One of the most pressing issues on my heart as of lately, was the concern for my daughter. This is based on my forthcoming trips to Belize. On these visits to my homeland, I plan to stay on 3-6 months intervals. Although she is a young adult, the idea that I would be gone for a short time, brought me a sense of despair. In addition, thoughts rested on those who have been with me consistently through my many life journeys, specifically friends who are a little older than me; people I’ve made commitments to that they would never have to see the inside of a nursing home. This is not customary in my culture. We take care of our elderly in the comfort of homes. My work in hospice care is also validation, that a person’s transition should be around what is familiar, warm, loving, and with the scents of life’s joys. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe there are specific cases that warrant the need for external help. Yet, it is my argument that in elements of general palliative care, the choices made in our lives should be carefully thought through. An imperative area of my family’s principles is to be prepared and ready, so that when the time comes to care for love ones, to read a favorite story, to hold a hand, to shift a pillow offering more comfort, to cover with a favorite blanket, and to just be there in familiar settings… like eating, should always be within one’s life plans. And, if care must be given to a loved one considered to have been a significant life challenge, this time together could be a great opportunity to apply the process of forgiveness.
A minister’s paperback, I return to often says this “Dying is an important event in the life of the individual. Dying is a private affair. Birth is a social act, for no one is ever born alone. Dying is different. The end of life comes to each person as an intensely personal experience” (Bowers, Jackson, Knight, & LeShan, 1981). Drawing from these remarks, I avow that the experiences of those who begin the journey to Jesus, should be gentle and pleasing. My family gave this precious gift to every one of my ancestors. Everyone! And, although some of you may view this area of my writings to be dark and unnecessary, it is important to touch on this tiny aspect of my work. Likewise, it is essential I share on my desire to honor my words pertaining to offer palliative or thanatological care, not only toward my immediate family, but in addition, to the few I’ve made this promise to.
My yearning to be in Belize more often is likewise as potent. Presently this quest may not seem as easy, grounded in the current knowledge I hold. Yet, it is possible to make this goal achievable. Paul Tillich wrote “Faith is the state of being ultimately concerned”. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus spoke on faith in this very familiar verse “…if you have faith the size of this mustard seed, you will say to the mountain, [Move from here to there, and nothing will be impossible for you]”. He prefaced this by saying “Because of your little faith”…because of your unbelief.
In revisiting this verse on this day’s early morning, the discussion of a ‘seed’ is never dull for a planter and a gardener as me. In fact, just yesterday I peeled an heirloom tomato a friend gave to me. It was huge and so beautiful in its most imperfect shape. I pulled back the skin, squeezed out the seeds that are now drying to send in Christmas baskets to friends who are also gardeners. Its meaty flesh made the lentil soup I made quite tasty. Seeds are so precious to me. They really are! A seed no matter how tiny, contains a life foundation, one that feeds nations. Its life-nature is remarkable, and its faith is unstoppable. This, a digression, I had to write upon 🙂
So now I continue to go a bit deeper into the parable above, in fact I have done this since I was first introduced to it. It is my belief that Jesus did not speak of “quantity” when he said of little faith, but more so His focus was on the “quality” of our faith. A life lived in this space is one lived with the step of God. Steps toward Him and not away from Him. I recognize that the minute I decide to take a different path, I start to question everything. How will “I” accomplish this? What will happen to “me”? These are some questions produced when I begin to stray. They are never bound by the wonder and compassion of God.
“Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat what they produce” (Jeremiah, 29:5).
As I am provided a home in Colorado and I create one in Belize, I must trust God. His plans are enough for the bounty I seek. The seeds I hold in my hand are waiting to do their thing. The faith they hold is lodged deep within. They await God’s rich soil and the waters of the river near my land. Though there sometimes may be tangled weeds, the seeds are stronger than these. Ordinary they may seem now, but their ordinary will become rather significant in due time.
My daughter’s boyfriend reached out to me last week, to ask for her hand in marriage. Real soon she begins this new journey. “Marry and have sons and daughters” (Jeremiah, 29:6). “Mom, I sooo want this”, she recently said to me. God’s continued corroboration with me will very soon start my own new journey. My despair of leaving my daughter behind, automatically ceased after I spoke with her boyfriend. God reminded me through this contact that “When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me, I will let you find me.” (Jeremiah 29: 12-14).
With great faith, I seek our God in all things concerning the plans he has for my life. These plans include great growth, with supreme outcomes. In faith, the future is doable for all of us! With faith, my words are already honored.
Heavenly Father, you are so morally good, you are the truth, and in this truth, you offer mercy. You remove the junk from my mind when I am deeply concerned. Your favor in my life, offers compassion at times of despair. And, you check me when my eyes and thoughts wander from your commandments (two specifically). You release me from these distresses. Father, thank you for your faithful love.
With all my love,
Source: Bowers, M.K., Jackson, E.N., Knight, J.A., & LeShan, L. (1981). Counseling the dying. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row Publishers