Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Slice of Heaven

I've been posting bits and pieces on Facebook about my father-in-law and his passing last week. The first of the week, I thought how in the mid nineties, I'd walk at Buhl Park in the morning on days off. I worked per Diem, so I had more days off.
In the distance, three men often walked in front of me. I don't remember ever really catching up with them. The first one wore a ball cap and had that stocky walk of my father-in-law. The second, also had a ball cap and was just a bit taller than the first, reminding me of my dad. The last of the trio had soft wavy white hair, like Uncle Homer, Lyle's new brother-in-law. I would watch them conversing as they strode the road. I called them Lyle, Jerry and Homer.
I'm glad in a way, I never caught up to them. These three men portrayed the camaraderie of that generation to me. They could be swapping war stories or of how they got they bought their first car and house. Maybe a camping trip mishap could be thrown in. An earlier story of skinny dipping in the river, maybe could have been passed between them. If I had known the real men, I wouldn't have thought of the three I knew.
The week before Lyle died, I approached the park with Harrison and snapped pictures. The sunlight low in the sky flowing into the groomed lawn and trees always makes me think of Heaven. A slice of Heaven, I called the picture I took.
The picture in my mind of Lyle, Jerry and Homer, now all in Heaven, entered my mind's eye. Now, arthritis gone, gives them a smoother stride. I see them without pain of cancer or dementia, still offering words of wisdom and concerns of love. There are no days in Heaven, but the group may mix up at times, joined by Leon and Clark with Lyle and Dave and Bill with Jerry. Maybe the baby brothers they never knew are playing with them. I don't know Homer's family to imagine who would join him in strolls through the garden of Heaven.
In the midst of it all, Jesus joins and plays, too. Yes, Jesus plays. Remember on the road to Emmaus? He literally played hide-n-seek with those two men and disappeared when they recognized Him.
I also think there is work to be done in Heaven to prepare for the coming days. So maybe Jesus is calling now on Lyle's resourcefulness. He made a log splitter for only eleven dollars, because that is how much the hose he needed cost. They had everything else on hand.
Lyle darned his socks and a few grandkids' socks, too. Dad Lewis taught me crochet's beginnings, as he made chains. This generation didn't have much, but they earned everything they had. They also shared what they had and were generous with materials and wisdom and love.
Tears spring to my eyes. I cry for Dad Lyon and the loss of a generation. They seemed to touch the past more than we have. They lived with no electricity. Lyle talked of when horse and buggy outnumbered automobiles in Emporium. Outhouses more common than indoor plumbing. Gardens supplemented the table and a family member slaughtered a cow or pig for meat. Chickens beheaded for Sunday dinner.
They could tell the seasons to come by observing the trees, caterpillars and birds. They could feel immediate changes in the weather and prepare for that. They also showed no fear. I can't believe we didn't mention John Wayne, Dad Lyon loved his movies. I saw a quote by John Wayne today when shopping that summarizes this generation, Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.
Good bye to one more of the greatest, generous, gutsy generation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Death Paid a Visit

From my nursing home days:

                                                               Death paid a visit today
He was sudden, pushed the man over
He didn't stay,
Still the presence stalks the hallway.

Death lingers in the air
They're old, they're sick.
They lay in their beds
or sit in a chair.

They hear Death comes in three
and wonder is the next one “me.”

Death stalks the hallway
Looking in the rooms
for the infirm, the lonely
The one wondering will it be “me.”

Some bodies can't move
in a diseased grip
Yet even paralyzed, they feel pain

Others give up, missing loved ones
who died before
Wives, sisters, brothers, friends
Sometimes parents call from the other end.

They dwell on what's it like to die.
They ask me- I don't know.
What's it like to die in your sleep?
I don't know.

Some say peaceful.
I hope, but I don't know.

Do you know Jesus?
Yes, I believe in God.
But do you know Jesus?
I must ask. I must.

I scuttle away.
I don't want Death today.
I want life.
I want them to want life.

To live until they die.
I look for bright faces.
As they sit in their chairs
or lie in their beds.
I don't want to see despair.
When Death lingers in the air.
They let him play with their heads
as they lie in their beds.

Am I scared of Death?
No, I get mad as he plays.
He goes away for a while.
But then he stays.

Death, where is your victory?
Death, where is your sting?
I must remind them,
Jesus conquered the grave.

For your life He paid.
It's a threshold we step over.
Into their feeble ear,
I'll lean closely with words clear.

To reassure them; Life is best.
But in Jesus' love, trust and rest.

And that is why I'm in long term care.
God has left me there
To share a smile and a tear
and help some see this way clear.

I lost my path, I hated this path
with all its offenses.
They can be selfish, self-centered and
aggravating- worse than children

cause they have it no more to learn and retain.
They only know “me” as a refrain.
Yet sometimes love comes in a smile,
a hug, a thought for someone other than “me.”
They return to younger days,
before it was just “me.”

Help them. Help them to see,
the Jesus in me.
Jesus loves the little children.
You must be like a little child.

Give them back faith and sight to believe.
Jesus tells me to “Remind them of Me.”

“They may have heard of Me
in dusty old churches, or heavy incense,
rituals, recited prayers and beads.
Point them to Jesus, the Living,
Who takes away fear and loves them.”

Don't give up
don't focus on “me.”
Show them Jesus
living in “me.”

I'm tired now.
Let me sleep,
refresh me Jesus
to feed Your sheep.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wordless Wednesday, a Day Late

Forget the lines, I think BK makes better coffee than Micky D's. Mother's Day chill between patient visits. Sunshine, coffee and a dog named Harrison Ford Lyon.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Stronger Love

Stronger Love
Mollie Lyon

The adult child acts for self.
The mother loves without self.
The acts slam into her heart.
The mother wonders will the healing start?
The mother feels despair.
She's afraid to clear the air.
Each instance digs a hole more deep
Mother wonders why she can't weep
She wonders why she can sleep.
The secret comes
With the sun.
Mother's love never ends
The heart may break
But it mends.
Distance may grow
But child belongs
To the One above
The One containing a stronger love.
So she rests in that thought
With Christ's love they were bought.
He'll fight tougher
He'll fight longer
After her arms hold no more
His arms are stronger
As His love.
Hard to imagine
But there is a love stronger than a mother's.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Sweetness. She loves Harrison, her best friend.
My new picture for the year. The door of Hope. Things improved after the retreat.
I didn't have time to post this two weeks ago- hard to believe it was two weeks since my departure for When Words Count Writers Retreat. I couldn't pass this by. I only wish there was a way to capture the lilac smell.