Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Saddest Sentence

It was the saddest sentence I’ve ever heard. My dad lay in ICU. Lisa was his nurse. Tubes come out his mouth, blood drips from his nose. Lisa walks to the other side of the bed and faces me, cleaning my dad with white towel. We make light conversation, discourse on dads’ courses—how much he ate for breakfast, lunch, dinner.

“Your mom came by this morning,” she says. I let it pass the first time. The next time she alluded to ‘your mom’ I clarified, “She’s not my mom. Dad’s remarried. Mom died a year-and-a-half ago.”

“Sorry,” she said. “I understand stepmom’s.” There we stood talking casually as if on a bus or in a checkout line while Lisa adjusted pillows and settled my father. She went on to tell me about her new marriage to her second husband, about her first husband meeting someone and moving away. Tying together the catastrophe that was her first marriage and the convenience that was her second she said, “I’ve given up on forever.”

I cry during movies. It’s not really crying per se---I get choked up and my eyes get extra water in them. When the boy gets the girl, when the pitcher gets his second chance at fame, when the bully finds redemption I get choked up. I’m guessing it happens to you too.

The core of our nature is to hope against all hope that good will triumph. We are wired with eternity in our hearts, a seed planted to believe in forever. To kill the seed is to sin against the eternal. Encasing the seed in steel so that it will not grow violates nature. I understand the pain that places the seed in the box. I hope that it doesn’t die in dark but breaks through to new light.

Abraham comes to mind. “In hope against hope he believed,” the scriptures say that he believed that what God promised He was able to perform---in this instance to give him and Sarah a child in their later years. God performs the impossible over and over, hope against hope, cards stacked, death against life and life wins.

Today is sandwiched between Christmas and New Years. The child born of hope, the new year celebrated and anticipated. We clink our glasses at midnight and put hands to the plow on Monday morning. Let us find the courage to stay in the marriage and believe in romance. We shall labor and believe that the work will benefit soul and pocket. May we die to self and love each other. My hope is that at the end of the road we may hear a voice whisper just before they turn out the light, “And they lived happily ever after.”

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