I talked to my cousin today. She and I are a week apart in age.
Our Daddies were twins. I am so at peace in her presence, and
when we talk on the phone, her voice wraps itself around my heart
and it is so good.
Last summer, we had a family reunion.
Her Dad, my Uncle Luke, was not feeling well, and when
everything was said and done, only she and her husband
were able to be there from their family. When it came time
to take family pictures, we wanted her and her husband to be
with our family. There were lots of people missing from our
family, too, so this was the sum total of the families of the
twins of David and Savilla (Bender) Yoder
who were available for pictures that day.
Her Daddy is growing weaker. As a family, we pray and write
and, whenever possible, visit. Cousins have come from all over
to savor the essence that is our Uncle Luke. He delights in
every visit. Rallies to relate, and draws energy from the love
that has been pouring in, and strength from the prayers.
“Make it a good day,” he would always end his missives to the
Yoder Family e-mail group. He has been unable to write for
over a month, now. But over and over again, his words are found
at the end of our messages to each other. And we are so
encouraged by the stories coming out of a Michigan Nursing Home.
Stories of dealing with the everyday things that life is made of —
surrender, praise, joy — but always the leering face of Lou Gehrig.
Our hearts strain for words of hope from the family that so
tenderly care for him with a commitment that causes all of us
to ache with hope that someday, for us, there will be a family
that cares like they do. We pray for strength, we pray for patience.
We pray for the everlasting arms to carry them through these days.
We pray that our Heavenly Father will have mercy and that the
overriding presence in the attractive little suite will be that of peace.
This case of ALS has been insiduous.
It has tromped and smashed and snatched and cursed.
And it has tried to destroy the very Faith that is the lifeline.
I am so thankful for a Faith that can be in the middle of all
that is tromped and smashed and snatched and cursed —
and still hold steady.
I am so thankful that it resides, not only in that brave, brave heart
of a most beloved uncle, but also in the hands and hearts of his family.
Today I heard the tears, felt the uncertainties and pain.
And sorrow wrenched somewhere in my gut with a familiar, nauseating twist.
It is not at all the way they (or we) would have chosen for things to go.
But things are the way they are, and the platitudes that get thrown around
at a time like this are made real by times like these.
And Truth is sometimes defined through experiencing the
inexplicable mystery of Faith.
No, I cannot explain it.
I only know that it is where my restless heart can find a place of quiet.