab a notebook that I kept when I was in high school.

The notebook was a collection of poetry I wrote, and some of my favorite poems by others.  I was starting a few lessons on poetry in my classroom and wanted to share my passion with my students.

I didn't have to be to work until a little later than normal as I was interviewing students that day and had a substitute so I knew I had the time to make coffee and stop at my parents.  I decided not to check my email, like I normally do, and instead head straight there to try and catch my dad before he headed off for work.

I pulled into my parents driveway and headed to the basement where I knew my parents would be.  Dad had already left so it was just my mom there and we chatted about my meeting with my VP the day before, my plans for the day, and my observation the next morning.  I told her what I was looking for and set to work digging around in my boxes still at my parents to find it.

As I was headed out the the family room area to sit down after finding them my mom asked me if I had gotten her message.  I didn't think anything of it when I told her that I hadn't.  She grabbed her iPad, opened something and handed it to me.  She said, you should read this.

The message was from my Uncle and it was saying that tests were no longer going to be performed on my Grandmother.  That she isn't following recommendations for her care, so PT and testing will cease. We will focus on quality versus quantity when it comes to her care.  It didn't really hit me what that meant.  Not really.  I know she is very ill and has been for some time.  Parkinson's is taking it's toll on her body more quickly and cruelly these days.

She no longer holds her head high and shoulders back as she so often told me to.  She rises only with the help of others and walks with a shuffle in her step and the aid of a solid arm and shoulder.  Stairs are no longer an option and she is embarrassed to eat in the presence of others.  While the physical grace may be gone, she is still one of the most graceful women I know.

My mom knows that I don't want to get left out of the loop on news like this with my family.  It's happened before.  Looking back on that morning I realize that the Holy Spirit was moving.  It was telling me to go to my parents house.

I headed to work with an extra weight on my heart that could not yet be defined.

I went through the day at work having a great time interviewing students, chatting with colleagues, and getting some news about an opportunity for next year that I was thrilled about.  I headed back to my classroom at the end of the day to sit and get some work done.  It was at that moment that again I felt an undistinguishable urge to do something.

So it was then that I picked up my phone and sent a message to the team of people I work with at my church.  I mentioned that I wanted prayers for my family.  Prayers of grace for each other.  Prayers of comfort for my grandmother.  I shared something I didn't realize that I felt.  Guilt.  Guilt that I have not seen my grandmother enough in recent years.  That somehow I let life carry me away and it was easier to see her on holidays that drive down to visit her in her assisted living facility.

Later that afternoon, sitting in my overstuffed chair in my living room, I listened to a message from my pastor.  One that literally touched my soul and my spirit, breaking open something that I did not realize was inside me.

I pray that God gives you the gift of forgiveness for yourself… 
I pray that the guilt is able to leave you… 
I pray that the Spirit is gentle to her, but also to you as well.

I broke.  I felt the tears stream down my face before the message had finished.  I felt the cry welling up in my throat as I struggled to breathe.  I had been ill for days, the weekend was spent in bed so breathing was already tricky.  But with those tears pouring down my face I wasn't thinking about the pain of body.  Rather the pain in my heart.

I couldn't sit anymore so I got up, charged to my room, grabbed a pillow and cried.  Sobs racked my body and tears wet my pillow.  Black ribbons ran down my face.  I cried.  I cried for my grandma.  I cried for my dad.  I cried for his siblings.  And I cried for myself.  I cried for the memories.  I cried for the future.

The Spirit twice in one day.  That's what it has to be.  I don't know what else it could be or how else I could explain it.  It was my very own neon sign. The trail of fireflies guiding me down the path.

As I type this I remember that my word for 2014 is Grace.  I pray for grace for my family, and grace for myself in this moment.  And grace for you, whoever you are!

Remember that many things in your life can wait,
but telling those you love that you love them,
sharing love and extending grace,
and The Sunset Won't.


  1. o dear, time is difficult sometimes but its gonna be better again. i am sorry to hear about your grandmother.
    we all have days like these when we face things which put us down but then we shed it off and walk on. God is with you.
    Thank you for sharing a good prayer.

  2. Sorry to hear about your grandma, prayers for you and your family and Gods grace and peace.
    I needed that prayer myself. Thank you for sharing.


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