We children sprang into action – with the vacuum cleaner, the dust rag, cleaning from the front door to the back door, including our rooms. It was always exciting when Grandpa and Grandma Suderman came. We would have zwieback (two-story rolls); home made ice cream, and the Plautdietch talk would be thick, laced with laughter. A happy time. Each of the grandchildren received a small sack of candy, when five cents’ worth of candy filled the tiny sack. Now that I am grown, I realize that tiny sack of candy is tiny in my memory bank. The twinkles in the two pairs of blue eyes and the hugs, knowing we were loved unconditionally made their visit worth all the preparations the week before to the last day.
The last day and the last moment of their visit were always sad, to say Good-bye is the most difficult part of the visit. It was hard to keep from crying, but there was always the hope of the next visit. I didn’t know it then, but I learned patience in waiting.
There are many ‘lasts’ in our lives and each one is preceded with preparation. As I watch the incredible rose bush in preparation for blooming, I watch each day the swelling of the buds – waiting for the burst of a bloom. Then the last days before a killing frost, the roses seem to know and their buds are more prolific and the blooms more glorious.
The last day before graduating from high school, I walked through the halls of Watonga High School, memorizing the sights and the smells where I had spent many happy and challenging days.
The last day before marriage, all the preparations were made for the wedding, but what would a lifetime with my chosen love be like? So many unanswered questions filled my mind. The last days had many unanswered questions, yet, after almost 60 years of marriage – my mind could not have conceived all the blessings I have had with my dear husband and our four children, now grown with children and grandchildren of their own.
There are many last days when change is in the air – last day before retirement – last day of vacation – the last day of summer - the last day with a friend who is leaving. Each ‘last’ in our lives is preceded with preparation, training and a time of waiting with anticipation. Each ‘last’ is preceded with a first, and the exhilaration of challenge and achievement – from the first word and the first step, to every part of our lives whether learning or working or loving or faith.
Our great grandson, Samuel, asked his Mother about a word that he heard her singing, Holy. “What does that mean, Mom?” Sarah, our granddaughter, began explaining.
She was interrupted by her four-year-old son’s voice, “Mom, you know Jesus? He died on the cross, doesn't that just break your heart?"
Yes, this life is our preparation for the last days. Live today as if it were the only day we have. The last day we have. Tomorrow? What is tomorrow, really? The sun comes up and the day begins, how will it be different than the day before?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18So we fix our eyes not onwhat is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. II Corinthians 4:18
The story of an elderly missionary couple, returning to their home touched my heart. As they prepared to go into the house, the wife said, “You go on into the house, I will be there soon.” The husband walked in the house and soon he heard the door open as his wife prepared to come inside. As she stepped in she took her last step in this life and her first step into heaven to be with her Lord.
The last day leads to the first day of forever for those, whose Lord is Jesus Christ.