Five Years

Five years ago tonight, we were gathered in the big corner room at the Country Rest Home, listening as Our Sweet Mama’s labored breathing went on and on and on. We sang, we talked quietly, and we kept careful watch. Deborah came in briefly, on her way to work, and left again. But before she left, she said, “Mama. She is dying. She does not have long.” and she wept hot tears.

It had been a long four weeks. The adult children of Mark and Alene Yoder had experienced a sweet, compelling unity in the difficult decisions that were made, and our Sweet Mama had spoken words of love in her last communication with each of us. There was a sense that she was getting ready to leave us, and while it was beautiful to think of her healthy and whole and with our Daddy, it was looking so bleak without her.

It was soon after 10 when there was a change. Instead of the ragged, labored breathing, there were these quiet, no struggle, easy breaths.  Her face was peaceful. And then Our Sweet Mama had her day to fly. I will always miss her.

It’t been a difficult couple of months at Shady Acres if I choose to look at the things that have transpired within our family, our community, or world. If I were to enumerate the things that have driven me repeatedly to the foot of the cross, probably some of you would not believe me. Some of you would feel sorry for me. Some of you would be angry for me. Some would be angry at me. Some would misunderstand. Which is why the foot of the Cross is the best place for the stories in my life that are not mine to tell, the sins that are not mine to confess to the world, and for all the things that can lay me low. I want to choose to abandon the angst, the bitterness, the rancor of soul that threatens to taint my thought processes and inevitably, my responses and relationships.

Tonight my heart is heavy for a beloved sister in law and the uncertainties that are before us. We rode the long miles to Philadelphia today with Certain Man’s Oldest Sister, Lena, for a consult with an Orthopedic Oncologist. (Oncologist. There are certain words in the English language that are just plain obscene!) The news is not good, although we wait for definitive results from biopsies and X-rays and more consults before we know the treatment plans.. I want be brave for her sake. I will myself to be brave for her sake. But it doesn’t change the familiar taste of bitter anxiety and grief that are causing the Artesian tears, a tightening in my throat, a sick feeling somewhere in my stomach.

I remember the Grace that has brought Lena home to us. I remember the incredible timing of these last four months, when monumental life changes fell into place in the unmistakable timing of Divine Providence. It is no accident that she is with us, no matter what expectations may have hung thick around Ambleside Cottage, no matter the dreams that she (and we all) held for the future– No matter. No Matter! I either choose to trust, or I sink in despair. I either choose to see God’s hand, or I become cynical and brittle and suspicious.

The timeless words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 stir in my heart the sounds of hope. 28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. 30 The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” (New Century Version)

Lord! I do believe! Help me to believe more! Mark 9:24b (NCV)

https://youtu.be/Q18GAt3_tkc



1 Comment

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One response to “Five Years

  1. MaryAnn, I feel the depths of your pain and your purposing to believe in the goodness of God no matter what. I also know the things that can be causing deep soul despair to our mama hearts, often things we cannot put out for the whole world to know. ((((Hugs)))) and prayers, dear friend.

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