March 12, 2020

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, Titus 3:4

During Lent, we attempt to prepare ourselves for Easter and the absolutely incredible resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But is that all there is to this long period coming at the end of winter and the bursting forth of spring? I think Christians should always be prepared, prepared for God’s grace, prepared for anything. The observance of Lent can be practice in preparation.

For me, preparation came with a side of God’s grace. My father, a retired professor, lived with us for the final three years of his long life. It was not so easy. He had lost his beloved wife and his younger daughter. He was in pain and crippled since he had broken his hip in 2005. Surgery had not brought healing. He refused to see a doctor for any reason. He had stopped all medication when he came to live with us. It would seem he came to die with us.

I was still on the rather arduous journey to overcome the effects of abdominal surgery and a month’s stay in the hospital earlier that year. Daddy and I were often cranky with each other. It was a hard time. I prayed for easier times for all of us. I had forgotten about God’s grace.

One Saturday, Bill and I went out to dinner. We invited Daddy to come along, but he declined. Indeed, he loved his cereal and huckleberries (blueberries to the rest of us) for supper. He followed it with a heaping helping of chocolate ice cream. We returned home about 7:30 pm and Daddy was already asleep in his room. Soon Bill went to bed, and I decided to watch TV. I dozed in the comfortable recliner.

It was about 10 pm when I heard Daddy shuffle into the den on the other side of the kitchen, the room where he spent most of his days reading. I was concerned that he was awake so late, at least late for him. He said he was fine, just couldn't sleep.

As I had not replaced his bed sheets after I had laundered them, I said I would make up his bed. Daddy said I didn’t have to do that. I answered that I wanted to do it. After a few minutes, I returned to the den and announced that his bed was made. He said to me, “Thank you for your kindness, Winnie.” “I love you, Daddy,” I replied.

Neither of us realized that those simple sentences would be the last words we spoke to one another on this earth. My father got the death he wanted that night. What a gift to have our last words be loving! What kindness and mercy was shown to me by God! And by God’s amazing grace, I knew it was a gift, one of the greatest of God’s blessings to me. My father and I parted in happiness. Thanks be to God.

Dear Lord, Thank you for your amazing grace. It is so sweet. We turn to you when we lose our way. Your grace sees us through, and we praise your Holy name. Amen.

Winnie Walsh

About the Contributor:
Winnie Walsh joined First Presbyterian Church Spartanburg in 1974. She has served as Deacon and Elder and is presently the archivisit.