The Rev. Is still yomping in Wiltshire. On Sunday he announced from the pulpit that as he was only away for four days, most things could wait until his return, but in an emergency contact the Minister in the next Parish.
At an “interchurch” meeting on the Monday evening I find that the Minister in question is travelling back from somewhere in the far East , and I don’t mean Lothian.
Tuesday I receive a call from a very distressed son who needs the Rev. to visit his mother. This is not possible I explain but I will try to find another Rev. who could do it. I only get answer phones. Very late evening, the travelling Rev. says he phoned said son but only got an answering machine. An undertaker phones with news that a villager has died and could he arrange a funeral with my Rev. Explain no , but I know he would like to do this funeral because he had been visiting the deceased (before he got that way) in hospital, so manage to get the Undertaker to do the business next Monday to give time for a family visit and preparation.
Go to bed concerned about distressed son and that I have no potatoes for the Messy Church Banquet and hope my friend R. remembers to get them. All night God keeps telling me that I must go and visit the distressed family, I say OK, but as I will have to cycle there I will only go if the weather is fine ,as gale force winds are forecast. The main road on which I have to travel has open fields on both sides and makes cycling very difficult ,as the wind blows you of course, especially on the way back.
When I get up the prodding to go is still there. The sky is overcast and the air is chilly. I say to God, I’m only going if it’s not too windy because that road is scary. I look out of the window hoping to see trees moving, not a thing. I get daughter off to school, do a bit of admin. and walk the dogs, hoping to see movement in the foliage so that I can chicken out. Nothing. On returning with the dogs a slight breeze has blown up.
I say “Right Lord, I’ll go then.” . I am a real coward, I’m not good at saying the right thing to dying people or their relatives, I had enough trouble when I was a Nurse. But God still says GO, so I pack my rucksack with a few things, take some identification in my pocket and my card that says I take anticoagulants, just in case I get knocked off. Put on my helmet and reflective jacket and set off. Oh, she of little faith!!!
By the time I get down the Glen to the main road the wind is really blowing, but as I have got that far I keep going. about 30 minutes later I arrive at the farm of my destination to be greeted by the community nurse who explains that there has been a bit of a crisis involving two of the emergency services who have now departed. I sit in the lovely farm kitchen surrounded by photographic and artistic memories of this family’s life together stretching over years. Photos of the couple as they have grown together, art work done by children and pictures obviously painted by grandchildren. I perch on a chair wondering what to say and throwing prayers heavenwards for inspiration. The aga has perspiration pouring off me after my exertions,as it seems to be belching out heat, but I suddenly feel at peace. What priceless treasures are here, evidence of a life lived surrounded by love.
I chat to nurses and relatives and am then asked to visit the very sick person upstairs. Despite the situation they are looking quite bright but tell me they have had enough and want to die. What does one say.? I hold her hand and I listen, in my head I want to plead with her to wait until God comes and takes her home, which will be at exactly the right time. I try to say positive things but also hope that it will be soon. The whole family is suffering. I pray with her and feel her relax and I take my leave. In the kitchen, nurses are drawing up medication which will relieve her of her senses but at least she might sleep.
I cycle back from the farm to the main road, the wind is now blowing SO hard it feels as if a very fat man is sitting on my handlebars as I try to peddle. Log lorries tear by on the opposite side of the road and I am caught in their wake, my thighs are burning with the effort of peddling despite the gears. So I start to chat with God and ask for peace for the family, I am so lost in conversation with him I find myself at the turning for the Glen.
I get in and put the kettle on, I am so glad that I went. I felt that at least my inadequate words had hopefully given some comfort, and the feeling being obedient to God’s prompting gave me joy. He is a God of awesome power and we just need to have the courage to step out for Him.
1“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.…
George Bernard Shaw remarked: The statistics on death are quite impressive: one out of one people die.
Those of us with faith know that it will be at the right time and is only another blip on our time line… and eternal life is a long line!