How do you prepare for traveling cross country to visit parents who are living in what feels like a horror movie? What do you say to a mother who is counting the hours until you come because you are the only one that can help Daddy? How do you process the picture you will see of your father, who once was brilliant, now curled in fetal position with depression and dementia? How do you try to pack hope into your carry-on bag when you don’t have any?
Because the only thing harder than going is not going.
But since you have asked me to pray, I have some great news for you. I have checked with Jesus and He is free this weekend to travel with you. In fact, the seat next to you is available on all the transportation modes and He will be right there. (He also has a wrinkle in his palm that is your shape. It is a good place to sleep/rest). Eye contact with Him will let you know when to speak and when to stay quiet. Be careful that when you get there you don’t pick up the wrong job description. The one labeled, “You are the only one who can help,” does not have your name on it. Your job description has only three responsibilities.
The first is to love, and since the Author of Love is with you, He will teach you how to love. Be open to some wild and creative ideas.
The second requirement is that you pour out all you possess on the feet of Jesus. (Now, His view of this may mean that you pour it on the least of these.) Matthew 25 gives us a glimpse into how “other” His thinking is. Listen carefully to Him because after you have done this sacrificial act He will say to anyone who criticizes you to leave you alone because you have done what you could.
Your final assignment is to suffer. Yes, that is what I said. You will find that it is easier to feel the pain than it is to strategize ways of getting rid of it. And Jesus has packed light so He has room to carry your pain. Just give it to Him and He carries it easily. He has worked out so much that what feels heavy for you is not even noticeable to Him.
Oh, and since you will have time on the flight, give your pen to Jesus and let Him write the story. It may not have a fairy tale ending in our eyes but we know for sure that the ink will be love.