GROWING IN: GENTLENESS
A few months ago, my strong, able bodied father had an attack on his health that left him in a fight for his life. One night, early in the battle, my phone rang around 11:30 and my heart fell to my stomach as I imagined the worst. I was almost relieved when a young nurse informed me that someone needed to come and sit with my dad. That my gentle and kind father was being combative, wouldn't stay in bed and was hallucinating. She called it “Sundowners”. We would call it tripping. He was drastically overmedicated.
I sat by my dad’s bed all night long while he tried a hundred different tactics to get out of bed. To go “upstairs to bed”, to go “check on the game”, to go “into the other room and watch TV”. Wherever his hallucinations were taking him in those moments.
I kept begging him to stay in bed but he couldn't understand. My hero dad looked at me with accusing eyes and said “Why won’t you let me get up?” “Why are you making me stay here?” And I just kept whispering to him how much I loved him, and saying that I know he doesn't understand, but please, please hold onto my hand and trust me.
As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time praying that night. In the midst of it, I had the realization of living the most simple picture of God’s love for us, for me. That sometimes we find God in the crashing waves of an endless ocean, but sometimes when the world is upside down, when our hero is in a fight for his life, we just need to rest in the gentle arms of Jesus.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28:29)
As I whispered “trust me” to my dad, Jesus hovered near me, whispering to me how much he loved me, and saying that he knows I don’t understand, but “please, please hold onto my hand and trust me.“
Thankfully, my dad made it through that night. He doesn't remember much of it, but I will never, ever forget any of it.
I am painfully aware that one day the outcome will be very different. That the only comfort of my father’s hugs will be those of my Heavenly Father. Until then, I will rejoice in the gentle love of both my earthly and my Heavenly Father with gratitude.