Pam and I spent the weekend with our parents: Pam with her mother and I with my father. Her father died only a year ago or so, and my mother is gone fifteen years now. Both our parents—vigorous in their old age—have suffered setbacks in the last six months. Pam’s mother is on hospice, and my father needs a wheel chair.
This is a precious time of life. The time is short. We know that. But more—the time is sweet. There is a pureness to the end. All the ten thousand things that used to matter, don’t anymore. What I saw in my father some years ago, Pam is now seeing in her mother. The old lines that had to be policed and protected and enforced are fading away. The old causes of conflict seem irrelevant now as if, How could we have spent years in our silent corners, refusing to speak about that? The old separators are disappearing. It doesn’t much matter anymore how we spend our money or how we raise our kids or whether or not we came home for Christmas that one year.
This is the sweetness that is squeezed inevitably from the shortness.
The thing is, the time is short for all of us. We don’t have to wait until “the end” to find that sweetness, that pureness of life. All we have to do is to let go of old divisions and care more about people than we do about keeping score. Or, we could say, it’s preferring love above all else—more than our carefully honed identity and reputation, more than our rightness (even when we are actually, objectively right!), more than our need for justice and fairness and order and decency and all the other hobgoblins of the mind.
Driving home yesterday I had ten hours to think. If that’s where I’m naturally headed anyway—to a relenting at the end—why not start now?
Good words, David. Why not start now? Yes, indeed. Why not?
Karen W. Dewar says
Timely, David. Thank you.
Marty gilbert says
How simply and crystal clear your words! Thank you. We waited too long with all our parents – with deep regrets – and are so grateful to be aware of the gift of giving our love to those close…NOW!
Beautiful words, David. Thank you for the reminder that “the greatest of these is love.”
Barbara Miley says
Beautifully said, David. Yes! WHY NOT?? Time is short to make up for lost ground…
Suzy Seymour says
What a wonderfully gentle reminder that I needed to hear! Thank you!
Susie Middleton says
Oh, my, this is beautiful and brought some tears up. I have been having these same thoughts lately and am happy I will see both of my parents in just a few weeks. More and more I wonder why all that other stuff mattered. Not sure why it takes us so long to figure out that we are all who we are and we should just let things and people be. My thoughts are with you both. And thank you for this, David.
David Anderson says
Thanks, Susie–and blessings as you make that trip home . . . .
Ginny Lovas says
This is beautiful – and so very true.
Love and hold them while you can.
It’s funny how I thought of so many people who should read this and wondered how I could anonymously send it to them — haha! But there I go again. This was for me to digest and carry in my heart. Sweet and Pure. Thank you, David.
David Anderson says
haha indeed. You’re so honest to admit what we all think–someone ELSE really needs to hear this…
Fred Elliott says
So wonderfully crafted. I read this and think of my parents both of whom died suddenly, unexpectedly and far too young. That untimeliness makes your thoughts even more powerful – cherish the moments!
Lovely awareness…Dad passed last year at 96…Momis doing well at 94 and I am learning to live more in the “present”…resting in Jesus…and using that right-side of the brain!! Thanks for all your gifted writings!