For we are all actively dying

The call told me that Papa was "actively dying."  "Who isn't," I thought.

But I knew what they meant.  Papa had been ill for a while and becoming weaker, and there are clear indications when that sacred time is near.  Last summer it almost seemed like it was time.  I guess we can miscalculate.  Then I hurried to go see him.  This time, however, was different.  Of course, I wanted to go; I could not get there fast enough.  There was no way, I thought, that the responsibilities I had could have been passed off on such very short notice.  No one ever dies conveniently, someone once told me.

I wrestled, actively within myself, with the decision to make the trip or not.  Suddenly, I remembered.

I cannot recall exactly why we did, but the night before Gloria and I had gone through a lot of our old pictures and got to watching our wedding video.  A VHS player still lives in our household for one reason.  Brittani watched the festivities with us, actively laughing along the way.  She was sure to share photos with her Facebook friends--to celebrate the love of our parents, of course.  Some of them thought we were observing our anniversary.  No, we're just that in love. 

Well, Grandma and Papa were both with us there in 1996 when we got married.  I remembered they laughed and danced the dollar dance, although there is no video evidence of that.  As the night's events came to a close for Gloria and I we took the stage to say our thank yous.   It was pretty routine.  We thanked family and friends who "made all this possible."  We were so young and unimaginative.  That day, though, was special for my grandparents for another reason as well.  They shared our anniversary.  I know; better said, we shared their anniversary.  They had been at it already for some time.  So, for the past 15 years, I have had an easy reminder to call my grandparents to wish them a happy anniversary.  Lord knows I would not forget that day!

Before we left the stage we recognized Grandma and Papa.  Everyone turned and applauded.  What are the odds of getting married on your grandparents' anniversary?  It is kind of like having a child on your birthday.  Yep, I did that, too.  Quickly, the camera zoomed in on them waving, I think, proudly.  Yes, I am biased, but I think that anniversary was a good one for them.

I chose not to make the trip to see him last week.  But I did see him.  I imagine there are many gifts from God that go unnoticed, unrecognized.  And, yes, it was a blessing that Skype was available the night before he passed away last Friday.  The video production was not the best, but fifteen years later it helped me see my grandfather like I will always remember him, smiling and proud.   I am most thankful to God for that brief visit I had with him one last time before he passed away.

Although he could not speak, the last words he heard and tried to speak were that of our Lord's prayer.  In that prayer, I believe, Jesus was teaching us how to pray and how to live.  For we are all actively dying, and God's grace has given us the way to prepare for the new life God has for us, as we pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

A Texas flag flew in his honor over our state's capitol on Friday.  Condolences from our senator and state representative were sent. His death made the local news.  A wreath was given in his honor during halftime at the High Island Cardinals game--he loved that school.  All this attention?  He would probably be a bit uncomfortable.  I imagine he would not even be too pleased with what I am writing.  That was the kind of person he was.

Joe Nathaniel Faggard actively lived his life, and he will be missed by many people.  My heart hurts as I continue writing, but I take great joy in knowing that now his faith is sight.  Amen.

**Faggard, Bolivar Peninsula icon, dead at 92

**Guidry News Obituary

2 Responses :

Sandra said...

OMG i bet yall were lol-ing at my then singing in the wedding video! So embarrassing! Sorry about your grampa :-(

john said...

You and our cameraman had stage time.