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Lynna Clark: In the wrong lane

Has it been ten years? The feelings are so fresh it feels like yesterday that I was driving down Hwy. 29 from my mom’s house toward home in the wrong lane. A guy behind me blew his horn, sped around me to the right and flipped me off for good measure. Suddenly I was aware that I was only doing about 45, which is okay in the right lane, but not the left where people drive when they actually need to be some place.

My sisters and I, along with daddy, were taking turns caring for mama who had, in a matter of a few days, turned into someone else. This normally sharp and feisty lady was now fearful and confused. We realized quickly that this was not normal aging or dementia. Something was terribly wrong. One minute she was teaching a group of ladies in her living room. The next she was stuck in a loop, saying the same sentence over and over. Until that time she was strong and healthy, walking at least three miles a day. The woman could easily work circles around me. Now she didn’t even know who I was.

And it happened so fast. On Nov. 1 she had the first episode in the meeting with her friends. Exactly two months later, on Jan. 1 she was gone. Thanksgiving and Christmas that year were heart-breaking.

Songs on the radio took on a whole new meaning. “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” made my head hurt but “I’ll have a blue Christmas without you,” hurt my heart. There was one song however that seemed to be played every time I’d be driving to mama’s. Called the “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice, this sweet gentle song expressed the comfort God was offering during the most difficult battle of my life to that point. The last time I sat with mom, I sang it to her as best I could. There was no miracle, no sudden recognition of my voice, no smile. If you’ve ever heard me sing you’d think there would’ve at least been a little laughter. But there was nothing. A few hours later the last verse was hers and she was home.

Grace comes in many packages. It might be the kindness of strangers who don’t know why you’re in a daze as you try to put one foot in front of the other. It might be the daddy who offers comfort when he himself has lost so much. It might be the sisters who sweetly carry the load with you or the husband who lets you cry in his arms until the tears no longer come. Or maybe you feel you’re in the struggle all alone. You find yourself in the wrong lane with strangers flipping you off during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

I am so sorry. I’m writing this in honor of my beautiful mom and in hopes that you will hear these words. You will get through this. Healing takes time. Time is just another way grace is packaged. The Lord uses time to heal us. Don’t be ashamed of your tears. Ten years later, though the pain is fresh, it’s much easier to bear. With deepest sympathies, I’m praying for you.

Look to the One Who can get you home.

Cry to Jesus and live.

 

Untitled Hymn

by Chris Rice

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden’s lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

And like a newborn baby
Don’t be afraid to crawl
And remember when you walk
Sometimes we fall…so
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus
Fall on Jesus and live!

Sometimes the way is lonely
And steep and filled with pain
So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus
Cry to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can’t contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus
Fly to Jesus and live!

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