A few months ago, Uncle E called & asked if I would sing a special at church the next day (this was a Saturday afternoon). I said I would & immediately started thinking of what songs I could have ready the next day when he said, "Great! I'll be over in a minute with the CD for you." I was a bit shocked. He wanted me to learn a new song & sing it the next day at church? I've never attempted anything like that & was pretty sure it couldn't be done.
When he got here, he handed me the CD and told me the track number and said, "I heard this on the radio & it really made me think of your Grandma & Grandpa B. I really think it needs to be sung. Thank you so much for doing this." I flipped open the liner notes immediately understood. (The song is called Blessings & it's sung by a young woman named Laura Storey. If you've never heard it, at the very least, please click here & go read the lyrics.)
The song states, in a very simple way, that sometimes God's blessings do not come in the form we think they should. We want health, wealth, and happiness. We want instant gratification. We want our prayers to be answered in a specific way in our own personal timeline. God sees a much bigger picture.
Yesterday I went to visit with Grandma & Grandpa M&M. I hate to admit it, but I hadn't seen them in nearly a year. They only live 3 hours from us, and I would love to go see them on a regular basis, but it never seems to work out. This week end, Husband didn't have to work, no one was sick, and I had a truly free day so I got up early & headed out on my own.
Grandma fell last week and is "very colorful" as she puts it. She got tangled in a cord on Grandpa's hospital bed & went down hard. She fractured her elbow and bruised her hip, ankle and knee pretty badly.
Grandpa has been in the skilled nursing wing of the nursing home for a few months now due to a stroke. He's got a UTI at the moment & he's not very responsive. He also has vascular dementia. He knew who I was when I got there yesterday, but I know the day is coming when he won't. He stares blankly at you when you speak to him. He has long periods of time when he doesn't know what's going on. He is not happy about being separated from Grandma. He cannot care for himself. He cannot walk without falling. It is easy to see the unhappiness in his face.
As I was leaving Grandma's apartment yesterday she told me they were both ready to go. As heartbreaking as the thought is, I knew she was right. They've both lived long, happy lives. They have loved us, God, and each other completely. They know that life does not end here.
Last night I was really struggling with the thought of Grandpa being in the nursing home & fading away slowly. It's a horrible thing to watch someone you love lose bits of themselves every day. Its even harder seeing Grandma try to help him & knowing she can't really fix anything. Why doesn't God just take Grandpa to heaven now? Why is He letting him linger here where he's sad & sick & scared? In heaven, all this would be over. Grandpa would be perfect in a way he's never been here. Why can't that just happen now?
But then another thought came. Who is watching them as they sit together every day? Who sees her holding his hand and worrying over how his hair is combed? Who has heard Grandma mention how much God has blessed them? What lives have they touched? How many people have my parents and aunts & uncles come into contact with that they'd never have met otherwise? What kind of witness does my family have in this place so many think of as hopeless?
Sometimes blessings come with raindrops. Sometimes healing comes through tears. Sometimes a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know He's here. I'm not seeing the big picture. I'm only seeing out of the small window that is my life. Now I have to trust God to do what is best not only for my grandparents, but for the lives of those they're in contact with. In the end, this life is only a vapor & the few years of Grandpa's fading will be only a few drops in that vapor.
Until then, I'm holding onto His hand and the promise that this world is not my home, nor is it the home of those I love. We have been promised a perfect, eternal home.