On Sunday morning I learned that a man dear to our congregation had suffered a heart attack and was in hospital. His name was Frank….. ‘Father Frank’ to many.
Our dear Frank was 89 years old and was known for his prayers. He would pray for individuals, for families, for those in trouble or for those who weren’t. He was a prayer warrior. Who knows the incredible impact that his prayers have had on the lives of our faith community over the years!
When I heard this news I felt a nudge to go see him and to pray with him in the hospital. I also wanted to thank him for his prayers for our family over the years. As I quickly reviewed my busy week ahead I thought, “I’ll pray for him when he goes back to his nursing home” which, I assumed, would be later on this week.
Imagine how I felt yesterday when my husband told me that Father Frank had passed away.
I immediately felt a sense of frustration and sadness that I hadn’t listened to that God-nudge I had felt on Sunday. How did I brush it away so flippantly under the guise of my busy-ness and the stressful schedule of the week ahead?
I assumed I would have time.
I hope that Frank knows how much he was loved and cared for. I feel sad that I was not able to see him one last time, to say what I wanted to and to pray for him.
In the fall of 2005 we discovered that my dad had esophageal cancer. In looking at the rather grim prognosis stats for this type of cancer, I realized that death was an imminent possibility in my own family. I was scared, but not without hope. About this time, I heard this song by John Meyer and it became an important reminder for me.
We never know how long our days on earth will be. Thankfully in my dad’s case, he has been cancer-free for 3 years now. It is important to be real, to be honest and to say what we need to say to those whom we love. Not only that, but it is important to listen to those small nudges, those times when God prompts us to do something. It might be something out of the ordinary for you, but it could also be something totally normal and routine. We need to listen carefully for those small nudges. Don’t judge, just act. Act in faith that God wants to work through you.
As far as Frank is concerned, I know that right now he is enjoying the party of a lifetime, hanging out with his dear friend Jesus. And I am happy for him that he has made it home, to where he truly belongs.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you…” 1 Peter 1:3-4