Where are we looking?
Last week I was in Louisiana with my older sister attending to my father’s physical and medical needs. He suffered a stroke and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This morning, when I was walking on this gorgeous Tennessee fall morning, I kept hearing the line in Luke 24:5 that the angels said to Mary Magdalene when she found the empty tomb on Easter morning: “He is God not of the dead, but of the living.”
All week, I had to adjust to a new image of my father. I kept wanting him to go back to the way he was and experienced deep sadness as I realized that he would never be the same. In fact, because of the nature of Alzheimer’s my father will continue to deteriorate. While grief is a necessary part of the process, I realized this morning that I must stay present for the living. My father is still very much alive. He still has his sense of humor and fire. Although he is losing our history, he still has many fond memories and stories.
When I take what Jesus teaches to heart, I hear his message that tells me to stay present in today. When I keep my eyes on the living, I see the joy and beauty that is present even in the most difficult situations. Jesus constantly said in a myriad of ways that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. He also showed us that life is woven into death and vice versa and I get to choose what I pay attention to. When I look for the living among life, I find his promise of heaven right here where I am and today I am grateful for that.