I'm thankful for a happy ending. My grandfather passed away late Sunday night (technically Monday morning, I suppose) and it was truly a happy ending. He was an incredible man. He lived a full 88 years of life, and he lived them well. He moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona (just minutes from my parents' house) in December, so we got to spend a lot of time with him in the last couple months of his life. He started feeling sick on Saturday night and went to the hospital, so we had an indication that things weren't great and all got to spend a lot of time with him on his last day. My aunt even had time get to AZ from Kansas City before he passed. And he took his last breaths, comfortably, with all of us holding him, telling him "I love you", praying together, and listening to his favorite song "It is well with my soul". While it is sad, and we will miss him dearly, I am so thankful for such a happy ending.
I'm thankful for the cross. Death can be sad. But when the person that dies is a believer, it's only sad for those of us left on this side of heaven. My grandfather knew Jesus. He believed that God sent his only son to die on the cross for our sins, and he had a personal relationship with Him. The best day of my grandpa's life was on Sunday. He was ready to go home, and I'm certain he's never felt joy like he did when he ran to meet his Savior face to face. I could not be more thankful, and joyful, about that reunion!
I'm thankful for humor. For those of you that know my family, you know that there is very little that will prevent us from joking around. In fact, there are very few subject matters and even fewer life situations that escape our humor. And man am I thankful for it. To be able to sit in a hospital room in a situation that could be very tense, yet have the ability to joke and laugh, it makes my heart so full. My grandpa felt "pretty miserable", yet he was cracking jokes as he laid there. Waiting in the hall during procedures, we had to keep our giggles down as to not disrupt his peers in the ICU. Sitting in his room after he had passed, even as death sat present in front of us, we found humor wherever it could be found. None of us take life too seriously, especially in some of life's most critical junctions. And I am really thankful that that is the case. A good laugh seems to make all things in life feel ok.
I'm thankful for opportunities to learn and to teach. This one may get heavy, but I'll go there. I'm thankful that in my grandfather's death, I was able to learn and to teach. I have never been present when someone has died, and I have never seen different aspects of the funeral planning process. But I was able to experience those two things this week and in a huge way, I'm thankful. I think things can look really scary in our minds. Yet often times, when we see them played out, they are ok, and in some ways, beautiful. Being married to someone with a terminal illness (even if they claim they will live forever - right, Ronnie?!) can bring a lot of questions surrounding death, dying, and details after dying. I'm actually thankful I got to see some of it played out this week because, well, it all felt ok! And I'm REALLY thankful for that. I'm also thankful that it gave me the opportunity to teach. Mckenna is young and doesn't get it, at all. But I know our words, attitudes, and actions will be buried somewhere deep in her little subconscious. I'm not sure what the future holds for any of us, but I am really thankful that I had an opportunity to have conversations with her about salvation, death, and the joy of going to heaven. I think we make death too sad and scary in our culture. We have a personal relationship with God, I think death should be celebrated, not feared. And I hope Mckenna can truly believe that in all of her life experiences.
Mandi said that she had a lot to be thankful for and what she was sending me was going to be longer than usual. I decided to read her's before writing mine. After reading what she's thankful for this week, I think it may be best that I just tell you how much I love and respect my wife. I am so lucky and blessed to have her be my partner in crime and mother to my child. I love you honey.
What about you? What are you thankful for today?