Under the cold grey skies of late January my Father left his weary body behind and with one final breath, he was gone. It was kind of him to leave in the dreary days of winter.
The weather provided ample excuse to stay in and rest my heavy heart.
The last days of his life had taken it’s toll on me….
The others had surrendered to exhaustion and the house was quiet when I heard his soft scream. The sound of that cry still haunts me. I woke up trying to figure out where I was in the darkness. I groped my way to his room. By the second scream I was at his side.
Our eyes met.
“I’m here sweetheart”.
He nodded his head. No words needed. His eyes told me he knew help was coming. The stoic old soldier quieted himself. His many years of suffering had forged a patience known only by a few. His courage in life and in death are indescribable.
My bare feet hit the floor running. The morphine was in the refrigerator!
I wiped out rounding the corner to the kitchen, slipping on water that had spilled over the dog’s water bowls. With a move that was worthy of a professional wrestler, I body slammed the rock hearth and hit the floor with a loud boom. I would have gotten some medical attention but I knew time was short…within 32 hours he was gone.
It is a comfort to know that he is now at rest, at peace in the presence of God. However; there is an unspeakable horror in seeing the man I so dearly loved writhing in pain, trapped in a body that refused to give up life easily.
Whatever reserves I had were fully spent.
At first it was good to be alone. I put myself to bed. I took long soaks in the tub. Slowly the fog began to clear.
When my friend Jan asked me when I had eaten last, I couldn’t remember. She called in a few minutes to tell me to expect food to be delivered later that day.
It took effort to dress but when Rebecca showed up with home made soup, cupcakes and kind words laced with genuine love, it was more than worth it.
I took a bowl of soup and a cupcake and crawled back in bed.
That’s when I went on my HGTV marathon.
Armed with soup, crackers, Pringles, chocolate , my journal, my favorite pen and lots of toilet paper (I’d blown through the boxed tissues the first 2 days home), I crawled back to bed.
I had no immediate plans to ever leave.
Grief has many faces. I wasn’t alarmed as I wafted from tears, to sorrow, then to anger, to acceptance, then back to anger and on and on emotions swirled like tempest waves on stormy seas.
“Designed to Sell” came on. Where the heck do they get the assemble-it-yourself living room sets for $300?
I watched them work. The effort. The many hands. The time. The mistakes.
When the camera is off, the crew is left to work behind the scenes- ah but such is the bargain of “some assembly required”.
It’s the same thing with people.
All of us have a place uniquely designed by a creative genius, God.
The bargain is obvious!
Sins- completely covered- price to me? Free!
Freedom- cost? Charged to Christ.
Well, I could go on and on with the metaphors but there is one big caveat.
Some Assembly Required!
You simply can’t get it together any other way!
This is the task delegated to the local fellowship. Or, you can stay in the box, never to know or fulfill your full potential.
A lady friend once told me she was quite happy in her religious box until I came and kicked the sides out…..it was one of the nicest things ever said to me!
So….what happens in assembly?
You get touched!
Yes! In the presence of God, whether through a song, a message, a hug…it takes being touched to come out of “the box”.
You get turned!
The way you were in “the box” is rarely the way you are set up for use.
You get connected!
God will join you to other “parts” of similar or complimentary purpose.
You will be used!
Just as a couch is designed to be beautiful in the space it’s intended for, it also gives rest to the weary…. after it’s assembled.
Ah, yes! In God’s house there are many beautiful wonders.
Some for exclusive use for special occasions. Often these are fragile, gorgeous and priceless.
Some can be used in many ways, multi-purpose and tough enough to stand up to daily wear and tear.
Oh sure, some are used more than others! Take the little used crystal vase. It spends a lot of time on the shelf, but when the Master of the house sends His beloved a gorgeous fragrant bouquet of flowers for no other purpose than to show His love for His bride, there’s no comparing the beauty of the sun kissing the perfectly clean, polished cuts to contain that beauty and reflect the light. We are all useful….the hardy, the fragile, the new, the old.
We are all important to God.
We all have a glory to be revealed.
We all have the opportunity to get out of our proverbial box and to become fully useful!
So, I laid down my remote control and drove my weary soul to church.
Can God speak through HGTV? Of course He can, and HE did!
As soon as I walked into Grace House, my local fellowship here in the Shoals of Alabama…..
I was touched!
I was turned!
I was connected!
I was even used! A kind lady told me just yesterday that I said something to her…it had made a big difference, she said it gave her hope…it…helped.
Connected – by bonds of love welded in the fires of adversity.
Turned- away from the fake responces when asked how I was doing, I never said, “I’m fine”, I told the truth….”I’m a mess”.
Touched-by loving friends ,kind words, music, the message…deeply touched in places of my heart that only the Spirit can reach.
Sure, it feels safe in the box. It’s…familiar. Don’t settle for the confines of a dull cardboard life! God has designed a good plan for us! However; there is…..
Some Assembly Required!!!!!