Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
~ Matthew 11:28 - 30
This morning I am making plans to meet with a family that I have known for a few years now as they place a loved one on hospice. I have been on several journeys with them, as I have served as both a chaplain and pastor for them. A few years ago I met the matriarch of the family when she was on hospice, who smiled each time I entered the home as she welcomed me. Her husband, one of the true heroes of WWII, who marched into Japan just days after the atomic bomb changed the world forever, would show me photos that he took, and share how "God walked with us."
I soon met their grandson, who would come and watch football games with his grandfather, and help to organize plants on the patio. The two were so much fun to watch, as they would root for opposing teams, and laugh at poorly delivered jokes.
On Easter morning before going to the church I serve, I made the trip to Sugar Land to break bread with them and celebrate with the words, "He is Risen!" Within eighteen months, I would preside at the funeral for all three of these people.
Funny how life is like that. Funny how my life just seems to be full of people in the final chapters of their life. While hospice is like that, it is also about helping others through these chapters.
I know today when I enter the home of this family, the familiar, "Pastor Todd," will be the name they will call me. The name given to me by the matriarch who refused to call me, "Todd." I will once again be listening to how another final chapter is being written, and I will once again hold their hands as we pray.
These are "normal" days for me. In many ways, I am reminding myself that Jesus was not afraid of, or overwhelmed by things like this. Instead, he invites us to bring it all before him. The words of Matthew seem to resonate within me as I think of the day before me... "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-30)
These are the words that we can carry with us as we all remain in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
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.