Grandpas are to Love

For as long as I can remember, I’ve experienced the gift of joy as I watch my father’s hands. They move effortlessly, beautifully, skimming over the ivory and onyx keys of his piano or an organ, or his keyboard. I listen to his soul-moving music, wondering how much longer I’ll hear it since he received the disheartening news.

He’s eighty-four, slender, and a little stooped now, yet he appears strong and healthy for his age.

My mind slips back to yesterday–except for a couple of God-given sunbeams–not a very happy day, yesterday.

So I’ll focus on the sunbeams.

It’s early afternoon. Dad and I sit together waiting to see the doctor, a specialist in hand surgery.

We’ll schedule needed surgery when we see him. Not a highlight of either of our lives.

Dad’s hands are healthy except for his right thumb. Cancer has staked its claim.

Today his hands are whole. In a week they won’t be whole any longer.

Several children are in the reception area as we wait to see the doctor.

Dad and I have big mushy hearts for children and the elderly.

Wherever I take my father, he attracts both. When I’m alone with him, our spirits mirror one another.  I have precious glimpses of his love for life and his joying in it.

He always gives others joy.

Especially children.

A tiny, chubby, cherub of a baby girl, maybe eighteen months old or so, walks all around, exploring the waiting room. She’s adorable with her light brown little face, big dancing brown eyes, and constant smile. She begins peeking at Dad, who watches her, sending her his own big smile.

I think she’s fascinated with his snow white beard.

It isn’t long before she pauses in front of him, gazes up at him.

She looks over at me, not quite seeming to know what he is or what to make of him.

I nod, and smile back at her sweet, inquisitive expression.

“That’s a Grandpa,” I tell her, “Grandpa’s are to love.”

She turns back to look at him, to study him for a few long seconds, then without a hesitant step, she toddles straight over to him.

Her little arms encircle his legs, and she lays her head-full of chocolate-colored curls right down on his knees in the dearest, gentlest hug I think I’ve ever seen.

Then, she raises her head to look up at him, and sends him another beautiful smile before she toddles off to her family.

Tears brim in my dad’s eyes.

Mine too.

What dear, precious, pure love! A hug for Dad—through her sweet little arms—from God’s own heart.

The stinging dread of what my father will have to go through—what he will miss—softens a little for me. I’m not sure what Dad thinks, but I’m praying.

On the way out, Dad stops to pass his good cheer to an elderly woman in a wheelchair. He pats her arm and gifts her with his words of encouragement.

I watch age-etched lines ease away with her smile.

The doctor is confident that he’ll go through this surgery just fine.

I am too.

God is with us, will strengthen and help us, and will uphold us.

We’re called to love–to love our heavenly Father with all our hearts, and others as ourselves.

With His help we can! ☺

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

Jesus answered the scribe, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Have you seen and experienced love personified recently?

Mini Epilogue

We had a lot to be thankful for. Dad did come through his surgery well, and he never stopped playing the piano. He’s with his beloved Lord Jesus now, after having lived four more years. I still miss him very much. Besides that precious baby girl, I think he was the best hugger ever.

Hug someone today!

Love,

 Sally  

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Be of Good Courage

The hallway of the nursing home settles into a soft hum of lessening noise with residents getting ready for bed.

A child of God, a woman, sits in her wheelchair, bound up in sadness and loneliness, her countenance etched with fear and tears. Head bowed, chin-to-chest, slender fingers white as she grasps the arms of her chair.

She rarely leaves her dim, quiet room and feels secure only within their enclosing walls. But Light shines through another, an old man with a snowy-white beard. He rolls his wheelchair down the hall and pauses at the open doorway of the woman’s room.

He doesn’t notice as a nurse motions for the aide with her not to interfere. But the two stand and watch as he slowly maneuvers through the doorway and stops alongside the woman, facing her.

For a moment, he simply sits quietly. Then he touches her arm.

His gentle hand stays in place as his still-sweet tenor voice permeates the silence and births music. A song swells from the depths of his heart and fills the room, chases out shadows, melts away loneliness.

Darkness lifts and vanishes before the Light.

Loneliness and isolation had covered a soul with the wide, black brush-stroked paint of fear.

Unpretentious love casts the radiance of His Light to bring moments of comfort—and a tenuous smile.

Two children of age, transformed by time’s passage, one drawn to the other through the heart’s essence of compassion.

Uninhibited, innocent love and mercy pour from a heart where Jesus lives.

♥♥
The nurses where my father stayed for a while shared the woman’s fears and described to me how they’d watched and what they’d seen as Dad visited her room.

In spite of his own suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia, he found a way to comfort her through the one gift he could give—a song.

♥♥

A tender song, a heartfelt prayer, a soft touch to a fearful or suffering child of God—if you give those small gifts, how do you know you aren’t bringing the Light of Christ into the world of another?
Watch for what God is doing. Heed the tiny urges to “go” and “do” that you sense in your spirit.

