My neighbor is receiving hospice care at home and is very near death. Her family has been in and out all weekend, caring for her and each other. She is such a sweet lady, always very friendly to me and easy to talk to. Whenever I would see her sitting outside her home she would always have her phone close by. Her phone was her link to the outside world. As her vision slowly faded and heart became less and less able to function her phone was her connection to family.
On Saturday morning the granddaughter (around 10-11 years of age) came to get me. She said one of the family members asked her to come, that her grandmother was “getting very tired and we need prayer.” I went and greeted my neighbor, who was barely conscious, and the family gathered around the hospice bed. We had a prayer and my neighbor held my hand tightly. I’ve been in this position many times before, standing at a bedside as death comes close. It really is Holy Ground; no words are really necessary, quiet comes easily.
A little later I hear a guitar playing. At first I thought a stereo was up to loud, and then I realized that a grandson was playing. And then he began to sing Vince Gill’s song I hear a lot at funerals “Go rest high on that mountain”. It was an incredible moment. My neighbor opened her eyes, the young man came to the foot of her bed and sang this song to her. Several of the family joined in and a peace and a calm came over the home. Young children, who had been running around confused as to what was going on, got settled with their mom and listened.
When I stopped by Sunday night, my neighbor was sitting up more alert than the day before! She was able to have pizza earlier that day because all she wanted was to have a pizza party with her family. And she got her wish! Her heart condition won’t be getting any better but God gave her some very special moments with her family. Death had been slightly moved to the shadows for at least a day or so while my neighbor continued to say she was ready to meet Jesus!
As we launch into a busy day, a busy new year may we do so comforted by the fact that our God is with us and has placed us next to other people in our lives. Our neighbors are not just those we live next to, they are everywhere and certainly in our Via de Cristo! This year join me in praying for greater love and care for neighbor! Jesus taught “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30). Are there ways you can love your VDC neighbor (s) today??
From the Vince Gill song “Go rest high on that mountain, your work on earth is done. Go to heaven a shoutin’ love for the Father and the Son!”
NOW THAT THE NEW YEAR IS HERE IT IS TIME TO PLAN TO JOIN YOUR “NEIGHBORS” IN THE NATIONAL GATHERING HELD THIS JULY 21-24! SAVE THE DATE, REGISTRATION MATERIALS ARE COMING!