I woke up many times last night, thinking of our oldest daughter, keeping death watch in a hospital in Lawrence, Kansas, for her mother-in-law Nellie.
This same daughter became a grandmother eight weeks ago, and when people asked me was I really ready to become a great-grandmother I quipped, “Absolutely, yes, but I am a little dubious about being the mother of a grandmother.”
But there's more than one kind of life passage. This is big one for my girl, and I am mindful. I myself kept a lonely vigil over my mother's dying one long winter's night 22 years ago. Last night I marveled as the image of the baby I first held in my arms came continually swirling before me–awake and in dreams–only to be replaced by one of her sitting by the bed of a dying woman.
It was heartrending, in ways both beautiful and terrifying, bringing into stark relief the bracketing truth of my life, and yours.
I'm undergoing my own rite of passage this Christmas season, formally retiring from Down Home Ranch, closing down my office and stepping away from the day-to-day work of the Ranch. It's time to turn those things I handled over to others for good. Young people have come along who know how to do them far better than I. (Thanks be to God!)
It's just time. I'm dusting off my bucket list and seeing what's inside to occupy the years remaining, and a lot of it does have to do with the Ranch, no surprise. My biggest dream is to see our chapel built on the hill where the old camp center stood, overlooking the Ranch and the pond, favorite haunt of the deer who come to browse and drink.
I have visions of myself as Anna, in her old age, spending her days in the temple, looking for the coming of the Lord.
But of course, He has already come, and has already made all things new, including me, and you. Our happy task is to seek Him in ourselves and in one another.
It's been 20 years. I look forward to however many more are granted me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!