As I write this, my heart does grieve. It rises from deep areas of my soul. I thought I knew. From out of nowhere a wave of sorrow encompasses me.
I thought I had this grief journey done. As a young man out of high school and before college I worked for 10 years as an orderly at a local large hospital.
God gave me Grace to work seven of those years on the chronic care floors. The longest an orderly could work on these floors at this time was one year without being burned out. These floors were filled with the dying. God had enabled me to bring comfort to those on their final journey of life. I witnessed some of the most horrible, heart wrenching deaths one could imagine as well as the associative grief of the loved ones. For some there were no loved ones only the staff. For six years part time in three hospitals I assisted pathologists with autopsies to define the cause of death. I grieved for the parents when holding a baby. As a believer in God my heart broke when I did suicidal cases.
At times it was not easy when I saw the person before me was a father, mother ,son or daughter. I knew God had placed me in the hospital morgue to see and understand His heart concerning some of the most crushing things He witnesses all the time. I thought with all this history I had the grief thing under control. I have now realized we are more complex inside than we know.
I WAS NOT PREPARED
This work I did as a young man I thought had prepared me for many things I would encounter in my future. I was wrong.
First my older brother passed away then my father and in this last month both my mother and younger brother died. My wife Deb and my lives have been on hold for several years taking care daily of sick and dying family members. They are all gone. I am the last.
When my younger brother passed a deep sorrow rose up from deep within my soul. This grief comes out of nowhere bringing tears. I believe it is for all my family. The great consolation I have is I believe I will see them in heaven. The every day care that took a tremendous toll on me was a privilege and not a sacrifice.
Perhaps freedom may be the wrong word to some. You say everyone has died and now you are free. Yes, they are in heaven. Do I wish they were still here not in pain? Yes. We all must live and die. The big question is this, HAVE WE REALLY LIVED. It was the process of dying that brought my family to know the Creator and His life giving presence.
In all my years, since I gave my life to Christ, He has carried me and Loved me even when I felt I did not deserve it. He has forgiven me for all my wrongs and has taken me as a father would take a son. Many have asked how I am still standing and do the things I have had to do. I must say the ability came from my Heavenly Father. He is waiting for you to call on Him.
He will come.
Our eyes are to the future, freed from former responsibilities. We look to what the sovereign Love of God has for us. Everything is a preparation for the next stage in life.
Please pray for us that we will be in the right places at the right time. That the joy of the Lord will be our strength and that Wisdom and Mercy will guide us.
Dan Chappell was fathered in the prophetic by Robert Ewing of Grace Churches of Texas in the early 80’s and mentored in “The Heart of the Father" by Jack Winters.
He is recognized trans locally for his sensitive and encouraging prophetic and strategic insight. His gifting is not just for the local church, but impacts churches across the continent. Debbie, his wife, stands with him in this demanding role.