I need to talk with you about last night. I got to speak with Gerry on the phone. I basically had to tell him goodbye. It was really hard for me, but also helpful. Will tell more later.
When I finally got a chance to talk to him, the story he told me left me in tears. Happy tears, sad tears, thankful tears...all the tears.
Mickey, his step mom, called him last night. He had a big paper to write, so he told her he could only talk for a few minutes. She was so upset. I've talked to her a few times when she's upset and it is heartbreaking. She is so sad from watching Gerry's health decline. It's really hard to imagine myself in her shoes, but our time will come. We will all have to be in her shoes one day and it is not something I look forward to. She is one tough woman.
She told me that Gerry has lost over sixty pounds since he went into the hospital in August. He can't sleep, he can't eat because of his bi-pap. He can't relax or rest. His health has been so up and down the last few months that he doesn't know what each day will bring.
Mickey told Sean that he's been resting against his tray table. Using it to prop himself up. When she entered the room the other day, she said he was leaning on it and she thought he was crying.
"What's the matter?" she asked him. "Why are you crying?"
"I'm wasn't crying," he replied. "I was praying."
"What were you praying about?" she asked.
"That God would forgive me. And that He would save me," he replied.
It took Sean a solid five minutes to retell that story to me. We were both bawling our faces off. Praise God! He is so good. He is so, so good. I am so thankful Sean got to be such a huge part of this story. I am so thankful he didn't shrug off the chance to visit his father. I'm so thankful he didn't withhold grace. He gets this amazing blessing just for showing up. He obeyed what God was laying on his heart. He acted when he could've chosen not to. He spoke when he could've stayed silent. He could've let the fear of men silence him and he didn't. I'm so proud of him!
It's funny because he had a few things to say about "Bible thumpers" when we were there. Even once he'd acknowledged God, he said, "But don't expect me to turn into one of those bible thumpers." And now, just weeks later, he's got his Bible by his side in the hospital room. He's been reading it. It's even rumored he sleeps with it. If the nurses move it out of his reach, he fusses at them. It seems the man has become a bit of a...Bible thumper. ;) Thump on, Man!
When Sean hung up with Mickey, he called the hospital to speak with Gerry's nurse. When he finally got to speak to Gerry he said there's something in his voice that has changed. He feels like the end is near. He it exhausted from fighting for his life. I truly believe God rescued him from his death bed just long enough for him to reconcile with his son. He was able to see what kind of man Sean is. He got to see him in his role of husband and father. He got to see and talk to and hug his grandsons. He shared so much with them. I actually heard two of mine fighting this afternoon, "Oh yeah? Well you're not Grandpa Gerry's favorite!" And all of this was in God's timing. Undeniably.
Sean was able to have a great conversation with Gerry. Gerry was able to relay some of his last wishes to his son. Man to man, father to son. Ugh, my heart can hardly take typing that sentence. I guess Gerry was concerned about this last minute relationship with God. Sean was able to reassure him with Romans10:9.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
That's it. It doesn't matter what you do. It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter how long or scandalous your testimony is. What matters is Christ. He's already done it all. His sacrifice, his mercy, his grace.
At this point in the story, it would be amazing if God heals him completely and he lives his life as he's accustomed to living it. With fishing and boating and driving his hot car around. It would be awesome if we could get to know him a little better. Have them come visit. Share what we're all thankful for around a turkey. At this point in the story, it would be equally amazing if he were to die tomorrow having been saved by the skin of his teeth through the power of God. Either way, God is glorified. Either way, we get eternity with this man who would otherwise spend eternity apart from God and apart from us.
Ironically, Sean's mother is also in the hospital at this time. The coinciding health issues are a little weird with the timing of it. God's grace was there with Sean's mom, too. Her health scare required precise timing that could only be explained by trusting in a plan she had no control over. My mother in law is an amazing woman. She began this whole journey with Gerry, her ex-husband. She was the first of us to witness to him. Imagine that. Witnessing to your ex-spouse. Marinate on that one for a minute. My mother in law is the type that is so on fire for her Savior that she witnesses to anyone and everyone. Her crown is going to have so many jewels in it, it will take a saved peon like me to cart it around for her once we've reached those streets of gold.
One of the best moments of my life happened tonight. I was able to call my mother in law, who is recovering from surgery, and tell her the news. Sean said there was no way he'd be able to keep it together enough to tell her. I got to make the call. I got to make the call!!! Me! The one who's been standing on the outside looking in on this whole story. I got to tell the best part! It feels wrong to gloat about such a thing, but I'm so excited that I got to tell the ultimate "happily ever after" story.
I gave her the very condensed version, but we both cried. Major tears of joy. That's what Christ does. It's really hard to be sad that Gerry's health is still in shambles. We're sad, but the joy of the situation is so overwhelming. We're sad for Mickey and all the stress she's under and all the what-ifs she's facing. We aren't going to let you go, Mickey. More importantly, HE isn't going to let you go. The One who has the power to save our sorry bunch, He's got this. He's got it all worked out and we're lucky enough to get to be a part of HIStory.
We will have eternity together. We will truly be one, big, happy family.