“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
– Jesus (Matthew 6:34 MSG)
He was coughing more. I didn’t notice it. He did. His weight loss was what finally caught my attention.
Something was wrong. We all awoke to it.
Through a progressive maze of doctor visits, we finally discovered it. Daddy had lung cancer. It was early January 2010 when the diagnosis became official. But by then, it had traveled too far, too fast, to be derailed.
Every few days he seemed weaker. Until the morning of Valentine’s Day 2010. He inhaled a last lungful of human air. Then let it go. It’s been heaven for him ever since.
But the clock kept ticking back home. Mama was falling deeper into her Alzheimer’s. She realized the love of her life—her husband since 1954—was absent. The memories were evaporating fast. Day by day, the pendulum clicked warnings.
Our family home since the 1960s was crammed full. Of belongings. Of memories. But no people. We did a first-run distribution of anything valuable or sentimental. We invited the oldest grandchild, my nephew Drew, to move in.
So we kept the house off the market. It wasn’t time. We all agreed.
Drew will be moving out this year, so it’s time to completely empty the house of our family’s stuff.
I guess God thinks now is better. God works in the now. A few months back I heard whisperings strong that God would use “now” as my One Word for 2015. I just didn’t know how.
So last Friday we gathered, my siblings and me, back at the house. We walked on the floors where we used to fight over the bathroom, used to giggle at the supper table, used to play pool in the basement.
Now is the time to sort through the past to prepare for the future.
I’m struggling more than I expected. It’s been five years, after all. Haven’t I done my grieving work? But now, this is different.
- How do we sift through our parents’ treasures, one touch at a time, and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to trash?
- How do we put a value on two people’s lives that loved us unconditionally for so many years?
- Who are we to pass judgment on what has worth and what doesn’t?
Why did God choose now?
Because now is always the moment where God fully lives. Yes, he’s in the past. Yes, he will be in the future.
But now is when his Spirit breathes actively. Now is the moment he moves.
And now is his time of choice.
So my job—and my joy—in 2015 will be to stay awake in the now. Not just in cleaning out my parents’ house, but in whatever moments God puts me in.
Now is where God’s presence is strongest. Now is where I want to live.
Linger a little longer here.
In this, whatever it is.
Right here, whatever is in front of you.
And right now.
It’s the perfect time.
“If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment. ‘What does this moment ask of me?’ is always the right question.”
– Richard Rohr
* * *
Our family home sold in August. A new family now owns it. We pray they have as many good memories there as we did.
What is God calling you to do in the now?
Any tips for cleaning out your parents’ house?
- What I’m into in January ’15
- 2015 Reading Challenges