The Rest of The Way Posts

SINGING HER WAY HOME
Friday, January 31, 2020 by Leona Choy

I've just finished talking with MYFRIEND by phone. She lives in another state. I called her with my cell phone and she answered by lifting her cumbersome large phone with the big numbers to her shoulder with both floppy wrists and propping it up with her head to the side. Then she sang all the words to one of her favorite hymns—right on pitch, her voice still steady and strong. But if we were on Skype, I would see the rest of her ninety-some-year-old “earth suit” body lying helpless on a hospital bed.

MYFRIEND has been in Hospice care for a month in the final stages of IBM. Inclusion Body Myositis is a rare inflammatory and degenerative muscle disease of unknown origin, thought to be a form of autoimmune disorder. Commonly starting in later calendar years with a tendency to fall or trip, it progresses to painless weakening of hands, wrists and fingers and gradually the wasting of muscles in forearms and legs.

We laughed together as she described what an extended “platform” of influence God is giving her since she let go of “things of this world” by having to move out of the home where she and her late medical doctor husband lived for fifty years while raising their family.

“My family asked me what I wanted to do with my accumulation of years of heritage collections, library, antique furniture—all the 'stuff'—and it is so freeing to just let it go! I'm leaving my earthly home to go to my Eternal Home where Jesus said He is preparing 'A Place'. I trust that includes everything I'll need there.”

MYFRIEND described meal times when she is wheel-chaired to the dining room. “I have refused a feeding tube. As long as I can, I'll try to feed myself by wedging a fork between two fingers and trying to get food safely from my plate to my mouth. My cheerful aid-helper feeds me and cleans up when I fail—like this morning when I tipped over my cereal,” she chuckles. “In the final stages of IBM I know that swallowing will become impossible. I am likely to choke to death.”

I asked MYFRIEND how she manages at night. “I've had to learn the lesson of being thankful to accept help. Since I'm completely dependent, the night nursing girls have to come often to my room to attend to my needs. There's quite a turnover staff so I have quiet, private opportunities for close bonding chats with different ones. They share their problems with me. They are like my granddaughters. They are willing when I ask if I might pray for them. Day by day I encounter new medical people and caretakers and housekeeping staff. Such beautiful chances to be bold in my gentle witness for the Lord! After all, this is my last opportunity to introduce Him to anyone He sends to me.”

MYFRIEND doesn't hesitate to lay her gnarled, limp hand on her visitors to impart a blessing to them like the dying patriarch in the Bible record. Her Bible lies always open. Since she can't close her fingers anymore, she can't turn the pages well—her chance to ask her visitors to find a passage for her and they read and talk about it together.

She can't wave goodbye in a normal gesture either. So she has developed a side-wise wave that her grandchildren have picked up on, somewhat like one that Queen Elizabeth practices.

“So much of my body is paralyzed and unresponsive to my wishes, but the Lord has blessed me with a clear mind and a spirit that is responsive to the possibilities He is opening for me here to serve Him. My vocal chords are still unaffected and I can praise and thank Him for what I have left. I can still talk and sing. I use both to witness for Jesus. Careful not to disturb others, if I am alone in my room I sing to the Lord every precious hymn I can remember. Sometimes my door is inadvertently left ajar. I didn't realize I could be heard down the hall until other residents thanked me for lifting their spirits.”

“The day may come soon when my voice too will be affected. Then I will “sing with the spirit” silent words and melodies I have learned by heart. My voice crackles now but my spirit voice will be right on pitch. I will have an audience of One—the important One to Whom I direct my praise will hear me.”

After Mary anointed Jesus' feet with precious, costly fragrant perfume, He said that what she did would be remembered everywhere and forever. MYFRIEND is a beloved “person of influence” right where He has planted her for however short a time. She is living out Colossians 3:16, letting God's Word dwell in her richly rather than complaining about diminishing opportunities and her earth-life coming to a close. It is not insignificant that her final place of residence is called “Sunrise” not “Sunset.”

