Saturday, April 19, 2008

Press On

In back: My sister, Lou, Aunt Louise, Aunt Vera,
Cousins Tootie and Delight
In front: Me, Uncle Andy and my stepmom, Kay
Lou, Dad and Aunt Fanny

On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit with my dad, my stepmom, Aunt Vera, Aunt Louise, Aunt Fanny, Aunt Mable and Uncle Andy. I admire, respect and love each one. Most are close to 90 years but Aunt Louise is a young 85 and Aunt Mabel just celebrated 100 years in March.

Because of them and Aunt Arvada who lives in VA, I am thankfully not quite the oldest generation. I have empathy for them knowing that I am next in line.

We saw Aunt Fanny as she worked through her physical therapy session. I asked her if she thought she was getting stronger. With a grin on her face, she told me, “Oh, I am strong now. They worry that I will run away.”

I prayed with sweet, sweet Aunt Mable. (I forgot to take a picture.) Her life has been very difficult. She is ready to go to heaven and wondered why it is taking her so long to go. Her husband died when she had three little girls and the oldest was three years. His death was tragic and after all of these years, she spoke wistfully about how it might have been prevented. I told her that she had lived well and she said, “Well, I tried.”

As I drove home, I praised God for each one. They teach simple lessons of contentedness and frugality. They laugh and tease and enjoy a good story. They do not complain. They remain engaged in life. They pray. Their faith in God is so natural that it is part of them. There is no separation possible. God is present.

And I am blessed—and my children—and their children—though they cannot know or comprehend it.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. Luke 1:50

I was reminded of the song, Find Us Faithful. In googling for those lyrics, I found a
blog post by the same name written two years ago by David Ainsley. It resonated with exactly what I was thinking because of the challenge of my dear relatives and also, I think, because I have been training for the 5K run. David used another translation of Hebrews but I liked how it was written in The Message.

. . .The Christian race is unlike any other race we know. It is a race not against time, or each other - for what does it profit a man that he should arrive at any point ahead of another, except to encourage those coming behind to persevere?

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that
exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That
will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Hebrews 12: 1-3 [The Message]

No, the race is not against time, nor each other, but it is a race for distance. Yet, it is also a race unlike any other, because it is not a competition. It is a race in which the sole purpose of being ahead of the man beside you is to encourage him to keep the faith, to "press on toward the goal to win the prize (the prize to which we who are sons of God are all entitled for we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ) for which God has called me (us) heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Phi 3:14).

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