Friday, August 31, 2012

By His Side

The only sound was from the filament of the light bulb that illuminated the tiny area assigned to him.
The air in the room was thick...with horror.  Another sound springs forth as if from nowhere. Yes, it is my thudding heart inside my chest. Tears come more easily than words. His face is a minuet of pain, sorrow, fear, delirium and what could almost be described as the early stages of death.  Death. Death.  Death.   Life followed by death.  What kind of life is it when you cannot leave on your own terms?  Who gets to decide?  Some men and women grapple with an enemy that will eventually win the fight.  My only job right now is to comfort the comfortless.  He tries to form words through the incessant pain, his only defense against tears that are sure to come.  Denial, anger, fatigue.  I am not trained for this.  Why me? 
I look on as his body is wracked with spasms, pleading with him to ease the pain.  His eyes fixed on a reality that does not exist, a reality without the pain, without the stench of death and eventually his own death.  More enemies join the fight with each passing second.   "Oh, the pain." Eddie says.  Frighteningly I reach for his hand.  Maybe this will calm him some.  Eddie flinches in fear as if I were the Grim Reaper coming to claim another prize.  If only....

My voice croaks as the words, made thick with my own fears, spill out, "It's only me your trusted sidekick.  Right here by your side."  No response.  Joviality has no place here.  I began to tell Eddie about my family, namely my sister.  Even in the most difficult of circumstances and harrowing
situations, God allows pleasant memories to filter into our mind.  Memories of his provision and his grace and his love.  (Thank you heavenly father.)  With those memories I change my subject from my earthly family to my heavenly family. 

Fifteen minutes have passed by as I told Eddie about God's love for humanity and our need to be rescued from the clutches of death and hell caused by our sin.  This can only be accomplished by the acceptance of Jesus Christ' death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave three days later.  Eddie was now closer to death and prayerfully much closer to a decision for his eternal salvation. 

Silence.

Eddie had not moved or said a word for what seemed like forever.  I wondered if he was dead.  At that moment his chest rises and falls ever-so-slightly.  By his side I remained (not wanting to leave at such a critical moment) with baited breath.  Eddie turns to me and says, "I would like to make Jesus my personal Lord and saviour."  I exhaled a little to loudly and saw a faint smile on his face.  Nothing could staunch the tears that now flowed with great joy from my eyes.  I reached for Eddie's hand, lifted my
my face to heaven and prayed as Eddie made known his lost condition and confessed his sins and received forgiveness.  Eddie added a few words of his own and as he finished praying to his new saviour, he also finished living on this earth.  Eddie was now in heaven with Jesus. 

More tears.  More joy.  "Thank you, MY LORD AND MY KING."
There is no greater joy because now, BY HIS SIDE, my Jesus, I now see Eddie.