Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mercy in Life and Death...

I have been thinking about Mercy a lot lately.

–noun, plural -cies for 4, 5.
1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one's power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.

2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.

3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, esp. to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.

4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.

5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

Mercy has a lot of definitions, but the thing that keeps sticking with me is how Mercy is doing something for someone, that they cannot do themselves. I'll go and say that the content of this entry is sensitive... something that is very present in my life right now, and it's one of the many lessons I have learned this year.

My grandfather is being taken over by cancer. He has lost so much weight that he shoulders and arms are just skin and bones. I go home every weekend to see him, and by seeing him on a week by week basis I think I see a more drastic picture of the change in him weekly. I cherish the moments that I have with him when I visit. I know he doesn't feel well, he has told me himself that he "feels poor". I don't know that he is suffering per say, but to see a man who I have admired and loved my entire life literally shrink... it breaks my heart. I don't want to live without him... but if living with him means that he begins suffer and feel worse... I would rather have the broken heart and miss him every day. That's what you do when you love someone right, you have to learn to let them go so that they can go on to bigger and better things... and what is bigger and better than Heaven? Where he can feel young and healthy and be with Daddy and his brothers and his parents and the Lord. He told me yesterday that he always really enjoyed cutting grass... and years and years ago Daddy wrote a song for Pawpaw titled, "The Lawnmower song." I can only remember the beginning of the song...

Will there be any lawnmowers in Heaven?
Any weed eaters he can strap on?
Will there be any blades he can sharpen,
in the shop out back of his home?
There are many verses in the bible about crying out or calling for mercy. Most that I read are asking for it, for someone else to help the individual in some way. Other verses are calling for no mercy for a community or for a nation in times of conflict. Here are some that I have read that I feel apply to the thoughts and feelings I have right now, in this moment in time.
Psalm 119:132Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name.
Psalm 143:1[ A psalm of David. ] O LORD, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.
Psalm 40:11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me.
Luke 1:50His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
Romans 9:16It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy.
(Translation... nothing depends on me, it all depends on HIM)
James 3:17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
So the questions is, do you ask for Mercy in healing or mercy in death? That's the hard reality here. No man is beyond healing if the Lord sees fit, but at this point at 88 years of age I would have to say that the latter is more merciful... no matter how hard that is to admit. The last few weeks have been special for me. I have spent a lot of time with my family, for shorts stints in time... but we have enjoyed our time together. We are there for Pawpaw when he wakes up and do any and everything he asks. Today I cooked his original (made up during the Navy) recipe of spaghetti and wienies (hot dogs). Sounds crazy to everyone else, but is a family favorite for us, and always will be. I love my family so much... and really hate to be away from them right now, but duty calls here at Samford. So as I sit here, 260 (ish) miles from home, here is my prayer for my grandfather and our family:
Lord, in my mind, the merciful thing to do would be to let him find out if there are any lawnmowers, but as a wise man (Daddy) once wrote, "His ways are not like ours. His thoughts are not like ours. They are higher." I know Your plan is not known to me for this situation... but I pray for mercy for my grandfather and comfort for our family no matter how this situation turns out. You have held us in the hollow of Your hand many times before, and I know you will again. Thank you for the strength you have given to Aunt Judy, Mom, Heather, Shane, and everyone else who has spent time taking care of Pawpaw when I cannot be there with him. I pray for Mawmaw as her life will change more than the rest of ours. I pray that when the time comes, Pawpaw will come home to see you in a peaceful way and that he will feel the love of his family from both sides of Life... on earth and in eternity with You. Thank you for your grace and I pray for your mercy. Amen.
Keep Pawpaw in your prayers.
Love Y'all,

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