It is a year ago since my mother died and I made that painful journey down to sit at side during her last illness.
That was the hardest trip I have ever made, grieving the whole way for the mother I knew and not sure if she would still be alive when I got there. Walking into her hospital room and seeing her face light up with delight made it well worth the rigours of the journey. Waiting beside her bed for the inevitable, watching her slowly fade away. The images of that hospital room are indelibly etched on my mind.
Not long before Mum died we had celebrated her 90th birthday for which I put together a photo album of memories. That book has been a wonderful bless to me. As I look through its pages I am taken beyond the pain she suffered in her last days to images of love and laughter and joy. I am reminded that the pain of loss only hurts so much because we love and have been loved deeply.
I was never more aware of the love of God surrounding all of us and holding us in the eternal presence than then. My mother and all those who loved her are in God’s care. And in the midst of that comfort I catch a glimpse of the depths of God’s incredible love. God’s heart aches not just for the grief we suffer when loved ones die but for every hurting and suffering person in our world.
As we grow in our ability to love God that too makes us vulnerable to hurt and pain within ourselves and within others. Hopefully it makes us respond with compassion rather than indifference, with caring rather than anger and rejection. In in that response we find healing and the ability to love even more deeply. Listen to how John Birch expresses it in this beautiful prayer
John Birch posted this beautiful prayer which has been a great comfort to me as I travel.
True healing is more
of flesh and blood,
or knitting of bone to bone.
True healing is wholeness,
where body, soul and spirit unite.
True healing is peace,
the knowledge of God’s presence,
a hope that knows no end.
True healing cries ‘Father,
not my will but yours.’
True healing knows love
a love that casts out fear.
True healing overcomes,