Last Sunday, I shared how generally pissed off I was with God. If I learned anything from marriage counseling a dozen or so years ago, it’s that arguing isn’t a bad thing. In fact it’s healthy. It’s how you argue that matters. Do you argue to hurt, or to be heard? Do you listen as well as assert?
On Christmas, Maureen Dowd published a column about losing her friend Robin and Father Kevin O’Neil’s meditation on dying.
I underlined two of Father Kevin’s phrases in particular:
“A life of faith is often lived ‘back and forth’ by believers and those who minister to them.” and…
“What I do know is that an unconditionally loving presence soothes broken hearts, binds up wounds, and renews us in life. This is a gift we can all give, particularly to the suffering.”
Back and forth, that’s me. At times in my life, I have felt the presence of God directly. I have asked him for what I want and need, although perhaps he heard the longing of my soul even more than my words. And He answered. At other times, we have been estranged. And recently, we’ve been fighting.
Although it appears Dad is not going to rally – as he has time and time again – he is comfortable, and I am settling in to his new reality and mine.
As friend Jim says, “So glad you are ‘turning it over’. Remember, the descent (which I prefer to call the path to ascent) is like going down steps of a stairs. Sometimes one by one, and sometimes several. Nothing you can do about this but be present and loving. It is nature and his human body with his spirit trying to discard it so it can move forward.”
A prayer, then:
Help me, God, to be fully present
Help me to feel calm so that I can calm my Dad
Help me to radiate so much love that it warms him to his toes
Help me to support the others who love him on this awful journey
Help me to understand
Help me to love