We had planned cross-country skiing this afternoon but a call came in. Grand-uncle had fallen and broken a table. Eighty-six years old and in hospital now. We want to be there for him.
I grab a favorite vase and off we go for flowers first. I prune and arrange, then walk into his room, husband by my side. There he lay, wrinkled and pale, hands with tubes taped and running up to clear bags dripping.
And he’s shocked that we’re here. He really doesn’t want company because he’s so congested he can hardly get words out.
But we care and want to be there. We talk most so he doesn’t have to and, thankfully, we arrive as a nurse is trying to schedule the biopsy with him.
There’s a tumor—one behind his nose and one in his neck.
He knows. He knows he might be hearing the “C” word soon. And he admits. The worst news won’t be welcomed but it will be accepted. He’s ready. He knows his Maker.
Would I face the worst with such peace, such assurance, such grace?
I hope so.
I’m only 53. Does age make a difference? Do we reach a spot where we’ve lived enough, loved enough? Do we reach a space where it’s just fine to go home and we can let go of everything—in peace?
I place the flowers in front of him. Flowers should be given to the living, not saved for the dead.
He seems uncomfortable with the gift. Does he think he’s not worth a fresh bouquet of flowers, a love gift so small?
If I live to be eighty-six, will anyone visit me in hospital bed, barely able to speak? Will they bring me flowers? Will I wave them away, feeling undeserving, or will I open my arms, if able, and embrace? Will I see all as God-gift, God-grace, and give thanks, give hugs, if able? Will I still try to give to others when I’m in such dire need myself?
My genes aren’t as great as my husband’s. I just might not make eighty-six. But whatever I make, my days are ordained by my Maker. He knew each of my days when He birthed me into this world. Oh God, let me live them—each of them—as a gift. And let me gift others with your gift of life. Help me with the hardest ones—the ones who feel so undeserving. Help me continue to do what you would do, regardless of reaction—regardless of rejection.
And he says he’s thankful when I say I’ll pray for a quick and complete recovery. He’s a pilot who just sold his plane. Eighty-six years old and flying till last year. How he has been blessed with long and healthy life, till now. His body will never again pilot a plane in this life. But I pray his spirit will fly with his Lord, His pilot, now and forever, come what may.
Sometimes interrupted flight plans are for the best. Just depends on perspective. And perspective depends on the altitude.
All pilots know this.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9