My brother Steve (son number two) was visiting with daddy about a year before he died when dad suddenly looked up and zoned into a different reality. Smiling to the overflowing, eyes filled with light and warmth, he began to communicate his vision, "This is great! This is wonderful! Happiness. Family and friends. This is wonderful!" At the end of his seeing, he raised up his hands and grabbed at the vision, crying out, "I wanna go!"
Wow- ponder that. That different reality daddy was seeing is Reality. And it is all glory. It is our home.
In a blink of an eye we will be there. It is all a blink of an eye- whether you live 100 years or two months.
In his last years as he got closer in death, daddy was more and more saying, "I wanna go home." He was fixed on heaven. Constantly he reminded us all, "We're going to heaven!" Forever etched in my mind will be his routine of making a fist that joy would push outward and upward towards the heavens as he would say, "We're going to heaven!"
Speaking of glory, I was in an utter place of privilege when daddy went home. We were in the hospital room in Stayton; the same place where my brother Mike (son number 7), was taken after a serious motor cycle wreck that could have taken his life. Daddy, seeing his unconscious son with a fractured skull laying on the table, said he would do anything to take his place. Sound like Jesus on the altar of sacrifice? In that same room, we all sensed the time was drawing near. Dad's breathing was more labored, shallow and rapid. The Holy Spirit told me to start reading the scriptures.
I was holding daddy's head as I read some from God's Holy Word. I was reading aloud Jesus' call of the disciples in John 1:35-42. Jesus asks, "What are you looking for?" The disciples respond, "Where are you staying?" Jesus bids them, "Come and you will see." Just right about that time, daddy fully opened both eyes. And then I saw transfiguration! It was if the glory of God pushed his eyelids open as open can be and he looked like one who was seeing the Living God! In complete awe of the glory of God. Then, daddy breathed his last. It is finished. Looking up at the clock, it was 7 pm. Seven means heaven in the bible! It was all glory! Transfiguration! And what I felt the Holy Spirit telling me in the midst of this, brothers and sisters, is that it was just all beginning! Just the beginning of the glory that will be forever discovered.
All Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen!
Fr. John Amsberry