Ok, that’s not exactly how it happened. I was at the home of someone who had just died, waiting for more of the family to arrive. One of those who had been there throughout the morning offered a bag of grapes to one who just arrived.
“Try these. You haven’t had grapes until you’ve had one of these!”
Those must be some grapes, I thought. I didn’t try one – they weren’t offered to me. The person’s suggestion that these were indeed the best grapes in her memory caught me, though. In the midst of all the emotions that come with the death of a parent, her conviction regarding the goodness of these grapes was a little mind boggling.
My mind immediately went to this piece someone had shared with me recently. People (usually) invite other people to church for the very same reason this woman was so eager to share her experience with the best grapes she had ever had.
Can you and I make room in our understanding of other people’s experiences for this?
One of the ways I have the most trouble accepting this is when someone suggests something I “should read.” How do they know what I should read? Do they think I don’t believe correctly, or that I think wrongly about something, and this book or that article will correct me?
Or maybe they want to share something that has really touched, moved, or helped them.
What has made a difference for you lately?
Is it worth sharing?
It has been almost a month now, Dad, since you peacefully left behind your struggles with Parkinson’s. The thing I’m having the most trouble getting past, Dad, is you were too young to die.
I know 78 is pretty average, but you were always healthier than average. You told me of a physical you had at 70. Observing the results of your blood workup, your doctor said you had the numbers of a man in his 20s.
Then came Parkinson’s. I hate Parkinson’s. I don’t know how you felt though, to be losing your focus, memory, awareness of the world and people around you. I don’t know how aware you were of your lack of awareness. Ever since I spent an evening without short-term memory when I was 19 (the consequence of putting my head through a windshield), I have been aware of the extreme frustration of, in effect, knowing what you don’t know.”
But, Dad, you almost always seemed fairly peaceful, or at least calm, in your confusion. I don’t know if this was because you weren’t aware of the changes, or if, as I suspect, you always were calmer about things that I feel I am. I suppose I’ll be able to ask you about all that someday.
I had my annual physical this morning, Dad. Dr. says I am healthy – in some ways very healthy for a man of 50. I would feel more peace about that if I weren’t very, very aware now that even health doesn’t mean prolonged years.
Your example, Dad, helps me understand Jesus’ teaching about not laying expectations and hope on years or wealth or possessions. None of us really knows how long we have, do we?
The last several times I’ve visited my dad he has been unable to respond in any way more than a tremor of the mouth or a twitch of an eyebrow. I talk to him anyway, not knowing whether he hears or understands or not.
I’ve never been particularly good at speaking in ways my dad understood. I always had a penchant for questions he couldn’t answer. Too often, this was calculated on my part.
I got my sense of humor from my mom. Thus, when I would hit dad with snappy questions or drop rhetorical bombshells in front of him, I would get a chuckle and a slight shake of his head.
We developed the kind of relationship where, more often than not, less than a minute into our phone conversation, he would say, “Do you want to talk to your mom?”
In these recent years, I decided that he was aware his mind wasn’t what it used to be. That he had trouble keeping things straight or following a conversation.
If I had any of those years to do over again, a little of me now wishes I would have talked to him differently; more on his terms than on mine.
These last couple of visits, I’ve been different. I’ve held his head, massaged his feet, anything I could think of that might bring him some comfort. Like most of my life, I don’t know for sure if it makes much difference to him, but I do it anyway. Now I do these things not because I am comfortable doing them, like the way I used to talk to him, but because I hope that, even a little, they are good for him.
Please understand: I don’t remember ever having any doubt of my father’s love for me. And I am not beating myself up now for not living better in it. More, I think, reflecting on a life I too often took for granted.
Today is All Saints Day. One day set aside in the Christian Year to remember the saints, the “great cloud of witnesses” who have gone before us. One day to remember that their lives, their testimonies, their witness have played a role in who we are, and in what the Christian faith is today.
Does it matter which bible verse it is?
Would you buy Christmas cards with Matthew 27:5 inside?
The Christian faith to which our forbears, the “saints” in “all saints” call and invite us, toward which their lives draw us, certainly is about something deeper and more profound than a sticker declaring there is a “Bible verse inside” could possibly indicate.
May we all remember the saints today. The saints, that is, who make up the great cloud of witnesses. The same writer who gave us the “cloud of witnesses” phrase tells us that their point is to help us get rid of the sin that traps us, to lay aside distractions, and to follow Jesus.
May we remember them today in ways that form our lives to someday be remembered with them.
I don’t know if “colonoscopic” is actually a word, but go with me here….
First, let me admit that I wasn’t actually alert when the Dr. came out to talk with me following my procedure. Awake, apparently, but I have no recollection of it.
I was told I could wait for him to finish the next procedure and talk to me again, but that was my choice. There was no news; come back in 10 years, they told me.
I decided that if they thought I was good to go, who was I to argue? So I got dressed and got a ride home.
Second, for all of you who warned me how bad the preparation for a colonoscopy would be, I have one word.
I understand that you may have had to drink a gallon of some vile liquid that you couldn’t stand. I drink two separate doses – 5 ounces each – at least 5 hours apart. Each was to be followed by five 8 ounce glasses of water. 40 ounces might be a challenge for some, but it’s easy for me.
So: I apologize to any and all of you who had to down a gallon of putrid stuff. The Prepopik I was prescribed actually tasted good.
The day of liquid diet was not great. The morning before the procedure felt long and less than comfortable, but bearable. An hour after the procedure, I felt perfectly normal.
Generally, colonoscopies are recommended at age 50. Depending on family history, your doctor may recommend one sooner. Either way, whenever, the screening is worth it.
I am getting a colonoscopy today. I’m only telling you this hoping that it may encourage someone else to get a colonoscopy as well. I do not intend to share graphic details with you. I do not expect they will let me take pictures or run video during the procedure.
People with no family history of colon cancer are supposed to get there first colonoscopy at around age 50. I turn 50 earlier this month. On my birthday, I called to begin the process of scheduling a colonoscopy.
My doctor wanted me to schedule an appointment to meet before the procedure. During the session my doctor told me that 26 percent of people with no family history or experience of colon issues have a polyp or other concern found during a colonoscopy. This shows how incredibly important it is that you and I (when we reach the age at which a colonoscopy is recommended) should have a colonoscopy performed.
I will let you know tomorrow how it went.