Friday--6Jan17: Mid-month, last month, a friend from years back was in touch with me just hours before we left for Christmas vacation with our daughter in Texas. The story is way too long to go into here, but this evening, looking over pictures from the past month, I was reminded of this tender and sacred time I had been invited into.
At the end of this fast first week of 2017, I am more thankful than ever that I responded. It did set a certain "heart tone" for the sincere blessings we experienced this past Christmas.
My friend had been a youth pastor years back in Southern California. At that time he and his wife befriended one of the young women in that group. Years later, after these good folks had kept in touch, that young woman asked if they knew anyone in Denver. The reason was that her birthdad, whom she had located, lay dying in a Denver hospital in intensive care, and did they know someone who would go and pray with him.
Thus contacted, I went into a local ICU, and prayed for this man. The attending nurse was most kind to let me speak to him. His communication was reduced to a blink of the eyes for a "yes" and two blinks for a "no." Thus we had care-filled communication for a few minutes.
His daughter wanted him to know how much God loved him, even though he had forsaken her as a baby. She wanted him to be reminded that he was forgiven by her, and by God...and that she loved him. What a priceless gift she offered her birth father.
As I quietly continued to ask him questions, with the permission of the nurse, he came, via blinks, to indicate he knew what I was saying. I prayed God's peace over him and told him that Jesus was waiting for him in heaven, that it was OK to let go...that our God was waiting to welcome him home.
Having held his hand during this brief encounter and speaking ever so slowly, the nurse was convinced he had heard every word I had said. Not only did this patient have a trickle of tears in his weary eyes, but so did the nurse and I. She told me his heart rate and blood pressure was close to normal by the time I had finished praying for him, and that his system seemed to be at peace for the first time since she had been on duty.
As I sit here in my office this evening remembering this encounter, I am ever more humbled at this sacred task I was invited to partake of. It was what one of my finest of friends would call a "bubble of heaven."
Do I believe this old gentlemen, who could not talk to me but could only blink, understood what was happening? No doubt in my mind. Some day when I get to heaven, I can only imagine an olde gent coming up to me and saying, "Do you remember the time in mid-December in 2016 when you came to see me in ICU at Swedish Hospital in Englewood, Colorado?"
Indeed, I will. Hoping to see you there in heaven, as well........... (74+216)