Life Passing is a story about how one woman dealt with the passing of a loved one and the unexpected message of comfort that she received.
The first call came in about nine one evening, from a woman I’ll call Joanie.
I first met Joanie and her four children shortly after they moved in to a shack motel on State Highway some five years ago. This call though was different from most. Joanie called to tell me that her father-in-law was very near to death and she was staying by his side until the end came. We talked about the importance of being there, and how death sometimes brings with it a kind of grace and beauty in the process of letting go. Joanie assured me that she would try to nap some during the overnight hours and that we would talk in the morning.
At 8:45 AM the next morning Joanie called to say that her father-in-law had just died minutes ago. She was with him in the hospital when he passed away. The elderly man actually wasn’t her father-in-law by marriage, just emotionally and by the heart. Using that title just saved a lot of complicated explaining. Nobody else from the man’s family ever came to see him. It was just him, passing at age 79, and Joanie in the hospital room.
In addition to sharing the sad news, Joanie had another reason for calling. Minutes after the gentleman passed away, Joanie thought to throw the curtain and blinds wide open, allowing the early morning sun to come streaming in. She turned to see where the sun was landing in the hospital room, and through a patchwork of reflections bouncing off of nearby equipment around the old man’s bed, a muted splash of light ran up across his still frail body. and that’s when Joanie saw something unusual.
There, on the old man’s arm, was the number “18.” Joanie said it wasn’t bold, not large, but it was there. She was sure of it. When I asked what she thought it meant, Joanie immediately said, “I knew right away what it meant. It means Psalm 18 in Scripture. I don’t remember it all, so could you look it up for me?”
I found the Psalm and began to read it to Joanie over the phone. “I love you, oh Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.”
“That’s it.” she said. “I knew that’s what that number meant.”
Our conversation ended shortly thereafter. For a few moments after hanging up the phone I found myself in prayer and thinking about one life passing and the lives continuing to make sense and meaning of it all.
Pin it? 🙂