|Front: Robert, Mary, Mom and Dad; Back: Susan, Bill, and Don about 1967...oh, the hair-do's of the day...|
Originally, the family had five children, who became five adults. Once a year a few of them would manage to meet together from the reaches of Pacific to Atlantic. Robert was the stalwart lynch pin who lived near the "folks", told the stories, and looked forward when the others returned.
Then Robert died, at age 46.
"Coming home" was now a different matter. The siblings felt the absence of this brother.
There was one who never came home; never--well, seldom. Once in ten years, and then another time a few years later. That was Bill.
When Bill died, there were only three left: Donald (the eldest and now only brother), Susan (the pushy middle child) and Mary (the youngest and most stubborn). Don was the one who helped Robert in his last days, since he lived only 90 miles away. He helped the folks in their grieving. He flew to Louisiana to bring Bill "home" to be buried.
When our mother was dying, Don was there almost every day, holding her hand, taking care of her wishes.
Don is now the lynch pin. This is what he recently wrote to me, and he has given me permission to publish it. God bless this man, my oldest brother, my friend.
Had an emotional day which started three weeks ago with (grandson) Aaron’s confirmation service. If you saw my Facebook entry, there is a picture of Aaron kneeling at an altar wearing a stole he made in the course of class activities. His pastors have their hands on him, and he is surrounded by his mom and dad. What a moment; they call on God to bless Aaron in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I worship with them after my (ministerial) time at Loami Church. I constantly hear from my friends of the contributions of Jeremy and his family to the community of faith. One senior citizen told me of a conversation with Aaron, which was closed with Aaron saying, “I will pray for you”. Jeremy plays his trumpet in the praise band. During the sermon he sits with me. This is no play-acting, but real discipleship is lived out in their lives.
Three weeks ago I wrenched my back at the lumbar 5 and 6. This time was the worst pain I have ever felt. I got meds for pain and still went to the hospital for relief.
I became depressed. Every move hurt. Muscles spasms kept relief at bay.
I suffered through our Loami Church breakfast, only to have a slight mishap on the way to the platform. A church member helped and moved a chair to the center of the platform from which I led the service. After my concluding blessing, a member gathered everyone to the front and then “laid hands” on me, with voice supplications for healing. What a moment!
So I went straight home, and with an hour to kill, I read your blogs.
Your description of grief over our brother Bill, and the consolation offered by your granddaughter really overwhelmed me. All I have experienced in the last month was felt in that verbal visual of a child holding you until you feel better.
We wonder why we suffer, and theology gives me the answer. The difference between being a victim or a victor is defined in the moments you and I have shared on this page. Somewhere in the experience is an awareness of LOVE, ill-defined by language, theology, or any human description. But it is made sharp by faith: we have seen the face of God.
|The Lynch Pin|