The room in the hospital in Abilene, TX, was large, with space for the bed, a sofa and chairs for those who waited.
After the Hospice charge nurse quietly arranged her now shrunken body, her husband went and slowly, softly caressed her face, kissed her lips, said something to her that I couldn't hear, but she did because she moved her face toward him. Husband and daughter resumed their vigil, waiting for a wife and mother to be released from the grip of this world.
He showed me the photo of his wife taken 65 years before. He had always kept it in his wallet, still unmarred from the years. He told me that in their living room their recliners were side by side and they always held hands and when they went to bed they would hold hands until they fell asleep. But his hand would soon be empty.
A few short days later people came to the funeral home to pay their respects to her and to him. The next day was a burial, a family meal hosted by the church and then a memorial service.
As he was getting ready to leave the church and return home, alone, he said, "Please tell everyone thank you for all they have done for us. We appreciate it very much."
Dying and death come at inconvenient times, interrupting life. Yet, I have become convinced it is at precisely those times that one can see firsthand Christian Graces. Walking with the real people as death interrupts their living, by listening, preparing a meal, or crying with them. There is more Kingdom work done in hospital rooms, funeral homes and burial services than in most Worship services.
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