May this brief tribute of love and respect for MYFRIEND which I am posting on my blog extend her “platform” still further to you. I share it for our encouragement and example with my many friends who read this website. May we all learn to “Come before His presence with singing” during the rest of our journey Home, no matter what our lot in life. (Psalm 100)

 

 


Comments

Roger Warda From Macomb Two. MI At 2/9/2020 9:17:33 PM

Please give a warning when you send a blog like MYFRIEND, so I can have a box of Kleenex at my side. Like a melody you hear and it repeats all day, the story of MYFRIEND will repeat in my memory the rest of the day. THANKS LEONA. Love, Roger.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Roger, MYFRIEND is still with us, rejoicing in the Lord even while it is becoming more difficult. Their entire Care Facility is now quarantined because of virus--I don't know which virus.

Mary Koyan From Berea At 2/5/2020 8:15:11 AM

Oh my ! There are no words. What a beautiful life! We can only hope to live with such dignity and grace! And with such a magnificent witness to Christ! Oh Muriel,Dear one, May you rest in the arms of your loving savior and leave us in the most beautiful chariot as you go on before us.

Reply by: Leona Choy

I agree with your desire and prayer. Any may an abundant portion of her dedication and faithful life be left with us as she leaves. She is presently declining and can no longer sing with vocal chords, but makes melody in her heart nevertheless.

Susan From Kimler At 2/4/2020 3:27:33 PM

Many years ago I had a pneumonia that left me with nothing. I couldn't even breathe..breathing machine did that for me. Only 40, I was appalled to be so helpless. But in retrospect....I realized that needing care is one more way to give to God. You, care giver, and God..a lovely trinity! SING ON!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Yes, in our weakness and limitations the grace of God is all the more sufficient. Not an easy lesson to learn. There is a special grace we need to accept help when we need it. Muriel's voice is more faint but she sings in her spirit to an audience of One.

Rosa Maria From El Paso Texas At 2/4/2020 2:52:12 PM

Thank you and your frien because she is telling us to enjoy life and accept what God gives us at the end. Sing joyfully to God with song and psalms(Ps.95) We should always remember that no matter what state we find ourselves, God Loves us. May God continue Blessing you !

Reply by: Leona Choy

We each have our own song to sing in response to whatever circumstances of life we find ourselves. Sometimes in the major key, sometimes in the minor. But a song of thanksgiving and gratitude at all times is the melody that pleases the Lord.

Peggi Tustan From Cleveland, Ohio At 2/4/2020 8:38:18 AM

What a beautiful tribute! I'm in tears.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Peggi, MYFRIEND's name is Muriel and she has given permission for me to share it with friends who are led to pray her gently Home. She is still with us singing and witnessing of the Lord's goodness.

Mary Ellen From Birmingham At 2/3/2020 10:42:34 PM

WOW, Leona! Somewhat takes my breath away; what a very dear, faithful child of the Lord! Thank you for this inspiration to persevere until our appointment into His presence.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Muriel, MYFRIEND, has given permission to share her name with intercessors who want to join in praying her gently HOME when it's time.

yvonne From California At 2/3/2020 3:05:48 PM

I have to do my daily chores before I can talk in depth with you. But I do wish you a happy new 2020!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Dear Vonnie, feel free to share anything with me by email confidentially as I want to walk with you through any difficulties in this season of your life.God has promised that His goodness and mercy shall SURELY be with you 24/7 regardless of circumstances. I send this with my love and a big hug.

Meredyth witmer From Lancaster, Pa. At 2/2/2020 3:10:40 PM

Thanks, Leona, that was a very interesting and challenging story! It helps those of us with other medical problems to keep looking up and be a witness to other people in spite of our own difficulty! Blessings to you as you continue to write!!

Reply by: Leona Choy

The Lord sees your trust in Him despite any disorders of your "earth suit" body--"common to man" and woman too, of course, the apostle Paul calls them. The Lord uses your faithfulness in times of weakness as a witness to others beyond what you know. I pray that you may walk in His favor especially in decisions you need to make soon.

Joanne Seale From Winchester At 2/2/2020 8:06:38 AM

Leona, this is sooo beautiful! YOURFRIEND is such a special person, a saint in the way she has accepted her suffering and used it to give glory to God. I pray that I am able to accept God's will for me the way she has and do it joyfully and gratefully.

