Shining Like the Stars Forever and Ever
On this, the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death, I remember my daughter’s words in the last months of his long life.
In the book Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child, I share how my two children, despite their significant special needs, benefit from a classical Christian education which not only strengthens their minds, but also impacts their souls.
One recent event underscored what this kind of education can do for our children, and what it can do for the people in our children’s lives.
My children’s 90-year-old grandfather had been hospitalized for weeks. We were concerned that though he had been quite distraught at times, he had not received consistent spiritual comfort. So my daughter brought him the Sunday morning readings from Holy Scripture.
In the hospital’s gathering room, she began reading loudly and clearly to him from Isaiah 12:1-3:
I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
He listened. He heard. She continued with the New Testament passage.
His shoulders still drooping in the metal wheelchair, Pop grew quiet at the sound of the words. Then he surprised us by asking to see a copy of the readings. He straightened his body. Lifting his head, he reread the Isaiah verses out loud. Peace softened his worn face, and joy warmed his gray eyes. He smiled—a wonderful moment for all of us.
We still grieved while watching our loved one decline in mind and body, but that day my daughter Michelle, despite her own challenges, reminded us of this:
Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)
Originally Published in The Classical Teacher Summer 2016 edition.
Dr. Joseph A. Swope, 1926-2016
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