Unexpected things happen.
It's, ironically, to be expected that you can't predict or expect what will ebb and flow in and out of your life day in and day out.
Or in my current case, who.
A couple weeks ago, I got on a plane, headed home to say goodbye to a man, I am now realizing, I assumed would live forever.
My Papa had a passion made of fire for Jesus, and it's been irrefutable to nearly every person who's ever been near him. He literally has a Jesus sign outside his home, that has caused dozens of people, maybe even hundreds over the years, to slow down, pull over, cry, ask, or repent.
As he aged, he just became more surrendered and saturated in the Gospel, that even when his mind was wandering in the caverns of his subconscious, he was still telling people about Jesus.
His body was literally wasting away and his mind disappearing, but what naturally overflowed from him was grace. Love. Compassion.
People came to pray with him on his death bed and no sooner would they walk in before he was asking to pray over them.
But the capsule of his earthly life has come to a close, only to be awakened by the warmth of his Savior's face, beaming I'm sure, and singing the words, "Well done. My good and faithful servant. Welcome home."
On a Sunday. His favorite day of the week.
For four days, I sat by his bedside, reading his Bible, singing him songs, helping my grandma with whatever she needed.
For four days I watched my Papa lay there, unable to put a full string of words together. He looked so quiet and peaceful but you could tell he was always thinking.
One moment I'll never forget, we adjusted his pillow and he winced. "You ok papa?" I asked. He hummed. It was his way of acknowledging he could hear you but has no response.
"I love you," I chimed. He hummed again. And then the corner of his eyes started to mist.
"Papa are you crying?" He hummed a third time.
"What's wrong?" I asked, knowing he probably wouldn't tell me. His tears were now forming a tiny puddle in the crease of his eye lids.
"You're okay Papa. You're ok," I said with no idea if it was true or not. Was he in pain? Was he scared? Was he happy and being sentimental?
The house was bustling with family and lunch was ready but I didn't want to leave. Something inside me started quivering and I did the only thing I know how to do in moments of loss. I sang.
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus there's just something about that name. Master, Savior Jesus like a fragrance after the rain..."
My grandpa relied on no one more than he relied on Jesus. Despite his short comings, everyone knew he knew he needed Jesus. Everyone knew their relationship was sweet and intimate.
I continued, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus let all heaven and earth proclaim," as his tears finally fell, he hummed a fourth time. Only this time his lips pursed, and he held it out to let me know he was singing with me. After all, he was the one who taught me.
"Kings and kingdoms, will all pass away..."
In his mind, that has been renewed everyday for nearly 80 years, he was singing with me.
"But there's something about that Name."
After we finished singing the same song for about 15 minutes, I caressed his face and said it again, "See Papa, you're okay. Jesus is here. You're okay."
"Yea," he moaned. "Yea."
And while this is all unexpected for me, I've never felt more close to heaven than I do now.
I've never felt more gratitude for eternity than I do right now.
I'm so thankful he taught me, this isn't the end. It's just a quick pause.
I love you Papa, and when it's my turn to finish my race into eternity, second to my Savior's hug, I'll be expecting that familiar whistle of yours to welcome me home.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life." | John 3:16