Reply by: Leona Choy

MURIEL has given me permission to let friends know her name who feel led to pray for her that God would lead her gently to her heavenly Home.She continues to be a shining light in her Hospice season.

“Ruth” From Ohio At 2/2/2020 7:01:01 AM

Our dear friend, It becomes quite evident God’s purpose in restoring you to active service! How many times you have brought a ray of light to us by your blogs. Here’s another one full of joy, full of counsel and encouragement! Thank you for sharing! ??

Reply by: Leona Choy

Muriel in Ohio has given me permission to share her name with friends who want to pray her gently Home. Yes, I have new light and direction and a clear,renewed calling since the blessings of my surgery.I'm experiencing an "eagle season rejuvenation" with a quickening of both body and spirit. Thank you for praying for me- please keep on.

Jack Curtis From Missouri At 2/1/2020 10:19:08 PM

Thank you, Mrs. Choy, for that beautiful piece. Thank you, Lord, for the melody you place in our heart.

Reply by: Leona Choy

God bless you Dr.Jack for your wisdom and skill 30 years ago in surgery for my lung cancer. God used you to heal my body to continue an active service for the Lord beyond anything I ever imagined.God bless you with His favor in this season of your life in some surprising ways. "May the music of your life draw people to inquire about the lyrics."

Dottie From Danbury At 2/1/2020 8:02:27 PM

Thank you, Leona. What a witness!

Reply by: Leona Choy

Her name is Muriel in Ohio and she is grateful for friends who want to pray for her. God grant that you and I when we walk our final path be as joyful and satisfied and eager to run into the arms of our Heavenly Father and experience Forever the celebration of Heaven.

Cathy From At 2/1/2020 4:59:26 PM

A beautiful tribute to a beautiful child of God.

Reply by: Leona Choy

May God grant that like my friend Muriel "the music of our lives might draw those who hear us singing to inquire about the lyrics and come to know the Composer."

Joyce Gates From Amherst, Ohio At 2/1/2020 4:02:16 PM

She is praising God and using her talents for Him.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Let's pray that Muriel's witness may bear fruit way beyond her sweet presence with us here. Thank you for being there for her at this summit time of her life. May the reward for her faithfulness be waiting at her WELCOME HOME celebration.

Lindsay Van Sicklen From Arkadelphia Arkansas At 2/1/2020 2:17:32 PM

What a beautiful tribute to your friend AND an example to those of us on different places in our lives.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Yes. And may the music of our lives be so joyous that those who hear us singing may inquire about the lyrics and meet the Divine Composer.

Joseph From Toronto, Ontario At 2/1/2020 12:30:33 PM

Dear Sister in Christ Leona: Thank you for sharing this very interesting and uplifting encounter. May the Joy of the Lord fill our hearts always looking forward to that perfect eternal body by Christ and for Christ glory alone. Joe S.

Reply by: Leona Choy

may the music of our lives be so joyous that those who hear us singing may inquire about the lyrics and meet the Divine Composer.

Elaine Marshall From Minnesota At 2/1/2020 8:30:55 AM

That tribute about your friend was so beautiful, What a joy it must be to be her friend! She, like you, is being a blessing to so many and honoring our Lord,

Reply by: Leona Choy

Friends sharpen friends and each builds the other up. I thank the Lord for bringing you into my life. MYFRIEND's name is Muriel in Ohio and she welcomes your prayers for the rest of her way Home.

Kay Dawson From Winchester,VA At 2/1/2020 7:54:53 AM

So much to appreciate about her, thank you.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Do you like this way of summing up our witness for the Lord under all circumstances? May the music of our lives be so joyous that those who hear us singing may inquire about the lyrics and meet the Divine Composer.

Sanna From Virginia At 2/1/2020 7:44:02 AM

What a blessing to read this today. I attended a funeral this week where four adult men gave testimony of the Godly life of their father, and how he fostered their relationship with Jesus. One son is a Federal Judge, two are pastors, and the fourth a military officer. God's continuing blessings.

