|Photo: Ed Yourdon, Creative Commons, cc license|
She told me again. "My friend Art, he just commented on how peaceful it was to be around older people who had walked with God for a long time. 'There is a peace about them, a gentleness that just shines out from them. You want to be near them,' he told me. He enjoys spending time with my parents," my mom said, wiping her mouth.
She smiled, and lifted a fork with green olives and grated carrots from the salad into her mouth. I tried, and failed, to get crumbled goat cheese onto my fork.
Her bite finished, my mom spoke again. "He's right. I watch my mom and dad together. He holds her hand, helping her down hallways now, and patiently explains each time she forgets and asks a question again. There IS a peace and gentle kindness about them." She paused and chose another bite, pushing food around her plate unconsciously.
I watched her. This black-haired, blue-eyed Irish mom of mine who just returned from seeing her parents on the west coast, arriving straight from the airport to the hospital here where her husband awaited scary prognoses. And I saw it in her.
Mixed in with the uncertainty and the risk of painful loss was a peace that came from years of walking with her Creator. This peace didn't negate the valid fears, but it simmered and rode the waves, a constant in all change.
In hospital room 4550, four shuttered windows revealed city lights turning on outside and reflecting off the rain. We rubbed our hands with the sanitizing foam found everywhere, and walked inside. My dad sat upright in bed, his navy-striped gown tied in the back, revealing the colorful tattoo on his shoulder.
"Hello, handsome man!" grinned my mom, rubbing his shoulder and bending over to brush back silvery hair from his forehead.
She sat down and pulled out her slim blue Bible, creased on the edges. Opening it, she read silently, smiling at parts. My dad and I had read from Luke together earlier. "I love the gospels," he told me. "They are my favorite parts of the Bible right now."
There is a Peace that flows from men and women who have walked with God for a long time. I see it, and it draws me nearer. He draws me nearer too, actually, this One whose name is peace.
So, it's pancreatic cancer, friends. It was caught early and is only stage one, but it's scary. Sometime in the next few days, my dad will undergo a serious surgery for this and I'll join them often in the hospital. Join us in prayer, will you, please? Thank you, friends.