Lenten Devotional: Thursday, March 28
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me. . .I say to God, my rock, “ Why hast thou forgotten me?. . .Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. Psalm 42: 5, 9-11
One of the most disquieting moments in my life was the death of my only remaining parent. Yes, my father had lived a full and accomplished life, and he had slowly been declining so his death was not wholly unexpected. Still, it is jarring to find yourself an orphan. My immediate feelings in the aftermath of his death were ones of helplessness, confusion, even abandonment. By whom or what, I wasn’t entirely sure; I know only that I felt profoundly alone. I still find that I frequently bring myself up short – I come across a book or an article that I think my father might like and think “I’ll have to send that to him.” Or when we traveled, he always enjoyed the pictures of the places we visited. We were away recently and I found myself more than once thinking that I should send him pictures of where we had been, only to realize that he wouldn’t be there to enjoy either books or pictures. He particularly enjoyed photos of our children and grandchildren; we were all together a few weeks ago and I found myself thinking he would particularly enjoy seeing pictures of his great-grandchildren only to quickly realize that there was no reason to send them.
In retrospect, I recognized that one of the blessings associated with the inevitability of his passing was the time I had to sit with him and talk during what turned out to be the last week of his life. In that week we spoke often about the subject of God, faith, death, and what follows death; conversations that never once in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have with him. He found those conversations comforting, as did I. Only later did I realize that I was being given the privilege of easing his transition from the physical to the spiritual world. God, it turned out, had not forgotten me; rather, God had allowed me to be present as my father’s journey was coming to an end, which was a privilege and a divine blessing.