Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Today's project was to drive to Grand Terrace, California, just north of Riverside, to give a facial to a member of our Circle of Friends ladies' networking group. Kristine does work for hospice, health providers and the Riverside Office of Aging. We had a lovely time, and we'll be meeting again for her glamour makeover.
Grand Terrace is a quiet little town between major cities Riverside to the south and San Bernardino to the north, and borders former railroad center Colton. To the immediate east is the world famous medical city of Loma Linda, built around the Loma Linda University Medical Center, built by Seventh Day Adventists. My hometown Redlands, once the citrus capitol of the nation and winter playground for wealthy Victorians, lies further east. I could go on and on, with past and recent history, but you get the idea that I grew up in the Inland Empire! The two-county area has shaped my life, ambitions and personality, before I became a Christian in 1980, and continues to have an influence on this 32 year daughter of the King! Even though I've lived in New Hampshire and Colorado, these city boundaries are my life's geographical markers. Surveyor lines become city limits. Those boundaries shape the character of the people, which forms the character of each town. Boundaries matter!
God Himself put a strong emphasis on maintaining family and tribal boundary lines; moving the marker stones was a crime. Deuteronomy 19 :14 says,
You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.
In 2006, my mother was in Loma Linda's medical center recovering from a severe attack of Guillaume-Barre syndrome, which left her paralyzed and her organs barely functioning with the help of machines. After work in my classroom, and quickly getting some dinner together for Steve, Steven and Heather, I would drive through Grand Terrace on Barton Road on the way to the hospital intensive care floor. Day after day, twice on Saturdays and again on Sunday, I or Steve and the kids and I would visit, sing praise songs, and pray with Mommy. At times, I would pull off in Grand Terrace, to get gas, or a few odd groceries, or grab coffee at their Starbucks and a quick snack for dinner on my way to or from her room.
Sometimes I would just pull over in this quiet town to cry and cry, because decisions were being made against my sister's and my will to end my mother's life just as she was beginning to recover! The Lord was with me, along with my sisters in the Lord, and all of our family. Steve's mother Ruby prayed faithfully--they were great friends. Eventually Mommy was clandestinely removed from the hospital, put on hospice and left to die in her friend's living room.The Lord sustained us all, with the knowledge that Pearl Gwendolyn Jordan Gray had gone to be with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 describes the confidence of the believer:
So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased, rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
Driving in Grand Terrace on this bright, sunny day, seeing a few families, but mostly elderly gentlemen enjoying their morning walks, made me feel relaxed and refreshed by the peace and quiet, despite reminders of the time in my life when I passed through seven days a week. I am no longer stricken with sorrow, but experienced rest and peace on those streets. today.
That's the confidence of the believer!