This painful, loving life

I didn’t wash feet today, or on Thursday. I didn’t keep vigil or attend a meditation.

As I wrote a few days ago, my week has been one of ordinary life. A most holy (unholy) week.

That has continued into this Easter weekend, but as I’ve spent time with those in my extended family I’ve bathed eyes, and followed up pain medication; decorated a room with spring flowers and brightly coloured drawings of Easter eggs. Made savoury pies and bought bite sized cakes to whet the appetite of someone who is fading away before our eyes.

It’s been painful and sad. I already felt raw from an awareness of the Easter story, but I feel as though another layer of skin has been removed over these past two days.  The person whose eyes I’ve bathed, and pain I’ve watched is my father in law.

I’ve known this man for more than half my life. He matters to me, and yet for 18 months whilst I didn’t want to be married to his son anymore I chose not to be part of his life either. I kept my distance from this part of my ‘family’.

but now I’m back. I’m here. Committed to his son and so committed to him.

Today I asked his permission to touch his face, to gently bathe his eyes which seemed to have become painful. To do the things which no one else seemed to be quite able to do for him. He trusted me.He let me come close. He let me help him.

I didn’t want to do it for him. Not because I don’t care about this man, but because I do. I don’t want this to be his life right now. I don’t want to have to face the pain. I wish I could say that this doesn’t matter to me, but it does. I know that I am putting my heart in a vulnerable place every time I reach out to him and say through supplying him with sweet treats, or flowers, or warm water on his eyes, that I love him.

Love hurts. We open ourselves to so much pain when we love. Not just from hurts that are caused through bad relationships but the pain that becomes ours because of illness or death. The pain of watching those we love face difficult things.

And yet somehow this is what it is to be fully human. I know that I am ( to quote an REM song) at ‘my most beautiful’ when I am loving others. It hurts but I know it’s when my life has meaning and purpose.

That shouldn’t surprise me. As a follower of Jesus I say that I want to live as He lived.

He loved to the point of pain.

Loving to the point of pain. That’s what Easter is about.

And what if resurrection doesn’t come ?

I believe it has. I believe it will.

I don’t think this life, this painful loving life we lead is all that there is.

This is the beginning. Not the end. 

linking with Lisha Epperson and #givemegrace this morning

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6 thoughts on “This painful, loving life

  1. But my friend you ARE washing someone’s feet. Washing feet is about reaching out in love and serving someone else. I know you don’t want to be caring for him in this time but what you are giving him is a holy gift!

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  2. It is so hard to care for someone in those final days. This week made one year that we lost my mother-in-law to Alzheimer’s. As hard as it may be, you will never regret tending to your FIL at this time. And you will never be more like Jesus. Praying for you this morning. May God continue to give you all you need in the days ahead. Blessings!

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  3. Your words are so moving and SUCH a picture of the cross. You are stretching out your limbs- to the point of pain, in the name of love. And it’s a huge risk, and an act of worship. Thanks for sharing your testimony and your gift of writing. Both are powerful. Have a blessed Easter.

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