My father-in-law is dying.
It will happen in a matter of hours or, at most, a few days. I'm not God so I cannot be 100% sure, but the doctor has said the man's illnesses are "insurmountable." He will pass soon.
Because we do not want him to be alone when his time comes, somebody sits with him in his hospital room round the clock. Last evening, I met my daughter Rachel, an emergency room nurse in the same hospital, in the hospital lobby. Together, we planned to stay and care for my father-in-law throughout the night.
In those twelve quiet hours, I learned more about servanthood than I've learned in my entire life. What a blessing it was to learn from my daughter how to selflessly, sacrificially serve another suffering human. I feel like I attended an intense servant bootcamp of sorts.
Jesus taught and modeled this type of servanthood with his disciples. Before now I've only read the accounts. Now I've experienced it myself.
It's hard work.
It's smelly and gross at times.
But, it's right, and in its own unique way, it's lovely. It's what pleases Jesus, and so therefore, it's one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. I consider it one of the best nights of my life.
My father-in-law has never been known as an easy man with whom to associate. His manner of conversation was always been tinged with a healthy dose of negativity, and he has permanent scowl lines creased into his forehead. In fact, his grandkids call him "Grumppop."
At any given time, he was ready to list and describe his most recent ailments in excessive detail. They were endless and abundant. His wife often called him a hypochondriac.
Still Jesus calls us to love and serve these loved ones of his. And, serving my father-in-law was both a blessing to his wife and to my husband. I'm glad I was able.
Finally, those twelve long nighttime hours serving at the bedside of Richard Thomas brought me all that much closer to the heart of Jesus. I could imagine I was taking care of Him.
And that, my friends, made the adventure an invaluable experience.