Today was not a good day for Grampie. As lucid as he's been the last couple of days, he was that confused today. I don't know what it is about the nursing facility that makes him think he's at sea, but again he's convinced he's on a boat. A ferry to be exact. He'd asked the nurse a dozen times before we got there if we'd be meeting him at the dock when they landed. She thought maybe he'd been a commercial fisherman back when his memory was running the show. Unfortunately the reality isn't nearly that simple, though the many years he lived out on the Penninsula afforded an up close and personal relationship with the ferry system of this state--both riding it himself and awaiting for people to alight from it.
We just couldn't get him off that ferry boat treadmill he was riding either. Finally just gave up and joined him. Seemed like the prudent thing to do. Turned out to be a pretty nice ride there in the confines of his room...except that that didn't satisfy him for long. It made him determined to get all his belongings off the ferry when it stopped, including the walls, which, for some reason, he seemed to think belonged to him (probably because the hanging pictures on them are familiar). He ate his dinner, kept coming about (a boating reference) to the same issues over and over: 'Where did this ferry take off from? When will we get off? I couldn't make heads or tails of anything they were telling me (presumably the nurses, who presumably told him he WASN'T on a ferry).' Then he suddenly grew very serious and very emotional. "I'm so glad I have you two. I don't know what I'd do without you." It was the first time in Beve's life that he can remember his dad getting choked up and teary. It lasted only a moment, but I saw that little boy inside him that I know is frightened of all this mind-losing for which he has no words but has many fears.
So, as is often the case now, I'm thinking of Grampie when I come to this blog tonight. I'm thinking of what he most needs from God in this season. There are very few material things that matter to Grampie any longer. A warm enough sweater, his cozy Cougar slippers, perhaps the fuzzy red blanket to cover his legs, and he's good to go (and by go, I mean to sit). A few photographs of those he loves and still recognizes, a good basketball game on the television and he's happy to sit and drift off for hours, not even recognizing that time has passed. What he needs these days is comfort. Isn't it?
And in answer to this need, I'm thankful that Paul has a beautiful prayer which I can pray in 2 Corinthians--
"Praise be to the God and Fathe of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God..." (1: 3-4)
But sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the needs of those around me. Very few of those needs as simple as Grampie's. And even my prayers sometimes feel inarticulate in the face of the deep and far-reaching worries in just the small corner of this globe in which I live. There are those people who recognize their need--who cry out for healing, comfort, sustenance, the Spirit, to grow in Him...and to surrender their will to His. I think of a person close to me who recently ssked me specifically how I pray for one beloved in my life. I told him that my prayer tends to live in the Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus. "Let this cup pass from him--Nevertheless not my will but YOURS be done!" and "Do whatever it takes to draw him to yourself!" Every prayer I pray really falls somewhere in those two camps, or between them. And, at times, even both at once if that makes sense. Ultimately, these are the two prayers for ALL my beloveds--"Do whatever it takes, nevertheless, not my will but yours be done."
Along with this comes one more prayer. A practical one, "How do you want to use me?" Use me as you will. Make me your instrument, to do your Kingdom work in this life of this beloved. Of any and all my beloveds. Beve constantly reminds me that we must all pray this, that to stop short is to not put feet to our faith...which we must do. Of course. This is the Kingdom-come call of Christ.
But beyond those who acknowledge their need for Christ and their bowed knees before Him, and beyond those I pray for because they are MY beloveds, is the far larger ring of people I'm in contact with (and beyond that the whole world, of course) who neither acknowledge nor admit the very existence of ONe to fill that gaping need. They gird themselves to fight their own battles and fall woefully short (often flat on their faces). Even then, they stubbornly turn their backs on the ONE who loves them enough to make a difference in their lives. Who already did. What results from that back-turning is anything from sad to ludicrous. And my prayers should be passionate and far-reaching for them, should be knee-bending and soul-wrenching on their behalves. These are life-and-death issues they are neglecting and I neglect them in my prayers at their peril.
It just strikes me that we believers often have it backwards. Or maybe it's just me. we spend an inordinate among of time praying for the small stuff--the unimportant stuff--each other asks and pay only lip service to praying for the lost. This Holy-Spirit thought convicts me. Yes, Grampie is fine. He has everything he needs. But others in my life--they are lost and, though they have much, have nothing. In fact, they have everything to lose.