Straight Paths

This is part two of a two-part series about Jun and his wife, Pat. Allow me to recapitulate for those who missed part one, “Where are the Heroes now?” Jun was a hospice patient who died from cancer. He was a veteran of the Korean Conflict and a retired Post Master. He was soft spoken, gentle and tender to the needs and hopes of others. Pat recounted, “He was always doing something for somebody, but you’d never know it.”

The following quote about heroism reminds me of Jun, “To live well in the quiet routine of life; to fill a little space because God wills it; to go on cheerfully with a petty round of little duties and little avocations; to smile for the joys of others when the heart is aching — who does this, his works will follow him. He is one of God’s heroes,” (Frederick William Farrar, 1831-1903).

No one considered Jun more of a hero than his mother-in-law, Laurie. Pat reflected: “Mom loved Jun more than anything in this world. He told mom that as long as he was around that she would never have to go to a nursing home. Jun would carry mom from the bedroom to the couch every morning and then back every night. When she didn’t recognize anyone else she still recognized Jun. She would look up and smile at him like a little kid and say, ‘hi June’”.

Shortly after Jun’s death, Pat reflected, “Something wonderful happened the moment that Jun died. Jun was in the hospital and he didn’t have anything to eat or drink for three days. He couldn’t swallow. He hadn’t moved or said a word. Our son, Jeff, and I stood by his bed all night long holding his hand. Then all of a sudden Jun sat straight up in bed, raised up my hand, and pointed up with one finger. He kept watching the ceiling. He said, ‘Laurie, is that you?’ He always called my mom, Laurie. He said it three times. Then he said, ‘Yes Laurie, I’m coming up, up, up.’ He fell back on his pillow and he was gone. He really saw her! Two girls that were working at the hospital that day were so affected by it that they asked for Sunday off so they could go to church. They’d never gone to church before.”

Jesus exhorts us, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them … do not sound a trumpet before you.” (Matthew 6:1-2) He also tells us, , “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth … but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21) I believe our treasures in heaven will be the lives we’ve impacted for Christ Jesus.

This thought is reflected in the lyrics of a contemporary Christian song by Ray Boltz, “Dreamed I went to Heaven and you were there with me. We walked upon the streets of gold beside the crystal sea. We heard the angels singing, then someone called your name. You turned and saw this young man and he was smiling as he came … One by one they came far as the eye could see. Each life somehow touched by your generosity. Little things that you had done, sacrifices made, unnoticed on the earth, in heaven now proclaimed … Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord. I am so glad you gave.” (“Thank You”)

Carol, a close friend and fellow social worker, stopped by my office the other day. We touch base from time to time just to see where each other is on their spiritual journeys. Carol shared that a question had been looming large in her mind lately, “When was the last time someone thanked God for me?” Now it’s looming large in my mind; what about in yours?

Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at . You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course,” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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