Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter with My Dad

My dad really wanted to go to church on Easter. He also really wanted to be with us for the great Ham and Scalloped Potato Easter dinner. But he couldn't. Our house is not wheelchair accessible. The church is, but it turned out to be too difficult to get him there.

My dad does get out of the nursing home, on occasion. Once in awhile, my mom takes him out to lunch with friends. He really likes that.

On Sunday, after worship and after dinner, we brought Easter over to my dad. My brother brought him a piece of left-over pie. My mom had been there earlier, recounting the humorous and serious moments of the Easter sermon (at least some parts of the sermon had to do with the words "TA DA!") I brought my red hymnal and sang a verse of "Jesus Christ is Risen today." Then I switched over to "Living for Jesus", which he still knows better (and so does my mom, for that matter.)

There was a big crowd of us for awhile: My mom, my brother, my neice and nephew, and me. We were all talking, telling stories, my dad eating pie. I'm not sure he recognized us all the time. Besides the dementia, he also has macular degeneration, and his glasses went missing some time ago, so we're all kind of fuzzy.

After awhile, it got near to his dinner time, so we wheeled him down to the dining room, and said good-bye.

I didn't like to see the look on his face when we all said good-bye, all at once.

"You're going to have dinner soon. They'll take care of you," we reassured him. I'm not sure it helped.

"Jesus Christ is risen today!" was the song we sang at the beginning of worship on this last Sunday. People we don't see often were there, some visitors, some children and grandchildren. Others, like my dad, were absent. Some have died in the past year. Some live in wheelchairs, or can't remember.

"Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia!" But what does it matter? What's it about? Why is this such good news?

I can give you all the stock answers: the defeat of death, the triumph of love, the vindication of Jesus, and his way of living. But today, my answer is this:

Jesus Christ is risen so that all the barriers that keep us separate will come down. Jesus is risen so that someday, we will all be together, we will not have to eat ham in one place while my dad eats his dinner somewhere else. Jesus is risen so that we will not have to say good-bye. Jesus is risen and the kingdom of God will be wheelchair accessible, and poverty and wealth accessible, and color-accessible, even life and death accessible. Jesus is risen, and in the love of God, there will be no more barriers. There will be no "Keep Out" signs, no stairs to climb, no entrance fees that some can't pay.

That's what I think, at least today.
What about you?


DogBlogger said...

Today's answer you gave brings tears to my eyes.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I started Easter with two services in N MN and then drove down our state and across the next state to have 45 minutes with my mom in the Evening, (plus the next two days.) She had thought that Easter was the day before, but other than that, she knows what is what. She was surprised to see me. I was so glad to surprise her. What better day for a surprise than on Easter! She is 92.

Mrs. M said...

Ditto DogBlogger.

In the middle of wrestling with barriers in my own family, I can only say Amen.

Tracy said...

We took the kids to Good Friday service this year. We thought they were old enough to experience a real demonstration of the contrast between the darkness of Christ's death on the cross and the brightness of the risen Savior on Easter morning. On the way home they had lots of questions, namely why were all the light off and why couldn't we talk on the way out of church. We explained that this was a sad and dark occassion, not unlike a funeral is sometimes. Jesus died this night. In the hustle of getting everyone out the door Easter morning, as I was brushing her hair, Ruthie asked, "is Jesus alive?" My offhand answer was "Yes, now stand still so we can get to church on time." But that wasn't good enough. She wanted to know, "IS JESUS ALIVE NOW!" So, then, I got it. He died on Friday - we were there, we went to his "funeral". She learned and experienced what we had hoped. She "got" it. He is alive, he is risen. Indeed.

SingingOwl said...

what dogblogger said

Diane said...

Tracy -- your story warms my heart. thank you!

Fran said...

Oh Diane - this makes me cry but it also makes me hope.

Terri (AKA Mompriest) said...

Diane, it is so sad/hard/gracefilled to watch/be with the ones we love live through the time of life your dad is many memories of families I have journyed with through this same time. Prayers for you.