When I Least Expect It – Feb 24, 2014
I don’t know why I was surprised. I knew when I started paging through the church newsletters from 30 years of Larry’s ministry that I might find some “treasures” among the various musings typical of such writings: promotions of upcoming events, worship and educational opportunities, celebrations, the state of the congregation, and of course, the infamous stewardship appeals. And there in the folder labeled 1985 was the article Larry wrote a year after his own father’s death in 1984.
It will soon be 2 years since Larry died, and though this anniversary is not as difficult as the first, it still manages to taunt and coax emotions. But you see, when I read this particular article I knew it was something I wanted to share, particularly with my children.
It is a mystery to me how God works in our lives. But, I am certain this little “gem” was there for me to find and read today. And that was God’s doing. Because death has likely affected all of us in some way, I would like to share—
About this time last year my father began his final days of life. On that Easter Sunday a phone call informed me that he had collapsed and was in the intensive care unit at the hospital. The emphysema had escalated, and its various effects were beginning to come together for the final assault which would end his life on Mother’s Day.
In the year since then I have come to know him differently than when he was alive. As I remember our times together, a new understanding of his words and deeds is given birth. The faith in which he lived, the principles for which he stood, and the love with which he reached out seem to be more sharply defined. Particularly his love.
There is a pain which accompanies these memories. It is not the pain of absence, although I miss him greatly. It is, rather, the pain of silence; the pain of having left unsaid the words which I would like to have said. The memories bring with them the realization that I put up barriers which were not necessary; that there were opportunities to speak love which, for reasons I no longer remember, I let pass. The pain of silence is the memory which asks, “Why couldn’t I speak my love?”
Easter brings a word of grace to us, who suffer this pain of silence. For the Resurrected Lord promises that the words may yet be spoken. Death does not have the last word. And because of this, the words spoken—or left unspoken—in this world are not the last words to be spoken, either. The conversation has merely been interrupted for awhile. The day will come when, gathered together again in a new and eternal life, we will have the opportunity to continue the conversation, speaking the words of our heart. The day will come when all shall be forgiven, and love will speak loudest.
In the meantime, we can practice for that day, speaking the words of the heart to one another.
The Lord is risen.
Peace and blessings!