He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
~ Psalm 91:1
My cousin John died yesterday afternoon while holding his hand, looking into his beautiful blue eyes, and telling him it was "okay," and, "I love you."
This has been a sacred journey for the two of us. This morning as I was getting ready to leave to go visit my hospice patients, I noticed this image on my dresser. The shadow reaching from the cross over the heart that John's doctor had placed in my hand one day last week. She shared that I could continue to carry the small heart in my pocket, in a way, carrying him with me. As I looked at this image, I sensed that the cross was significant. It was at the cross where Christ died, but also where God was about to provide God's greatest of miracles, the resurrection.
The small cross in my bedroom reminds me that the greatest commandment is to love one another as God has loved us. I realized the shadow of the cross was extending over more than just the ceramic heart that was the reminder of John. It was also present for me. The cross for Jesus was now behind him, and John's death had also been realized. For me, I was still facing the cross, knowing that one day I will make the journey as well.
The cross reminds me that faith emerges from these moments where we come face to face with our own pain. I look at the cross and suddenly I am befriending my pain, and realizing my own truth. In many ways I realize that I am the living witness of Jesus, and of the last moments of John's life where I am reminded that among faith, hope, and love, that love will always remain the greatest of these things.
For now, I stand before the cross, trusting in God's faithfulness. Not one person from the past, present, or future is excluded from the great passage of Jesus from death to eternal life.
I am reminded on this day to embrace my grief as Jesus embraced the cross, and as I do, I hear the words of the old hymn, "The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back, no turning back."
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.