It’s been a week of waiting. Both my mother and my sister’s mother in law had jury duty this week, which, of course, involves plenty of waiting. My astute mom made mention on a facebook status that it seems in her observation that most (I’ll insert the qualifiers of “Western” and “adult”) people have a hard time handling waiting. I agree with her. Really, when it comes to waiting, most of us still have to manage that inner three-year-old that’s jumping up and down and can’t handle any sort of anticipation that’s not fulfilled immediately. We also have that inner three-year-old that hates sitting still in the quiet, waiting.
And then, you have waiting that comes when you know a life will end. And that is the sort of wait in which we find ourselves this evening, with my husband’s grandmother. I suppose it’s a blessing in a sense to have a life that ends in a wait rather than a shock. Maybe.
It seems like yesterday that we were shocked awake by the phone ringing at 6 a.m., informing us that Sam’s cousin had died suddenly of a middle of the night severe asthma attack. I had thoughts of that today, as well as thoughts of Sam’s great Aunt that died long before Sam was born. She is still remembered within the family, and I remember Grandma occasionally talking about the one daughter among their five sons, whom they never had the blessing of knowing on this earth, as she was born still -on Easter Sunday, of all days, if I heard grandpa recalling correctly. Easter Sunday would have been March 29 in 1959. She would have just turned 52, if my assumption of her birth year is correct. Her grave lies in Cedar Grove cemetery, labeled only “Baby Gesch,” but I know in my heart that that little girl has a name, even if it’s never been mentioned. I pondered more than once asking Grandma what her name was, but the right moment never came, and I never was sure if that question was one I should ask.
So, now we wait for Grandma to go to meet her Savior, and her daughter and grandson, and all the others absent from the body and present with the Lord.
I never knew my grandparents quite as well as I got to know Sam’s grandparents. As a matter of fact, I missed all their funerals, except for my grandpa Anderson’s, and I don’t have pleasant memories of that funeral at all. It’s a tragedy when the pastor performing the funeral service not only has to ask the family who the person who died was, but also has the audacity to perform the service as though he knew the deceased. You could sum it up by saying Grandpa wasn’t a church person, but the deeper truth was, the tree of his life didn’t bear much lasting fruit. That was the first funeral I attended, at the age of 17. Much too late, in my opinion. I wish I had been allowed to go to my great-grandmother’s funeral. I was 8 at the time, and it would have been a good learning experience, however hard or awkward it would have been. Children need to have exposure to death, and not be kept from it. It helps them see things like the power of the resurrection, the wages of sin, and the seriousness of walking with God every day of one’s life. This will be the first funeral of someone my children knew well and loved, and honestly, I don’t know what to expect.
So, we wait. And even after Grandma’s time comes, we wait while continue to do His kingdom work, waiting for the day when death is completely vanquished. And that battle is already won. The already, and the not yet. We know that our Redeemer lives.
“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”