It started out to be a nice, typical, Sunday for us here at home. First, we attended church which is always such a blessing to us. A time of much needed spiritual nourishment with the word, and returning to our heavenly Father due praises through prayer and song. The fellowship is simply a great blessing thrown in because God loves His people to be together.
We returned home where I spent some time on a current project for the church library. Don went about the business of grocery shopping. As he loves to cook, he is most comfortable perusing the aisles of the grocery store. It was upon his return home that things took a bit of a turn, a turn that is increasingly becoming the ‘norm’. Not a very welcomed ‘norm’ at that, I might add. It was time for Don to head out for his regular Sunday afternoon visit with his Dad at the nursing home.
A few hours passed and Don returned home with the usual bit of news from the family members who had also gone to visit Dad. Don’s demeanor was a bit more subdued but that has also turned out to be the ‘norm’ following these Sunday visits. He told of Dad’s continued decline in health, with particular emphasis on his worsening dementia and cries and groans of pain. There are no words to aptly describe what a child goes through upon seeing their once vibrant, healthy, spiritually blessed parent slide slowly down an abyss of fragmented memories from years long passed, mixed with an occasional glimpse of familiarity to current surroundings and family. I sit, but only listen. My parents passed many years ago and in the prime of their lives. I know nothing of what it feels like to go through this. I am a bystander who can only offer a listening ear and to be there for my husband as he walks this long journey.
Evening was now upon us and we decided to have our daily prayer time. I have been so blessed to have Don so aptly able to come before the Lord with prayers and supplications. While my focus is almost always on the prayers he’s lifting up, I must admit to sometimes straying off to my private prayer of thanks to God for being blessed with such a wonderful man to call my husband. Anyway, I must have been drifting a bit too much because I noticed that Don had stopped praying. My eyes remained closed and I thought that he might have been going over the list of prayer concerns such as the calendar of missionaries we pray for, or the updated prayer requests from the church, or the compiled list of family and friends that need to be lifted in prayer in one way or another. I noticed that as we continued holding hands in prayer, Don’s grip was getting tighter and tighter. His palms were also becoming sweatier. Was that trembling I felt? I opened my eyes to glance over at him and there he was, face turned slightly away, tears streaming down his face. I asked him if he was okay (which clearly he wasn’t) and he cried, “No.” Then it came out. Tears that had started quietly were now those of a man sobbing. These were the tears of a man grieving for a parent who only wants this earthly life to end and his heavenly one to begin. These were the tears of a son who watches his father suffer in pain and agony as he fights to find out why the God he loves so much would allow him to continue− the cry of every Job in the midst of suffering while not understanding life’s meaning for it all.
Don tried his best to gain his composure but did so only after time was allowed to pass. Sadly, I wish I could say this was the first time Don has experienced this but it is not. I can assuredly say it probably won’t be the last time either. While the prayers Don speaks regarding his Dad are heartfelt, I believe that in unspoken fashion, he, too, wishes that God would bring to an end the misery, loneliness, pain and anguish that his Father feels. I know he must pray most deeply that his Dad would find that eternal rest that has been promised him, to finally receive the immortal, heavenly body that would know joy, peace and immeasurable happiness. To finally see his heavenly Father face-to-face … the reward most desired. No one could find fault with a prayer like that.
Why does Don’s Dad need to suffer so? Why, with so few mental faculties left, would his life be extended even one more day? What earthly reason could there be when it seems one has done all that there has been to do? As my title says, ‘No Human Answers’! The whys of it are not to be known in this lifetime and that’s a hard thing to accept. What we must accept is that our Father in heaven still looks down on his child, especially in all his frailness, and loves him and cares for him. One day Don’s Dad will walk down streets ‘like gold’ and know the Father who loved him his entire life. Speaking out loud what lies in the hearts of this man’s loved ones, “The race is almost over, Dad. Well done. “