Reply by: Leona Choy

I perceive that the Lord has planted you exactly where you will bear spiritual fruit for Him. May His favor and opportunities become so obvious to you that it will no longer surprise you. You are a faithful, shining light on a lamp stand in that particular residence among the exact people the Lord wants to reach.

Mary From Winchester At 2/1/2020 4:30:53 AM

Leona, this is beautiful and inspiring. Your friend has found, and is sharing, joy in her suffering. I hope I persevere as well as she. Thank you for sharing. Praying.

Reply by: Leona Choy

Her name is Muriel in Ohio and she welcomes prayers for the rest of her way Home, that the fruit of her witness will remain. I like to put it,"May the music of our lives be so joyous that those who hear us singing may inquire about the lyrics and be introduced to the Divine Composer.

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MOUNTAINS AND MOLEHILLS
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6/14/2019

CHEERLEADING
Leona Choy
6/6/2019

HANDS ON THE PLOW
Leona Choy
5/22/2019

WAITING FOR GRADUATION DAY
Leona Choy
5/17/2019

I THINK BOOKS
Leona Choy
5/13/2019

ONLY TALK WITH YOUR MOUTH FULL!
Leona Choy
5/4/2019

HO-HUM FAITH
Leona Choy
4/18/2019

BREATHTAKING THOUGHTS
Leona Choy
4/7/2019

TOO MUCH ON MY PLATE?
Leona Choy
3/31/2019

EARTH SUIT vs SPACE SUIT: Increasing Tension
Leona Choy
3/4/2019

AVOIDING A SPIRITUAL "OOPS!"
Leona Choy
3/1/2019

PURSUING WISDOM
Leona Choy
2/19/2019

A THORNY MATTER
Leona Choy
2/15/2019

A SOMEWHAT GRUMPY CHAT WITH GOD
Leona Choy
2/12/2019

A FISH STORY
Leona Choy
2/8/2019

LET'S EAT NOODLES TOGETHER!
Leona Choy
1/21/2019

SATISFIED--A SECRET TO SHARE
Leona Choy
1/11/2019

STILL RUNNING
Leona Choy
12/29/2018

RESISTANCE TO ASSISTANCE
Leona Choy
12/6/2018

CHALLENGE OF THE FOURTH QUARTER
Leona Choy
11/26/2018

KEEPING A TRADITION
Leona Choy
11/15/2018

PUBLISHING FUND PROGRESS
Leona Choy
11/5/2018

"GOING STEADY" WITH MY "SUGAR CANE"
Leona Choy
11/3/2018

A SHOUT-OUT FOR A NEW BUTTERFLY
Leona Choy
10/31/2018

THANKSGIVING IN OCTOBER
Leona Choy
10/7/2018

REPEAT OFFENDERS
Leona Choy
9/30/2018

SHINING WHEN YOUR BATTERY IS LOW
Leona Choy
9/21/2018

I DESERVE IT...DESERVE IT NOT....
Leona Choy
9/13/2018

WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Leona Choy
9/10/2018

WAITING FOR GOD'S DUE TIME
Leona Choy
9/3/2018

STONES AND COVERUPS AND HOLY EARS
Leona Choy
8/31/2018

IT'S ALL ABOUT SHOES
Leona Choy
8/29/2018

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MY CELL TOWER
Leona Choy
8/27/2018

REJUVENATION GOD'S WAY
Leona Choy
8/17/2018

STUCK IN THE MUD?
Leona Choy
8/13/2018

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR
Leona Choy
8/8/2018

WHEN'S A GOOD TIME TO "EXULT"?
Leona Choy
7/30/2018

Survey For the Calendar-Challenged
Leona Choy
7/25/2018

Destiny Decisions
Leona Choy
7/19/2018

BEDROOM SLIPPERS OR HIKING BOOTS?
Leona Choy
7/18/2018

Hurrah for the Prepper Bridesmaids!
Leona Choy
7/13/2018

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS?
Leona Choy
7/10/2018

BARNACLES
Leona Choy
6/5/2018