I’m trying to say good-bye,

Lolo. And why it’s not good-bye.

Lolo, my grandfather, went Home this morning.

I mentioned his struggle with breathing (from heart trouble) a few emails ago.  We expected his death as we saw his gradual decline.  My mom and uncles and aunts along with hospice gave him the best care possible.  He wasn’t a burden.  Even in the struggle, he was uncomplaining and full of deep hope.  The home-going was a peaceful transition in his sleep.  Now he is done with pain and sorrow and sin.

The picture above is from last Christmas.  Cal, Kinsley and I got to visit him over the holidays! More pictures of Kinsley and Lolo at the end of this post. Beautiful memories.

Still doesn’t change the ache that I can’t pick up the phone and talk to Lolo ever again in the next 40 years (more or less) of my life.  I can’t go see him again.  I can’t visit and receive some of the most deep and real encouragement and love I’ve ever experienced. Learn from him.  Play viola for him.  Sing together.  I will never get to experience his tour of New York City. Our planned trip there together got snowed out – twice. (Visits after that he was too weak.) Taking him off the mailing list for this letter is surreal.

I’m not saying I wish he had stayed here longer.  But of course I wish I could have made more out of what time we had. Emptiness is present. I generally try to live in the now, live so I have no regrets. I consciously tried hard especially these last years with Lolo.  Tried to say everything I had in my heart to say to him, honor him, show him love.  But no matter how hard I tried  – I didn’t.   I can see clearly now times I wish I had called.  The grief-emptiness tearing away another layer of my blindness to the way of love.

I share this so I don’t ignore grief so much.  So I don’t let my busy-ness keep sorrow from doing it’s work in me.  Oh, I’m not going to quit being busy. I’m in the midst of work to complete, and the work needs to be done in it’s time. Like planting a field. Doing work in its time can be a cross to pick up. Like my siblings and cousins around me.  The same cross that was the center of such deep fellowship with Lolo.  Fellowship with Lolo was merely received, not created, by phone calls him, by visits.  Jesus’ cross-love created the fellowship.

O joy, that seekest me through pain
I dare not seek to fly from thee
I trace the rainbow through rain
And know the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be. (George Matheson 1882)

But I meant, I usually make busy-ness a crutch not a cross.  A crutch that barely helps me limp.  I get to rest from the weary-suffering I create through that crutch-busyness – that suffering he absorbed in His grief.  And Jesus’ grief love had no element of his own failure or regret. My failure. Jesus, God, taking the fall for my problem. He didn’t have to. Just to bring us into his amazing, overflowing fellowship.  Fellowship already perfect without us, fellowship that is a dance really – Father, Jesus, Spirit, selflessly loving one another in their eternal Home.  Jesus didn’t have to take the fall, but he did. He absorbed our weary limp with his grief-love and gives us his dance.

Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy Love,
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious [dance] above.
(S. Trevor Francis, 1875. Original word was rest.  Rest=energy=dance)

Not the cross by itself, the cross with the resurrection after. I receive the love that caused death to die. Jesus, human, more alive, more real than ever.  Gave those moments of indescribable joy being together with Lolo. That’s why I have so much to miss.  Jesus’ resurrection love.  That resurrection love that fills us till we dance in God’s House. The resurrection a prism shining a brilliance, warmth, color all at the same time.

Really, the first thought that brought the warmth of the resurrection-prism to my grief-chilled soul was the thought of Lolo together with Lola now.  If I could wrap my mind around it, it would bring warmth to think how Lolo is with Enoch, Noah, Moses, king David, the prophet Elijah, Stephen. . . Happy now together, free from suffering, right?  But the passage that talks about them all being together talks about something they still lack.  “Not one of these people, even though there lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” (Hebrews 11:39-40)

And the next verse: “Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we better get on with it . . . keep your eyes on Jesus . . . study how he did it . . . he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God.”

It’s not good-bye.  “Lolo, see you at the House Dance!”

Getting on with it,

Laura Christel

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