I am feeling incredibly blessed tonight.

Dad steadily improved in the hospital and was discharged yesterday. We were able to settle him into the skilled nursing/rehab facility that is connected with his current independent living complex. We hope that he might be able to become strong enough to transition to the assisted living area, to regain at least a measure of his independence.

What could have been a hard, frustrating day, wasn’t. We were able to facilitate an early and simple discharge and Dad accepted his new residence with grace and gratitude. Last night when he prayed, he was in awe of how God had provided for him so well. I can tell you that is not a typical reaction to a nursing home admission.

Today Larry moved a little bit of his furniture to his new room, making it feel a little bit more like home and Connie and I labeled all his clothes with a couple of really cool little machines provided by the home. I sat with Dad through all his meals and spent most of the day quietly in his room.

He is still weak and unsteady, but moves slowly and carefully. During his last rehab he learned to use a wheelchair to move around and really does quite well, though best with someone there helping/coaching him. He was evaluated by PT and anxious to start working to gain strength.

After dinner he was so tired that he was ready for bed (6 pm.) He went into a deep hard sleep in his recliner, sleeping through Larry and Connie’s visit. When he eventually woke up, he got up and got dressed for bed but then wanted to sit up a bit longer. We started talking about his mother and his step-father. I’d spent time with my grandmother in her very late years and watched her age with much grace and an ardent desire “to go home.” I am seeing the same spirit in my Dad. He also talked about the ways God provided for him in sending Laurence Christie into their lives. We talked about Mom’s Swedish heritage. And we talked about the blessing of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

And then I suggested that we pray for our family. After Dad started to pray, I briefly contemplated grabbing my I-Phone and recording it, but I did not. It was so sweet to listen to the heart of this old man who reminded God five or six times that he was ready to come home, but trusted God and thanked him for his care and provision. He thanked him for years (89) of care. “You are good. You are gracious. You are merciful.” I believe he prayed for about 20 minutes, as a man conversing with a good friend. He prayed backwards and forwards, appreciating God’s goodness in the past and looking for future answers as well.

I remember driving around Scotland wanting to drink in the peace of the rolling green hills and pastoral scenes. (I had two small children at home at the time and wanted to store it up for the future.) I feel a little bit like that now, wanting to savor these moments with my father. I know that this is just a temporary stay of the inevitable, but it has been so sweet to sit by his bedside, to help him make this “overwhelming” transition, but especially to pray with him and listen to him pray.

I am truly blessed.

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