The Good, The Bad, The Ups & Downs
The good, the bad… The ups and the downs… I cleared my schedule at the beginning of November when I found out my brother was terminally ill. I was in the midst of finals and preparing for graduation from Bible School as well as Ministry Ordination. I was overwhelmed but it was clear that my priorities had to change. I drove back and forth from San Antonio to Dallas for several weeks while my brothers condition was being stabilized. I had classes to finish and a thesis to write and extremely emotional from the shock of my brothers sudden deterioration.
Was this a case of when it rains it pours? Or was this my opportunity to see the sustaining grace and power of God rush in like a flood? I sat with my brother day after day watching him battle for his life. We cried, we fought like we did when we were kids and then we laughed about it.
I wondered if I should become his caregiver because his circumstances were not sustainable. I prayed and asked God what I should do? The answer was simple, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There was no one else who could care for him and what I thought I couldn’t do became a sudden pleasure. Within a few weeks he was stable enough for me to bring him to Dallas. I found a wonderful caring place where we could watch his days come to an end. It was sad but beautiful, it was his end but somehow hope-filled. I had the pleasure of spoiling him a little with foot rubs, back scratches and head massages which seemed to ease his pain for a moment. I made late night runs for food that he wasn’t supposed to have… but I just couldn’t say no.
I wrote my thesis in a hospital room and prepared for a different holiday season. The week of graduation and ordination approached and I prayed fervently that my brother would okay during my short absence. The minute I took off my cap and gown I rushed back to his side and I could see his condition had worsened. The nurse came and said he’s not looking good, I could tell. It was a long night but we were still able to talk about love, forgiveness and the hope that we have when we slip from this life into the loving arms of Jesus.
We talked about how to overcome the fear of dying with complete trust that eternity, life after this life is real. We prayed as I sat on the floor looking up at him while he sat on the side of his bed in the grueling pain that we couldn’t seem to control. I thought to myself, God, I don’t like watching someone go down in such agony. He assured my heart that I again was the one chosen to walk this path with him. Sometimes I felt like a coach training someone who is weak in their body to become strong in their faith.
The sun came out the next morning on December 12th reminding me of God’s ongoing faithfulness but I could tell we were facing another downward turn. Several family members stopped by and he seemed more stable. Everyone left and it was just me and him again. I was rubbing his head and telling him what a pleasure it’s been to take care of him when he suddenly seem to fade and then took his last breath. I laid my head on his chest and cried as I had to let him go, trusting God with him now.
I can’t begin to tell you the under-girding power that sustains us during difficult days but it was clear I was being carried through. You may face similar times when you have to trust God with multiple issues going on in life that are good, bad and emotional; but God is faithful to carry you through. No matter what you have to let go of from this past year trust God and let go. Embrace the fresh start of the New Year to take everything you’ve learned and become a better you as a result.