He surely couldn't mean dying. Not yet!

I tried to think of some appropriate last words to say in case this really was the end, but my mind went blank. I started to say, "I love you," but he interrupted me with one word. It sounded like, "cold."

"Oh! You're cold!" I tried to reach for the blanket, but he wouldn't let go of my hand.

He tensed, and quickly spelled it for me, with emphasis on the g sound, "G-o-l-d, gold. G-o-l-d, gold and silver. G-o-l ? "

I was shivering. My heart was pounding. I leaned my head against the cold metal bed rail. "Lord, please carry him gently," I prayed.

"We love you, Dad," I kept repeating, as he took four long, shuddering breaths, and then was still. His hands became limp.

I should call the nurse, I thought. But I couldn't move.

I sat there in the darkness, holding Dad's badly bruised hands with intravenous fluids still running into them. My forehead seemed fused to the bed rail. Tears ran down my cheeks.

Six inches from my face, something supernatural had occurred, something far greater than my mind could absorb. I knew God was in the room, but I couldn't see him or feel him. I longed to be able to see what Dad had seen.

My mind was bursting with questions. Where was Dad right now? Could he see me crying? Had he heard the "good-bye" I said after he stopped breathing? Where is Heaven? Is it out beyond the earth's atmosphere like I always imagined? Or could it be very near? If Dad could see it while he was holding my hands, how far away could it be?

I gently laid Dad's hands on the bed, and walked out to the nurse's desk. I dried my cheeks and blew my nose. "Excuse me," I said, "my father-in-law is gone."

She jumped out of her chair. "What do you mean, 'gone'?"

p>"He just died," I said with a sob.

"That can't be!" she stammered. "He was just joking with me a few minutes ago."

She grabbed her stethoscope and rushed into his room, turning on lights and calling his name.

I walked down the hall to tell my husband that his father had just gone to heaven, and there really is gold there.

A Christian Reader original article.

A First Timer at the Last Supper

by Michelle Ablard

When my niece Carly turned two, I decided to take her to our church's Passion Play?a dramatic presentation performed before thousands of people. We arrived early and headed to the front row. I knew part of the fun would be watching Carly, who immediately got into the story, captivated by what was happening.

It was time for the scene from the Last Supper. Jesus told Peter why he must wash his disciple's feet. "Lord, don't just wash my feet, wash my head, and my hands, too," Peter replied.

Carly was definitely paying attention to this conversation, as she stood up and shouted at the top of her lungs, "And wash his tummy, too!"

1999 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian magazine (formerly Christian Reader).
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