A = Adoration (digging who Father God is)
C = Confession (noticing He and I are dissimilar)
T = Thanksgiving (celebrating His gifts despite this)
S = Supplication (asking for more)
My wife's grandfather died in his sleep yesterday morning at the age of 90.
After several hours of beating around the bush and feigning normalcy, I broke it to my daughters, there in the open doorway of the minivan, all three still strapped in. "Daddy has something very sad to tell you." I eyed the three blond heads, hating that they had to hear what I was about to say. "More Papa has been very sick and ouchy. His body was so broken that this morning, he died."
The 3-year-old twins absorbed the news in silence, unsure what to make of it. Brielle--whose increasingly pointed questions had finally convinced me it was time to talk--puckered her lips, her eyes flooding with tears, and began to wail. "He is sleeping now," I went on, "and the next thing he sees will be Jesus waking him up. And then we'll be able to see him and play with him. And he'll be able to dance with you and throw you in the air." Brielle giggled through her tears at the thought of this. "And play hide-and-seek with you and do all kinds of fun things that he couldn't do before because his body was too broken."
Brielle cried for two or three minutes. I passed her Kleenex and stretched over the middle seat of the minivan trying to snuggle my face up against hers and stroke her hair. The twins processed it all without comment. As a brief thunderstorm wets the ground and disperses, Brielle's tears came and went. She was on to the next topic, and it was time to go into Souplantation to lunch with Papa's surviving wife, daughters and granddaughter.
I would apologize that yesterday's events so dominate this day of supplication--of obeying Jesus' command, "Ask and you will receive...." But prayer never happens in a vacuum; real prayers flow from souls scraping their boils as they sit upon the dung heap, from the fatherless and the widows. So be it.
Day 4: Supplication
- Comfort my wife and kids and all in the family who mourn the loss of this great fallen father.
- Lord, please give peace, or at least the hope of peace, to all children who have lost their fathers.
- Give me a sense of urgency in my time with my own father and with my kids.
- Remind me that everything I do leaves a legacy; nothing is only for now.
- Help us be both wise and courageous in the conversations we have with the kids about this, the first real death they've experienced in their short lives.
- Give us grace to be the difference in the world that Papa was in his 9 decades.
- Help the girls to relate rightly to death, not fearing what is on the other side, but seizing every second of what we have while we live.
- Use this time of mourning and remembering to bring the family together. Deliver them from the temptation to let their grief be a wedge; let it be a bridge instead.
- Give me a long life, Lord--at least long enough to give these girls a fair start, to frontload them with the love a soul needs to thrive in the true love wasteland that is our world.
- Teach us to be content.
- Remind us that health is a fragile gift, and that following your guidance on healthful living--like following all the rest of your Law--is less a duty than the tearing open of that gift. Help us to take delight in caring for the temple.
- Protect my wife from harm; home could not be home without her.
- Hold Nana close to you in these excruciating days. Help her to find your grace to be sufficient for her, your strength made perfect in her weakness.
- Give me a hunger and thirst for You. Keep on melting the ice on my heart for you (and thanks for mixed metaphors).