Friday, May 23, 2014
Day Late, Dollar Short
A day late . . . a dollar short. Isn't that the story for a lot of us? In my birthday trip into Yellowstone National Park it seemed as I was always a day late and a dollar short. It seemed as if I missed the most spectacular critters by a few minutes everywhere that I went in the park. Now, I did have lots of luck too, but I did miss some pretty spectacular scenes with the wildlife. It never fails . . . no matter how much I seem to prepare, I always came up short of that spectacular picture.
That seems the way that it is going for a lot of us right now . . . we are coming up a day late and a dollar short. But life doesn't play by our rules . . . life does what life wants to do when it wants to do it. In the midst of graduation celebrations . . . in the joy of spring finally bursting forth . . . death was seen hanging around . . . peeking around the corner. News was shared during worship that the mother of one of our members was not doing well and that it would only be a matter of time . . . another member learned later that evening that his father would probably not make it much longer. Another member shared that she had lost to cancer her beloved pet. News was shared of a death in the community. Prayers were lifted up for those who were away from home and traveling. News was shared about impeding surgeries and surgeries that were performed. Not quite the news one thinks of when gathering for worship and praising God . . . but, life doesn't play fair . . . it has to do what it has to do . . . the journey goes on.
And, we know it.
We know it . . . we prepare for it, yet no matter how well we think we are for what life has to throw at any of us, we still feel a day late and a dollar short. We feel like we have missed that opportunity . . . that moment. But, have we? Or have we just come to the realization that we are helpless in the situations that arise in our lives . . . situations that damper the celebration of life . . . that make us come to realize how precious and valuable life and others really are to each of us? I am not sure.
I was not in the presence of either of my parents when they died . . . the distance was too far and the notice too short . . . I only arrived after it was all said and done. And, to be honest, I lamented that time in my life because a good child would have been there . . . a good child would have held his or her dying parent's hand, whispered silent prayers, and hopefully said what needed to be said . . . I love you. But, I was not there . . . I was a day late and a dollar short. Yet, with perfect twenty/twenty vision, I came to realize that it would not have made any difference . . . my parents both knew that I loved them . . . that I would miss them . . . and, that there would be a great void in my life and the lives of my family. And, it was okay because they knew.
Yet, we still feel a day late and a dollar short. I am not sure that there are any words . . . any prayers that could be uttered . . . that will change that feeling for most of us. Only time and grace seem to make a difference. All I know is that if I could have been there, I would have been there; but, I couldn't. Years later, it is okay . . . for all of us it will be okay.
My prayers are simple for those who are facing death at their door . . . you are not a lone. God is with you. We are with you. May God's tender mercies surround you wherever you are in this journey of life . . . mercy and grace. You are not a day late . . . you are not a dollar short . . . you are a child of God and God will be with you no matter when you show up. You have done the best that you can do . . . we all do. God knows it . . . our loved ones know it. That should be enough.