Sunday, January 20, 2013

This Week's Practices

Never too old to learn new tricks---but maybe new dance moves??

The brochure said to call this number to get signed up for classes starting in January. The call went through, the registration was completed and my husband and I stood nervously in the local park's carpeted community room. We checked out the other couples who were arriving, our classmates.

As instruction started, it was soon apparent which couples had more experience than we. But we were soon immersed in concentration, rarely watching anything but our own two feet.  One...Two...Three, then OneTwo...Three, and even One to Ten, eyes downward, listening to the beat. An hour later after counting steps and pointing toes, I had mixed feelings.  It was fun to try something new and do something physically motivating. And we weren't the only green horns. But oh, how far we had to go to even look like we were doing something you might be able to label as dancing!

We waited until the night before our next class to try some practice at home. Amazing how repetition grew confidence and the moves felt smoother. (Although we had no mirror to confirm this!) At class our small success seemed short-lived as some twirls were introduced into the dance routine. Dizzy, ditzy, clutzy we bumbled around the room, narrowly missing collisions with other twosomes and humbling taking tips from the instructor who interrupted our galumphing attempts at spinning.  Dreams of the two of us floating in effortless movement across some future dance floor, enjoying an evening of romantic revelry, was slowly fading.

But we will stick it out! And we will get better. If nothing else, our brains will benefit from learning something new!

Sharing Love and Truth---may my heart love others as He loves me!

This was visit number one. My husband's co-worker was dying from cancer. I had never met the man before my husband asked me to join him in making the house call.  Jim was pleasant, appeared to be coping with his diagnosis and his wife, Cindi, was a great hostess.  I enjoyed their company.  As we drove away we both wondered if they knew our God and how much he cared for them. Should we have said more? What and how?

It was time to go again.  I wrestled with feeling the weight of the urgency of imminent death for Jim, but not knowing how to transition the conversation into Godly things.  I resolved to at least pray for him before we left. That night the living room was lined with people I had never met: Jim's father-in-law, his step father-in-law, his mother-in-law, his 20 year old step daughter and her boyfriend, and his sweet wife who seemed so strong and very hospitable to all of us.  The conversation never came close to spiritual things and it was time for us to go. It was now or never, so I asked Jim, if I could pray for him.  Silence.  He responded with a nod and I sat down next to him and touched his arm.  (the father-in-law on the other side of him, reached out and laid his hand on Jim's shoulder!) I asked for God to strengthen him, let him know of God's love and for strength and peace for all in the room and to heal Jim.  I heard several mumbles of thank yous as I finished, and before we left, Cindi asked me to ask my church to pray for her sister's husband who also had cancer.

But what if Jim doesn't know you, Father? Give me another chance to ask him.

On the next visit I again asked at the end to pray for him, but first I asked if he knew whether he was ready to go. From earlier conversation I learned that Cindi's sister and husband, who she wanted prayer for, were very connected to a church. Cindi had even mentioned how her brother-in-law's illness was testing their faith, but that he knew he was ready to die when it was his time. I referenced that conversation when I asked Jim if he was ready.  He answered that he had been brought up Christian so he felt like he'd be ok.  I prayed again for God's presence, healing and peace. I had thought about leaving a Bible, but decided not to.

What was so difficult about this for me? I cared for Jim. I wanted him to be with Jesus when he died, but I also worried about saying too much or saying it the wrong way, or sounding religious. Very petty worries when someone's life hangs in the balance!

How out of practice I am, Father! I want these kind of opportunities to bring people into your presence, into your kingdom; please bring me more chances and teach me what to say and how to say it.

My husband and I continued to pray for Jim.  This week the word came that Jim was failing. Others from my husband's work place were anxious to pay their final respects. So we waited until last night when Cindi said we could come. It may be awhile yet before death, but it may be soon, too.  The day had been filled with visitors and when we arrived two others were there. We had a nice visit.  Jim was in and out of alertness, but sometimes joked and added to the conversation. The others left and God opened up a small window of time for prayer before another couple of friends were to come. Before I prayed, I asked two questions: whether Jim believed God had sent Jesus to die for his sins and if he had asked Jesus to forgive his sins.  He answered yes to both!

Thank you, Father, that Jim has called upon you.  May you be glorified in him. And thank you for being patient with me and good  in all of this. I don't know where Cindi stands with you, but I want to continue relating to her. Help me to know how to share friendship and support in the days ahead.

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Thanks for sharing your response!