the waiting found in unction

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’…
I am grateful that Jesus cried out those words, because it means that I need never fear to
cry them out myself.
I need never fear, nor feel any sense of guilt, during the inevitable moments of forsakenness.
They come to us all.
They are part of the soul’s growth.”

Madeleine L’Engle

((Killarney National Park / County Kerry / Julie Cook / 2015)

Sometimes it’s difficult seeing that which waits ahead…
or that which is just beyond our focus…

For the roadblocks, pitfalls, snarls and snares that seem to be directly blocking our path…
loom ever so large impeding our field of vision…
they are so demanding and are so draining that we lose sight of what will be
further down the road, beyond where we are now….

They vie for our full attention making us temporarily blind to everything and anything else.
Life is lived as if in a dark tunnel with only a tiny snippet of light which seems
so terribly far away.

Maybe it’s the heavy baggage from the past…
that which seems to frustratingly and relentlessly hold us prisoner….
Tied as a dead weight… hanging stubbornly from our necks.

Or maybe it’s something else….

It was a long weekend…which is now giving way to what will most likely be a long week,
for and with Dad….for me…for us all….

I go daily because he asks me to come.
Yet on the rare day that I stay behind in order to pick up my own life’s pieces,
my thoughts, worries, concerns are there…with him.

I stay later and later because he asks me why must I go so soon….
as if my sitting for hours on end by his bed should be so soon….

His wife no longer knows that she is his wife…
as dementia now erases that later part of her life.

Decisions, hard decisions, will soon be made.

I battle a long and often harrowing drive to and from…
Sitting and waiting…watching… Dad…
as all he can do is to lay there and wait.

Weakly and barely audible, I hear an odd question…
“Do people think I’m nice?”
Where did that come from I wonder….
“Of course people think you’re nice Dad, why wouldn’t they?”
“I don’t know”…as his words trail off as the heavy lids fight to stay open…

Yep, it’s going to be long…as it continues being hard…as it only seems to grow harder and more difficult with each passing day…

The priest came Sunday to anoint Dad and to pray the prayer of extreme unction…

And so now,
in the mystery of that prayer of transition,
we find ourselves now resting and waiting….
As Dad and God work things out….

“As you are outwardly anointed with this holy oil,
so may our heavenly Father grant you the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Of his great mercy, may he forgive you your sins, release you from suffering,
and restore you to wholeness and strength.
May he deliver you from all evil, preserve you in all goodness,
and bring you to everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

22 comments on “the waiting found in unction

  1. says:

    Prayers for you and all those you love at this difficult time. Treasure each of these final moments with him as they soon will be over. Tell him I like him a lot even though I haven’t met him. We share a love for chocolate and for you, my friend.

  2. phyllissnipes says:

    And ditto for me (and Lance), Julie!!

  3. Laura says:

    May God continue to bless you on this heartbreaking, difficult, but sacred journey…… it is not easy, it requires sacrifice, but the time together will bring you great reward in the months and years to come. Treasure the memories and moments, no matter how small— they are the final gifts your dad is giving you….. with deep affection, and knowing…… Laura

  4. Lynda says:

    Oh Julie, how difficult this is for you! Waiting is never easy and especially this waiting and yet you have been given the opportunity to keep watch with your dad and to be a comfort to him. That is a great privilege. My prayers are with you and your family. Blessings on every moment!

  5. Melissa Presser (still Esquire) says:

    Praying for you all Julie, you guys are in my heart and on my mind constantly.

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    When my mother died, she was living with my older sister in Alabama. Since she died from cancer, she died somewhat slowly and painfully. If there was any benefit to the chemotherapy, it was because she died more quickly than she might have otherwise. In hindsight, it was a bad idea.

    Because of the distance, I only had the opportunity to visit my mother once while she was ill. Work demands, of course. I have felt guilty about ever since then.

    I don’t know whether my sister had the better part of the situation or not, but all we can do for someone who is dying is give them our time. When it is over, I doubt you will regret giving your father that gift.

    Praying for you too.

    • thank you Tom—and your words are a comfort—none of it is easy—and no matter what, we who remain behind will always have some sort of regret–as that is just life I suppose–please know that your prayers and words are a true support—thank you

  7. Andy Oldham says:

    May God provide you with strength and calm spirit in this time! Prayers up for you!

  8. Oh, Julie, you’ve been under the gun so to speak with so many things for so long. I know you have to be weary and anxious and sad all at the same time.
    May the Lord comfort you and give you the strength to carry on. You have been a good and faithful servant my friend. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 ❤

  9. lljostes says:

    Love, hugs, and prayers for you Julie. God is holding you and your dad in His everlasting arms.

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