Tuesday, February 28, 2012

28th February 2012

                     Copyright © 2010 Microsoft Corporation
In one sense, I’ve had a pretty good week. Ok, my health has been rather up and down, and I’ve been forced to slow right down to try and make a recovery from last week’s Chronic Fatigue relapse. But thinking back I can’t recall getting particularly upset thinking about Jane for some time. My memory plays tricks though so I may have simply forgotten. Anyway, today I found myself remembering her quiet suffering through her final weeks of life. That’s not unusual of course, but the point is that today I allowed myself to cry again as I recalled that time. And it struck me that in some mysterious way I was almost crying on her behalf. Yes, Jane had unfulfilled dreams and even the start of new plans for her life when it became obvious that barring the Lord’s miraculous intervention she would soon be dying. But though we knew this for quite a long time, we both chose to embrace life in full measure rather than simply make plans for a funeral. Until her final hours this is very much how Jane lived… in the bright light of life rather than the shadow of death. So for example in her wardrobe I still have barely worn clothes she chose to buy shortly before she died. She couldn’t walk and hardly talk but thank God for online shopping, it made her happy for a day. There was one thing Jane needed to do though and eventually couldn’t. Because of the severity of her breathing problems she had to avoid all emotional expression. So no laughing or crying and eventually she couldn’t even talk as she struggled so much just to breathe. It became particularly hard when she had to stop having all visitors apart from our four children. That meant no grandkids, for example, which would have been really upsetting though she couldn’t show it. She really needed to cry but didn’t. So today I’m doing it for her, which may sound strange, but I’ve shed plenty of tears for my own loss and now it’s time to share in Jane’s! I just felt so sorry for her and the suffering she endured so very silently.

Unfortunately once the empathy taps were turned on I found myself caring about the plight of others, specifically in a semi-fictional setting. Trying to pass the time in as relaxing way as possible, yesterday I started watching Upstairs Downstairs on BBC iPlayer, so today it was episode two. One storyline engaged with the immigration of Jewish children into the UK after fleeing the Nazi pogrom, at the onset of the Second World War. Somehow I saw beyond the glamour of the latest TV series and into the lives of a group of very frightened and vulnerable children, thrust from their homes, separated from parents, and landing in a foreign country. Yet, of course, these were the fortunate ones. But I just felt so sorry for them all and shared a few of my tears for their plight, albeit 70 years ago. This evening I listened to a few minutes of the Archers as I was driving to my house group… and I had to check myself when I started to get upset over the completely fictional ‘Tony Archer’ nearly dying from a  heart attack! Emotions are a funny thing when let out to ‘play’. My dad has a repeat biopsy to face tomorrow after previous unclear results from a minor op a month ago. And he’s actually a real life WW2 child war evacuee from his then home near Dover. I’m taking him to hospital, so no tears whilst I’m driving!

Some situations deserve tears so I’m not afraid to cry and there’s something quite special about being able to share in the suffering of others. Understanding in this way is at the heart of compassion which in turn motivates action. But equally some situations demand a party where only tears of joy are shed. Yes, today Jane is in heaven preparing for the wonderful day when the Lord calls his ‘Bride’, The Church, to himself. And that day will herald an end to all suffering; one day there will be no more tears, and peace will reign complete upon planet Earth. Oh yes, one day soon the Lord Jesus will return!

1 Peter 4:12-13 ‘Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.’ (NLT)


drawingcloser said...

I was told as a kid not to cry, and that men don't cry so I forced myself to stop. That is until our wonderful Savior found me. I have shed many a tear since He got a hold of me. Jesus wants us to be compassionate and have a heart for Him. Now I say that real men cry. God bless bro


David Paine said...

Thanks, and of course John 11:35...'Jesus wept'!