Dad turns 91 next week. Mom had her 90th birthday earlier this month. For over two years now, Dad has been bedridden—lying 24 hours a day on his back, unable to move his arms more than a few inches and needing care for all the essentials of life. His withered crippled leg is a reminder of the polio he suffered as a three-year-old boy. The post-polio syndrome returned in recent years to continue the destructive weakening of his muscles.
His voice is weak, but Dad’s mind is clear—for which we are thankful. In that regard, he has not changed. As an organic chemist involved in research, he has always been analytical and articulate. After church several Sundays ago, Dad asked me what Pastor preached on. I told him and explained that it was a three-part series that he would finish next week. Without hesitation he replied, “No, he won’t.” Surprised by his contradiction, I asked why he said that. He answered, “He will be out of town next week.” How did he remember that? He was right. I was the one at church that day while he was home lying in bed! While I didn't put it together, he did.
In difficult times, there is much for which to be thankful. I am thankful that God in His wisdom positioned Marty and me next door to Dad and Mom. It was not our plan; it was God’s plan. We did not know that Dad would be bedridden for multiple years, but God in His infinite wisdom knew. I am thankful for two daughters who live in town and are nurses, and a med-school niece who lives with Mom and Dad; God has called upon their knowledge and skill to help care for Dad. I am thankful for hospice care—Chastity, his CNA who cheerfully carries out the thankless job of cleaning up messes; and Janet, his nurse who tends to him each week.
But these things pale in contrast to the gratitude to God for the gift of His Son. Dad knows Christ. God will call him home someday soon. That will be difficult, but there is a lasting peace knowing that God has Dad wrapped in His loving arms and will carry him safely Home. Hanging on the wall beside his bed are the words to one of his favorite Swedish hymns.
Children of the Heav’nly Father safely in His bosom gather.
Nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’er was given.