Yesterday morning as I drove in to work, I was listening to a short audio book by Anne Lamott when I heard a quote that stuck in my head and heart.
"We're all just walking each other home."
Ram Dass - As quoted in Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair by Anne Lamott
I'd never heard of the original author of that quote before yesterday and am totally unfamiliar with his theology. (Though a quick internet search leads me to believe that it is not the same as mine.) However, when I think on that quote, line it up beside one of my life verses (Romans 12:15) and consider the ministry that the Lord has called me to...it speaks to a deep longing in my soul.
I find myself in a very tender place with the Lord these days. He is teaching me to open myself up to Him more fully, to ask Him for the desires of my heart, and more importantly, to trust Him with the answers. I know that sounds elementary to a lot of people. It would have sounded that way to me just a few short months ago.
Then, in early September, Jim and I made a trip back to Arkansas to work on the family deer lease. It was supposed to be a long weekend filled with tree trimming, relocating deer stands and the like. Unbeknownst to us, the Lord had ordained our trip to coincide with my dad being diagnosed with a metastatic melanoma on his brain. Our long weekend turned into a week filled with waiting, tests, doctor's appointments, more waiting, and a little tree trimming thrown in for good measure (AKA stress relief).
We didn't just decide to stay the week, it sort of unfolded day by day. We packed our bags at least three different times to head home. But the Lord was gracious and He either impressed on us that we were not to leave yet or He sent the newest bits of information just before we were to pull out.
The rest of September is a blur for me. I spent a lot of hours driving back and forth between Waller and Little Rock. First there were the appointments with his oncologist, followed by ones with the radiologist, and finally a surgeon. The next trip was for surgery itself, which went so wonderfully that God Himself had to have been in that room. We were prepared for a long recovery IF daddy woke up. (The tumor was located on the area of the brain which causes you to wake.) Instead, we were talking to him within an hour.
He had massive radiation in October and his health is still not as stabilized as we would like. The oncologist thinks he is too weak for the chemo right now...so we wait. And we hope. But mostly, we pray. Openly. Honestly. We plead for healing and mercy and strength...because really, there is nothing that we can do to change any of it.
One week he sounds strong and nearly back to his old self. The next, he is weak and tired as he struggles to just feel 'better'.
Please don't take this the wrong way. I am not ready to walk my daddy home. He's not ready to be walked there either. Heavens, he is only 69 years young!
But, in other ways, we are all doing this every single day. As we build memories, share burdens and joys, listen to one another's hearts and simply 'do life' together...we are walking each other home. We are being the hands and feet of Christ to those He has brought into our lives. As we laugh, cry, and sit in silence together, we are moving a little closer to home.
I, for one, am grateful for the journey...and I am glad for the companionship offered by each of you, my fellow sojourners!