I was driving down Beach Boulevard yesterday and passed a car with a dog straddling the driver and his head hanging out the window. The dog seemed to be enjoying himself biting at the fresh air. The wind was blowing in his face and his mouth was open, making him appear to be smiling. As I passed the car I could see the driver was smiling also as he sang along to the radio which was loud enough for me to hear. After I passed the car, my mind flashed back to 1959, our dog Lassie, and the trip our family took from Florida to Seattle before our time in Alaska. Lassie’s favorite place was in dad’s lap hanging out the window taking in the fresh air. In 1962 we returned to Florida the same way, with Lassie in dad’s lap, smiling a good portion of the 4000+ mile journey.
There seems to be a freedom that surrounds us and a sensation that all of life’s restrictions have been lifted from our shoulders when the fresh air meets our face. I think the wind provides the exhilaration so many people feel as they move down the highways on their Harleys or Gold Wings. Even though we often think about the wind as a powerful force, we must also be reminded that it can be our friend, quiet our souls and provide us peace when things get hot. In the OT, the word Ruach is used for both wind and spirit, because the Spirit is an invisible force and powerful when it moves. When I close my eyes and consider the dogs “smiling” or someone riding their cycle, I remember how God’s Spirit swept into a room on this day back in 2002.
Mom had been in Hospice for several weeks. All the children had arrived from around the world to be with her during those last days. As the matriarch of the family she had inspired many of them to careers of service. Several nights before all the girls had spent the night with her watching movies. They put a special dress on her, did her hair and applied make up a little more profusely than she might have liked. However, it was one heckuva slumber party. As we reminisced about the party the nurse came in to check her and said that it was time. As we gathered around her, I drew close to her face and held her hand, wishing there was something I could do, but knowing God was in control. At first I saw her grit her teeth as if to say: “I’m not ready yet.” For some reason, my sister said “Go with the angels’ mom.” Before the words were fully out of her mouth something entered the room because the dog jumped quickly under the bed. Suddenly her eyes opened more widely than I have ever seen and a smile like I had never seen crossed her face. It was as if she saw something we couldn’t see. Then she quietly whispered “Yes” and she was free. She left with the Spirit which invisibly entered the room.
What should not be amazing is that God would use something invisible and yet strongly powerful to illustrate both His strength and His tenderness. It is His Spirit that soothes us, nudges and directs us. But it is also His Spirit who sweeps us off our feet when He needs to. Mom showed me the Spirit with her life and then left with Him today in 2002. Someday we will all understand what made her smile that way and say “yes.” What a glorious day that will be.