Dad's home now. He's been diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer originating in the bone marrow. He's already begun chemo, and will continue for 6 months. Assuming it is in remission at that point there will be a bone marrow transplant. I spent the night with him last Thursday, his last night in the hospital so far.
During the early morning hours he came in and out of sleep. At times I sat watching him wishing there were words or questions to ask that might unlock the secrets of life as he knew them. I wondered about the pieces of his life I wil never know. Stories from childhood I never before cared to hear... a clear understanding of the nuances of buying and selling a house... the joys and sorrows of life choices that I have felt the reprocussions of but will never know about.
Friday morning they brought in his breakfast, and he shared it with me. I offered to go get my own, but he was not hungry enough to finnish it. We had been talking about life and faith, and as I look at his muffin I thought of the sacrament of communion. I must have stared too long because he cut it in half and gave it to me without even asking if I wanted it. Then he took two styrophome cups and told me to get some water for us, even though he had his big hospital jug already. So it was not a fruit of the vine, but it was a common cup. And the water of baptism that flows through and over us filled us that morning, of that I am sure.
Perhaps it was just a symbolic moment that touched emotional chords. Even so, God's presence was known in our union. Each in our way felt peace. For him it was the knowledge that no discretion of earlier days could challenge my love for him. For me it was the knowledge that God's power and providence runs deeper than the waters than seem to overtake us. In that moment we had enough peace to know that all will be well in God's great end. I believe that to be sacramental. Though I have a high apreciation for the sacraments and believe it crucial that they be administered in the rightly, coporately and in conjuction with scripture, I believe our communion was holy. I believe we experienced the presence of the living God in our unspoken liturgy, and I believe all the heavens rejoiced with us.
But then again, maybe it was just a muffin. It was a pretty good muffin for hospital food. Nah, could't of been just a muffin. Maybe it was more like... manah? Either way, may God be praised. And that is the good news. My dad and I can honestly say, "to God be the glory" even in the midst of this. I pray that we can remain as resolved. I pray that we will have some times of joy yet to share in the holiness of this time of suffering, amd I pray that my faith might be as strong as his.