So, go there and do that, and don’t look back. Be encouraged in the knowledge that you’ve entered a dimension where God’s listening children work with Him Hand-in-hand.

Dad loved roses.

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.'” 1 Chronicles 28:20

Love,

Sally

Journey Into Joy

. . . so what is joy?

A feeling? an emotion? A sense that all is right with the world that we sometimes experience?

I think all of these.

But joy dives deep into our God-created being.

Joy reshapes expressions on faces. Joy flows from an artist’s brush, a vocalist’s solo. a musician’s instrument, or a little boy’s toy piano.

Joy makes your heart beat faster, sweeps you up into dancing, and hand-clappping and jumping for joy.

Joy fashions happy tears and frames itself in hugs that say “I love you too.” It’s in the tears that come while you’re reading or watching a scene so tender it literally squeezes those tears out of your heart of hearts.

Joy walks with you into a room to pray for another’s recovery, and though hundreds of others have prayed too, when he’s made whole again, just maybe you had a little part in God’s awesome answer.

Joy is laughter within a loving family with whom you simply revel in being near.

Joy is a good stretch after a sound night’s sleep.

Joy is bursting upward through the deepest of depths and finding God’s been with you through the entire scary trip.Joy is your best friend calling to sing Happy Birthday all the way through and wishing you the best year ever.

Joy is feeling better after you’ve felt so terrible.

Joy is walking a quiet trail with moss underfoot and wildflowers brushing your arms as you pass.

Joy is serving communion and seeing Jesus in the eyes of those who love Him.

Joy is stroking a service dog in training knowing one day she will lead instead of being led.

Joy is a long, unhurried hug from a three-year-old, her little arms around your neck and her sweet head nestled against your shoulder, that’s like no other hug, ever.Joy is knowing that you know you are beloved by your heavenly Father and are kept for everlasting life by Jesus and have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, forever.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace . . .” Galatians 3: 22

The dimensions and definitions of JOY are beyond number, but can you add a few more of your own?
I’d love for you to share them in a comment.


“Now may the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Love,

Sally

All scripture verses are from The New King James Version of the Bible

Wait!

We sit on weathered gray benches of rough-hewn pine worn smooth with use and age. Tiers of them are positioned to view a burbling, boiling cauldron of vaporizing turquoise liquid.

There must be close to a hundred souls here, seated or standing, wrapped in cold, late spring air.

Youth aren’t usually known for the fruit of patience, and the two groups of youth filling most of the benches are no exception. They’re waiting, antsy, talking, laughing, and bantering with each other and their counselors.

Some are from homes far away. We hear many different languages spoken, and faces from cultures different from our own, smile back at us.

A common reason brings us to this place. We want to watch this geyser reach for the sky.

“Does anyone know how long is it supposed to be before it erupts the next time?” I ask those who sit next to me.

There are some shrugs and head-shakes. But an attractive dark-eyed teen rubs her cold hands together, and replies with a grin “I don’t know for sure, but I just heard it should be in about fifteen minutes or so,”

Above us one of the groups blend their voices to sing “Happy Birthday” to an older counselor. We all applaud and wish him well. Next to us another group floods the chilly air with the same song for their friend, Rachel. Rachel covers her face with gloved hands in embarrassment. There’s more well-wishing and applause.

Time drags it’s feet, and another song begins. But this one’s different. “Jesus Loves Me.”

Hmmm, they’re more than just summer campers. And we learn that there are youth groups from churches in many other states around the country.

The songs become a gentle rivalry as one group attempts to outdo the other. They do “the Wave” then sing some more. And most songs bring back memories from my own church camp days. The songs lift up the Lord.

It becomes quiet for a moment. Then the crystal clear music from a single young voice graces the atmosphere with “How Great Thou Art.” Her group immediately joins in.

I can’t stop myself from singing along. Neither can most everyone else, and it becomes a time of worship and awe of God’s handiwork. I sense His arms around us. Jesus is here. This piece of time becomes a witness to those who don’t know Him.

The song ends, and immediately the music of the turquoise pool begins. Amazed at the timing, all of us draw in deep breaths of the icy air, watching as the heated bubbling waters roar upward in a crescendo of silver-white foam soaring skyward in leaping waves, one after another.

The heat permeates the cold air and creates a steamy cloud of vapor. Miniature tidal waves send liquid flooding over the multicolored edges of the crater. Our awe continues as the pool settles into another cycle of quiet.

Are you waiting for something right now?

Waiting for a geyser is one thing, but what about when you’re waiting for test results or for a change in your life or a baby, a new job, or simply peace of heart?

 Sometimes it isn’t easy.

“I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God” (Psalm 69:3).
“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5).

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20).
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7).

Here’s how God wants us to wait:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

And check out James 1:6, too.

I’d love for you to leave a comment.

The photo above is of Old Faithful. To see photo of Echinus Geyser erupting click here http://marlimillerphoto.com/Ig-65.html

 All scripture is from the New King James Version of the Bible.