The Last Mile
Dad's Last Mile by Irene M. Donahue
It's sunset coming over the land. The flat farming country is cut through by a very straight road going up to a slope. But it's more than just sunset. It's the fall season with its golden-orange tones and rich hues signaling the end of summer and soon the start of winter. On the road about midway is the back of a man walking with a cane. To his right is the only tree in the picture. Could it be the tree of life -- his life? As a whole the tree has a beautiful form - broad and sturdy. But looking closer we see dying leaves and scraggly branches. By the time the man reaches the crest of the hill, the leaves will be gone and the tree dormant. All throughout life the roads have been anything but straight. But this last mile of his journey is completely certain.
This picture has deep significance to me because it was one that my mother painted when dad was going through his final journey with Alzheimer's. Dad walks on the left side of the road because his dear Heavenly Father walks beside him on the right. No, we don't see Him but He's there. All his life dad knew that God was with Him and arranging his life. I remember the day he told me that and the gratitude he had for all the good things God had given him. His tree would soon be dormant on earth but it was about to blossom into something even more beautiful over the crest of the hill. Mom was there during dad's final years but since we all walk into eternity with God alone she painted more of true reality than she probably realized at the time.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to walk through every part of life in partnership with Him. If we will allow Him to do so, then when it's time to walk the last mile he'll be there as He was every other day in our life. We won't need to fear that last mile because the Father will be right there helping to steady us -- symbolized by the cane.
God already knows the bright future just over the hill and is prepared to guide us there. Ahead of the Father is Jesus, the cosmic carpenter preparing our home in eternity. He tells us that he goes to prepare a place for us so that we should not let our hearts be troubled. Even in death God has everything arranged for us just as He had in life. Take His hand and "let not your heart be troubled." (John 14:1)