“Going Out and Remaining Within”
If you are in her room and sitting next to her bed, she will grab your hand and squeeze it and not let go. If you get up to leave she will keep feeling around the bed, trying to find your hand.
One thing that you need to know about my Mother is that she is not a touchy-feely person; I don’t remember one time holding her hand in childhood or as an adult. But now as cancer has put her in the presence of death, holding my hand has become a very intimate connection.
700 years ago a German Theologian stated that the key to the Spiritual life was the “Going out and yet remaining within”. These words of Spiritual Direction have become abundantly clear in the living and the dying of my Mom.
In her living she has always been a person ‘going-out’; speaking her mind, entertaining friends, taking long walks, drinking wine, following sports on T.V. and spending a lot of quality time with friends on Facebook.
Her outgoing personality is not without depth. She has a rich interior life, filled with an awareness of the Presence of God. She loved to say, ‘If you knew God like I do, you wouldn’t need to go to Church’. Sincere about this statement, it was for her the reality that defined who she was.
Her blustery swag may have lacked the spiritual sensitivity of this idea of ‘going out and yet remaining within’, but you could always tell that there was a depth to her love and friendship to God.
At this point Mom spends most of her time sleeping and holding your hand.
This is her gift to us in her dying; and in a very concrete and real way, her ‘going out and yet remaining within’, and waiting for the Lord to take her home.
So when sleep becomes her last breath, she will take the hand of Jesus and experience the greatest expression of “going-out and remaining within”.
May her dying and the holding of our hand, teach us something about our coming and going and our Intimacy with God.
With Love and a life time of appreciation, your Son Tim
(Update: my mom is still living but down to her last days. I read this to her last weekend and she appreciated it.)
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