Yesterday’s gone. All the yesterdays, blown away like feathers in the wind. All gone except for memory, sweet ones tenderly tucked away, the worst hidden in the mind’s deepest crevices. Regrets.
Before heading to the BMW, I stopped at the Gloucester Post Office to mail two packages: one to friends in the DC area, another to Ashley, Jud’s nurse at MGH on Lunder 10. She wrote over Christmas. It felt good to be remembered. She spoke of Jud and said, “I was blessed to have taken care of him,” as were we to have shared those weeks with Ashley, loving nurse dispensing God’s tender mercy.
Sweet memories left me unprepared for one from the depths, Jud saying, “Don’t go.” Not out loud but up from one of those deep crevices came a memory of an early evening night on Lunder 10. I, masked and gloved, Jud, weak and vulnerable, asking me to stay. While I can’t recall what I said, I remember that I went and headed home to Gloucester or the apartment on the North End. Where isn’t as important as that I went. I can think of a lot of excuses, even reasons like the fact that we weren’t allowed to stay overnight unless we stayed awake all night. I couldn’t.
Like a band of stuck music , the words played over and over and over: “Don’t go.” Suddenly I saw myself as one of the disciples, asleep, while Jesus prayed and agonized in Gethsemane. He woke them with a sober question,”Could you not keep watch one hour?””(Mark 14:37)And that left me sobbing in my small Prius-gethsemane. Before I could move on, I needed to take my empty bowl, fill it with my sins, sorrows and sobs and offer it to Jesus. All the while, Jud seemed to wrap me in understanding love. Often I gave him cause to remind me,”Don’t waste time rethinking decisions. Get up and go on.” But sometimes some decisions are worth a second thought. Ponder. And I did and do.
After returning home, I settled into Jud’s favorite chair and continued reading The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis. My simple cry, “Lord, have mercy.” And for no earthly reason, God’s love and mercy began washing me in words by Pope Francis, which is no small matter for a Baptist preacher’s kid.
“The message of Jesus is mercy…it is the Lord’s strongest message…the Lord never tires of forgiving: never! Go to Jesus: he likes to hear about these thing. He forgets, he has a special knack for forgetting… It is we who tire of asking him for forgiveness… Mercy is God’s identity card.”
Sleep came last night with one Advil and a large dose of Mercy. Pondering brought a loving reminder that there likely will come other times when I will hear, “Don’t go” not from Jud but others who may need me, or you, “to keep watch one hour.”
May the God of Mercy grant grace to stay.
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I trust your reflections are as healing for you as they are encouraging and challenging to me. At the 2010 Lucerne Conference, that Jud attended, they made a wonderful recording on “God have mercy.” Hopefully, you have this.
I love what Dale said in the above comment – I was trying to figure out how to tell you that your messages bless me so much. And I truly hope they are healing for you as well. Thank you dear Jan. Love you.
A thoughtful reminder to those of us who still can choose to stay yet often choose to go and not stay awhile. Thank you!
I have had “don’t go” moments, too and they have haunted me. Thank you for sharing yours. Love, Susan
This post put me in tears Jan! My regrets are linked to my mother who passed away right around the time that your mother dies. I remember telling her that she should go and have a cup of coffee with your mother when she was in heaven. She had read your mothers book. : ) that was not the regret…there are many times that I ask the Lord to tell mom that I am sorry for something or other…. words said while growing up and being oblivious to how it might have hurt her. I had also told her that I did not want to put her in a nursing home and it turned out that we did have to do just that. A day or two after we had settled her in her room- I told her that I loved her she said “It doesn’t seem like it” and she was angry. How those words get replayed!!
Even tough I know that Mom would be telling me that she understands… it is sometimes hard to let mercy wash over me. Thanks for sharing -It is somehow soothing to know others understand fully how that feels! Your posts have been such a blessing. Thank you!!