My calling (job) is an interesting combination of joys and sorrows.
The joy of: welcoming new born babes to the church in the arms of their mothers and fathers, baptizing new converts to the faith, welcoming those who have decided to join membership, celebrating the victory of healing with people who have overcome life challenging illness, the planning and execution of weekly celebration services, prayer services and small group Bible studies, mixes with the sorrow of walking with families struggling with domestic violence, or divorce, walking the long road to life’s end, comforting families of those who have passed on into eternity, and helping families struggle through the sorrow of wayward children.
The whole job is an honor and a challenge. The whole job requires the grace of God to manifest with each joy and each sorrow.
One of the joy/ sorrows I am walking through right now is with the oldest member of our congregation, Grace. Grace has been with us literally from the beginning of the church, from the very first service when there was no church building only a church living room. Grace is also a biblical widow. She has no family aside from an elderly sister living in assisted living over 12 hours away. Our church is her family.
Grace was also not prepared at all for end of life. So when she could no longer care for herself the state stepped in and placed her an hour and a half from us. I have now taken Grace on as my legal ward, but I have been unable to move her from the care center where she has been placed. At this point I am not sure I would want to put her through the trauma of moving again. So I call her several times a week. Yesterday I made the drive up to see her.
I start out on Rte. 12 from Winchendon MA up through Fitzwilliam, Troy and Keene NH. I pick up Rte 10 and follow the Ashuelot River through Gilsum and up into Marlowe. Driving past the Christmas Inn at Marlowe….
I travel by the wind mills in Lempster
I turn at the United Church across from the Lempster town library.
up into Unity,
until I see the skyline at Sullivan County Health Care. It’s a long way from my current home, but my family on both my mother and father’s side has been traipsing this same territory for more than two hundred years. Most of my original ancestors came through Newport NH on their journey from England. One of my relatives actually was born in Goshen only minutes from Lempster and preached in South Acworth only a few miles in the other direction from Lempster. Driving this road feels a little like walking through history to a deeper sense of home.
Since the last time I visited Grace she has had to move to a new unit within the care center so that she could receive the appropriate care for her weakening physical condition. The new unit, Stearns III, is a very beautiful ward with lots of plants and bright decorations. When I arrived Grace was just finishing up a music program and then an aid took us to the “Tower Room” where we could visit privately. Grace thought she had made this quilt. She went to some length to explain the neatness of the stitching and how it had been a group project. I didn’t let her think otherwise.
The view from the room was beautiful and cheery.
Grace is facing many challenges ahead with her health, but being able to walk this season with her as she prepares for her own journey into eternity is such a great privilege. I don’t know how much my visits are making a difference in Grace’s life. I truly hope they are a blessing to her. This one thing I know, they are deepening my faith and my own story greatly
HAVE YOU EVER WALKED WITH SOMEONE THROUGH GREAT DIFFICULTY? HOW DID IT CHANGE YOU?
One thought on “Pictures on the Road to Grace”
Pingback: PICTURES ON THE ROAD TO GRACE | Lillie-Put