Sunday, February 26, 2012

through sickness and in health

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed by own body, I could boast about it, but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. -1 Corinthians 13:1-7

Papa was 16 and Mema was 15 when they started dating. They fell in love and got married at 18 and 19. Birthed two babies, my mom and uncle. They had their ups and downs, like everyone. When the grand kids came along, they spoiled us like crazy. Jesus ruined and saved their lives in their early fifties, making their love so much stronger. Now in their 60s and more in love than ever, they are teaching, showing, and counseling others how to love their spouses. The past four years have been a constant battle for Papa's health.

My sweet Papa was admitted to the Iowa City Hospital last Tuesday, February 21, due to his fight with pancreatitis. The doctors put in a feeding tube on Thursday, which he will use for four to six weeks. He has been in constant pain and agony; from headaches, stomachaches, vomiting, and more you don't want to hear about.

God has been visually showing me what Love is this past week.

Mema has been sleeping (if you can call it that) in a hospital "love seat" for six nights now, and will continue to until they get to go home; eating hospital food for every meal unless someones in town to bring her something different; she's been offered a hotel room to stay in but refuses because she won't leave her husband alone. When he's in pain, she's in pain. You can see it on her face. Whenever he needs help getting up, wants more water, has to use the bathroom, needs the bucket, she is the first one to stop whatever she's doing to help. I've seen the promise "through sickness and in health" more clearly this past week than ever in my life. This is love.

The thing that amazes me the most is the joy that fills room 6087. Despite all the pain, misery, and long days, we've had so much joy, silliness, and laughter. The intercome came on today and the voice asked if we needed anything. Papa answered with, "A cheeseburger, french fries, and a malt, thank you!" We got no response back, but oh boy we laughed and laughed. Jesus is pouring out so much grace upon us, helping us trust that this is happening so He can be most glorified. That this is His plan.
For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen.
-Romans 11:36

I wonder what the doctors and nurses think when they walk in and see us all holding hands, praying; when they see the love between my beautiful grandparents; when they see friends driving an hour and a half to go sit with Papa for an hour; when they look at smiles and hear friendly voices, instead of scowls and grumbles; when they hear praises to God rather than curses. I wonder.
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. -1 John 2:6

Someday, I want to love like they love.

They are my favorite.