December 17, 2006

The Best Advent Ever

Gentle Reader: If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you know that the last week has been difficult for me. I want to personally thank each of you who have offered your prayers to God on my behalf.

My Aunt made it here on Thursday evening. She is now with her friend, Kathy in her final moments. I have visited Kathy several times this week, including today. She recognizes people but she has difficulty communicating verbally. Her breathing is very labored and she cannot keep food down at all. Even water is difficult for her. She is a skeleton. I don't think she weighs 80 pounds.

Friends, I was thinking that it is times like these when the things that really matter are brought into sharp relief. The most important things to me right now are: family, friends and faith. Shopping for Christmas gifts, fixing my pathetic Christmas tree, complaining about my job, obsessing about the cleanliness of my home, are meaningless. Why? Why, bother? Is any of that more important then praying over a dying friend? Trying to express to her what she has meant to me, to my family, for over 35 years? Words are not even enough. It's enough to just sit with her in silence, holding her hand and praying to God. Surrounding her with love and supporting her husband.

My relationship and reliance on God are never more important then the times when I am tested. Really tested. I have had other tough Advents. The other tough Advents also involved a critically ill, or dying, friend or family member. Yet, I was never closer to God and I felt He was never closer to me.

In today's StarTribune is the story of Father Tim Vakoc a Chaplain seriously wounded in Iraq 2 years ago. I read this story while I was sitting by my friend's bedside today. It's a very moving story of Father's courage and perserverance and the undying love and support of his family, friends and brothers in the faith. Father Vakoc would be written off by some in our society as a "vegetable", a worthless person. I think this story illustrates how valuable he is as he is.

I feel the same way about my dying friend, Kathy. She is horribly ill and she cannot communicate. Yet, every effort is made to include her in our lives as much as possible. She's still here. Her bed is in the middle of the living room. We sit around her and read, watch TV, listen to the radio, type on the computer, talk on the phone, sleep when she sleeps. It's WE who have to adjust to her. We have to change our lives to accomodate her. And that's o.k. After all, to incorporate God in our lives, really make time for Him, also requires that WE change does it not?

Advent is about waiting. Waiting for the Birth of Our Lord and Savior. To me, this year, Advent is the Passion and the Nativity. It is awaiting the Birth of Our Lord but it is also witnessing the suffering and death of a friend. I pray that my friend will have an Easter waiting for her when her earthly life is done.

I think I misspoke the other day. This could be one of the best Advents ever.

4 Comments:

Blogger Adoro Te Devote said...

What a beautiful post. Your friend is indeed in my prayers, as are you.

Amazing what God uses to get through to us, isn't it?

December 17, 2006 7:24 PM  
Blogger Angela Messenger said...

Praying....

December 17, 2006 9:49 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Amen!

December 18, 2006 8:29 AM  
Blogger Georgette said...

It is indeed a grace and an Advent gift for you and your aunt to be able to do this Corporal Work of Mercy for her friend, visiting and caring for her. I know that your presence with her helps her to see Christ, preparing her for her eternal home.

You remain in my prayers.

PS I have had a lot of trouble posting on some blogs too--it IS good to know it is not just my problem!

December 19, 2006 5:58 AM  

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