Monday, November 8, 2010

Series Are for...


Apparently so, because not only have I gotten dreadfully behind in my Encounters {30 Days Thankful} posts, but yesterday I also broke my Sunday habit of posting a verse for my Truth-Light-Hammer-Fire series.  How could I?  ;-)

Once in a while, I run across a button on somebody's blog that declares "Blogging Without Obligation," and I think to myself that more bloggers should be that way:  blogging only when (and what) they want to, more focused on the pleasure of keeping a journal for themselves than building the biggest blog audience around, not feeling like they have to apologize when they miss a day (or week or month) of blogging, etc.  So tonight, even though part of me would like to be curled up in bed, snuggling cozily under my favorite invention since flush toilets, another part of me is telling myself to stay here in my rocking chair, with my bare feet cold on the chilly floor and my laptop perched on my knees...NOT because of any sense of obligation to blog on a (nearly) daily basis or to continue a series that I started days (or months) ago, but because of the pleasure of capturing moments and turning their fleeting nature into 26 black and white symbols that preserve the thoughts, the actions, the sounds and smells and tastes, the emotions, the essence of these precious moments of these busy, busy days that fly by in a flash.

A year from now, I'll maybe be sitting in this same rocking chair with my feet bare on the cold floor while the rest of the household sleeps; and I'll be so glad that I took the time tonight to write something.  And maybe, just maybe, these boys...
...and their little brothers, will someday read these words; and they will be glad that I sat up late to write them.

That picture, by the way, was taken by Jeff during our trip last Friday to Mt. Vernon.  He took almost all of the pictures that were taken that day, and I hope to post more of them at a later date.  I'm grateful that even when I was in a photographic slump, he wasn't.  :)

Before I go on to talk about Encounter #4, I'll give a quick recap of the last few days.
Friday:  Mt. Vernon, of course
Saturday: recovering from Friday, and preparing for a Bible study in our home that evening
Sunday: an Old Order Mennonite church service with our neighbors (something that I definitely want to write about sometime!), lunch for 15 around our table, Josiah's violin recital in the afternoon, and some relaxing time with the faithful friends who watched our little guys during the recital
Today: homeschool as normal, with the added joy of putting our Christmas candles in the windows to surprise Josiah when he got home from SVCC practice (they are much more than Christmas candles to me; I put them out early and keep them up late, and would leave them in our windows year-round except for the danger of them falling and breaking when I have the windows open during warmer weather), and a rousing pillow fight with my three oldest sons after supper...I love my boys!  :)


Encounter #4
Fourteen was a big year for me.   I went on my first airplane ride, left the country for the first time, and went on my first mission trip.  I switched schools.  Encounter #3 happened that year, at that new-to-me school.  But even before all that other stuff happened, another Encounter occurred which helped to shape me into who I am now.

My grandfather died.

My dad's dad, he was the first of my grandparents to die, the closest living relative that I had lost to death.  He was elderly and had lived a long, productive life of service to God and humanity.  He was the original Dr. Huffman in this area (and an inspiration to his two sons who both became Dr. Huffman as well).  He had suffered from heart trouble, and he had a prosthetic leg (it's kind of funny as a kid to see your granddad take off part of his leg).  :)

He died the day after I turned fourteen.

His tradition had been to pull our ears on our birthday, although why that tradition started, I have no idea.  When he died, I couldn't help but think, "But he didn't get to pull my ears for this birthday!" (because he had been very ill in the hospital).

Although there is so much more that I could say about his life, what really stood out to me is how he approached death.  When he realized that he was nearing the end of his life and would only be able to survive if kept alive through artificial means, he wrote on a piece of paper in shaky but clear letters (because he couldn't speak due to the ventilator? that was breathing for him), "Let me die."  It wasn't because he had a death wish; it was, simply, because he was ready.  Ready to enter eternity.  Ready to meet Jesus.  Ready to see face-to-face the Lord he had served all his life.  Death was a doorway; and at that point for him, it was a welcome doorway.

It surprises and grieves me when I see how desperately some Christians cling to life, and how fearfully they approach death, and how ungracefully they slip towards it, digging in their heels and fingernails and anything else they can use to slow down their progression..  Don't get me wrong:  I love life, too!  And I'd be so grateful to have 50 or 60 more years of it here on earth.  But at the same time, I realize (and I pray that I continue to realize it as the end of my earthly life approaches) that death is just a door.  When you know Who is standing on the other side of that door, there is nothing to fear.

Thank you, Granddad, for teaching me that.


Valerie said...

I have to admit I am on the side of fearing death. Well, I don't think it's the death part. It's the who is left behind part. I don't want my loved ones to be sad. I don't want my children to not have a mother. That scares me. Death itself? Not so much.

Mary said...

thank you for looking at my blog and thank you for this post. My grandpop was just admitted to the hospital yesterday for breaking his hip. He has Alzheimer's and leukemia and is 89 years old. Your post has given me a sense of peace that is so welcome right now! thank you.
I also am enjoying your blog! I am the oldest of four girls and we were all homeschooled too, so your boys are bringing back happy memories:)

Margie said...

Wept at this one, too, Davene. What a gift from your grandfather. What a blessing that you shared it.