“NO MORE.” The 72 year-old woman said the words as clear as a bell, and her daughter understood her loud and clear. She put down the spoon that held the food that she was offering her mother. Her mother had been stricken with Parkinson’s nearly 15 years ago. From the stories I have heard, this precious woman endured those years with grace, tenacity, and courage. A woman with a doctorate in education, she had invested in many schools and countless students in the area both as an educator and as an assistant principal. She was a mother and a grandmother who adored her grandsons. She loved music, played piano, and sang in the choir.
But Parkinson’s slowly and methodically invaded those areas of her life. There was no more teaching, singing, piano playing. No more independence and no more of the freedom to invest and impact her world at will. Like so many diseases, Parkinson’s can slowly overtake the functions of the body until the brain and the body just don’t work together. So, when this precious lady who was struggling with speech summoned up all of her will to communicate clearly and emphatically to say “NO MORE”, her daughter knew it was about a lot more than her mom just rejecting the food that she was offering to her.
Less than a month from the time that she had declared “NO MORE”, I sat in this woman’s sweet memorial service, and listened to music and heard more about this faithful and caring woman who loved the Lord, loved her family, and impacted her community in quiet yet far-reaching ways. I watched as her family listened and quietly took it all in, knowing that so much of what we endure in life, things that we would never choose, may very well end up being the things which help others see the glory of God in our lives that wouldn’t have been nurtured on an easier path. It is one thing to be faithful and courageous in easier times. It is quite a different story to see grace, faith, and courage through extremely difficult circumstances.And then, as the Pastor continued to preach, I heard those words again.
“NO MORE”. But this time, it definitely wasn’t at all about food. No, the Pastor was saying it loud and clear: “No more pain. No more suffering.” And I smiled from ear to ear and the tears welled up in my eyes because it was clear. She was no longer bound to a body that betrayed her. She was free. No more pain. No more suffering. No more. NO MORE. NO MORE.
I think that day that Dr. Janice Sale said, “NO MORE”, she knew the reality of the “no more” that was to come. She knew the Bible and what it said about eternal life. She knew the verses of No more pain, no more suffering. She was ready to let go and to help others she loved to let go. And now? Now they can focus on the beauty that she is free to speak loud and clear. And in a way, I think that is what she actually did that day. She spoke loudly and clearly. Those she left behind can hold on to her words, “NO MORE”. No more tears. No more suffering. No more pain.
For now, the tears are falling for those who will so miss this precious lady. But thank God we are so not without Hope. We have a living Hope who calls us to live fully with what we have, where we have it. But one day,….one day, there will be so much more than what we can even imagine. According to Ephesidan 3:20, God has way more in store for us than what we can even think or imagine. “IMMEASURABLY MORE of the great things. NO MORE of the pain.
So in the grieving, am hoping that those who loved Dr. Janice Sale well as an educator, mom, grandmother, friend, sister will smile with the hope and courage that she infused in them not only in the impactful way that she lived her life, but also in the way she was willing to let go when it was time to let go and move on. Praying that God will wipe every tear, for the tears will fall for sure. Here’s to the beauty of a life well lived and a woman well loved. Praises to our God who so knows our limits and who gives immeasurably more than what we can ask or imagine. IMMEASURABLY MORE. Praises to our God who makes all things new. Not just for Janice Sale, but for all of us who will call upon His precious Name.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21: 3-5
Photo taken from a plane on May 21, 2015 somewhere between Shelby, NC and New Smyrna Beach, Florida…