The flight from Dallas to Omaha was mercifully on time while the timing of this little trip could not have come any better. Although it had been a relatively smooth school year, there were the usual pressures and anxious moments ladled with deadlines, broken pipes, leaking roofs, and the occasional unhappy, complaining parent or unsatisfied bureaucrat from Central Office who had to “put their two cents in” and criticize some aspect of how his school was running. Still, he took it all in stride, and with a nod here and a slight smile there, he was able to muddle through it all somehow.
As a former teacher and now a principal of a relatively small but remarkably exciting campus, this man was an amazing example of resilience. Even when personal issues, heartache, or emotional disappointments beset him, he always seemed to have a smile, a quick, pithy remark, and a sincere compliment to offer from how wonderful the sun felt on his face to the “best cup of coffee” he had just enjoyed.
This spontaneous decision to visit old friends in the Midwest was not only welcomed, but it was also necessary. A spot of perspective was just what he needed, and as he began boarding the flight, he knew immediately that it was indeed the right choice. His body already began to relax and move ever so slowly into vacation mode as he found his seat, on the aisle, just as he had reserved, and took out a book on successfully carrying one’s cross in the modern world.
“Oh great,” he said under his breath, “it’s not going to be a full flight,” and then began to watch as the other passengers began to saunter onto the plane. One by one, he surveyed his two-hour companions on this somewhat short flight and began to wonder about the lift stories that each was carrying, just waiting to tell the world. Having dealt with every conceivable type of personality in his school and in his wonderfully full life, he could only imagine what was behind those somewhat hurried faces, some of which looked confused and harried, perhaps because they had just made it in time to make this flight. “And where are they all going?” he thought to himself, “and just what is waiting for them when they get there?”
Although it was quite a pensive approach to travelling for anyone, it was this same creative imagination that helped him deal with so many kinds of people and situations. Perhaps it was his past that brought him to this way of being. He had not always been a teacher, or principal, or even in education. His first dream was to be a doctor and maybe he had what it took, and maybe he did not, but it simply did not materialize. One setback after another literally brought him to his knees one night when he realized it was not going to happen. Long nights crying in front of all his neatly stacked medical books in his small bedroom brought him only restlessness, high blood pressure, and staggering debt. It was clearly the end of this chapter of his life, but would there be another?
That stream of consciousness seemed to take only a blink of an eye, but it lasted about twenty minutes, just enough time for the last passenger to board and get this Nebraska-bound flight ready to depart. The final one to board was a man in his forties, kind of tall, glasses, and seemingly lost in his thoughts. He sat in the same row as the principal by the window and just began to stare out onto the tarmac, seemingly unconcerned about flight, his surroundings, including the only other person close to him. The flight finally left and achieved a cruising altitude. Most of the others onboard either attached themselves to their headphones, earbuds, or other listening devices so the cabin was generously quiet. The man in the window seat just kept staring out into the clouds emitting sounds ever so often that sounded like whimpering.
“Are you okay?” the principal asked.
He thought that perhaps the man just wanted to be left alone so he went back to his book. After about ten minutes, the somber gentleman slowly turned to his right and gently asked, “Do you believe in Heaven?”
“Well, I would have to answer with an overwhelming ‘yes,’ otherwise I don’t think I would have come this far and this much in peace,” came the reply.
The window passenger continued: “Two weeks ago, my six-year-old son didn’t want to go to school because he said he had a headache. My wife gave him a children’s’ aspirin and some cold orange juice and assured him it would be fine. Later in the day, the school called to report that he had a fever, so we brought him home. The next morning, he got worse and fainted in the bathroom. We rushed him to the hospital where after an awfully long day, the doctor informed us that he had an inoperable tumor in his head and there was nothing we could do but just make him comfortable as possible and wait for the end.”
The teacher/principal just listened intensely, feeling as if he and his companion were the only ones in that cabin. His friend continued:
“Finally, on a bright, sunny afternoon, I was with my son, holding his hand, watching him slip away. He weakly asked me, ‘Daddy, is it getting dark outside?’ The sun couldn’t have been shining any brighter at that moment, so I knew what was coming. I told him, ‘Yes, Son, the night is coming. Are you ready? ‘Yes, Daddy. I am. I will see you in the morning,’ and with that, I lost my son in this life.”
The principal fought hard to keep it together and decided that the best thing he could do is just nod in compassionate solidarity. After a brief but poignant moment of silence, the grieving father turned to his fellow passenger, with tears streaming down his face, and quietly uttered:
“I can’t wait till morning.”
Share your thoughts (16 thoughts)
“Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?’” – Leo Buscaglia
16 thoughts on “I Can’t Wait Till Morning”
What a heart felt message! We never do know the big picture of God. We have all been blessed with so many talents. Thank you for this most thought provoking and inspirational message. God bless you!
Thank you very much, Rose, for the tie and effort to reflect with us after reading “I Can’t Wait Till Morning.” Of keen note is your phrase, “We never know the big picture of God.” I could not agree more! I think each of us are asked to forget what hurt us in the past, while never forgetting what it revealed to us. This is why if the past taught us to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, and never forgive or show compassion, to categorize the entire universe into meaningless compartments, and then to continue on the world with deep distrust and cynicism, then it is painfully clear that we didn’t learn anything from life. God never opens lessons just to close our heart. He brings us lessons to open it, by developing compassion, learning to listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If we only met “perfect” people and pristine, uncomplicated situations, how would we ever learn to become spiritually mature? God bless you and all your family Rose. God is so good. I simply can’t wait to the Morning of our own Resurrection!
Each of your blog entries is a journey that most of us have experienced on some level, either first-hand or through acquaintances. They make you think, triggering memories of gratitude, sadness, wishful-thinking, and thoughts of “there but for the grace of God, go I.” Every day is a gift and every day you have to share it with people you love is a celebration. Children, no matter our age or theirs, always hold a special place in our hearts. I remember when my mom passed away at the young age of 49 and my grandmother who was 69 at the time, at seeing her daughter in the coffin, cried out, “my baby!” It hurt her so deeply, as it did all of us, to see her daughter there, lifeless, gone. My mom was my grandmother’s closest companion since the passing of my grandfather 14 years earlier. My mom took her to the grocery store, garage sale hopping on the weekend, and lent an eager ear when she needed to talk. Losing my mom affected us all but it affected my grandmother the most. A little over 5 months later my grandmother passed away. She survived 14 years after my grandfather’s passing but not even a half a year after my mother’s death. Children are the greatest gift on earth. As parents, we expand our capacity to love, we re-live the happy times of our childhood vicariously through them, and we experience what it is to nurture and protect.
Welcome back, Ron, and thank you for adding your rich experiences to the mix of our conversation in response to “I Can’t Wait Till Morning.” Of particular appreciated note was your phrase: “Every day is a gift and every day you have to share it with people you love is a celebration.” The death of a child is devastating and often referred to as the worst experience a parent can endure. A child’s death causes a profound family crisis. It shatters core beliefs and assumptions about the world and the expectations about how life should unfold. The overwhelming suffering and intense emotions that flood the days, weeks, months, and years following the loss is called grief.
The pain of grief is extremely intense as parents digest the finality of never seeing their child again and the loss of future hopes and plans. While memories of the child flood their mind, they also experience a deep emptiness and unimaginable void in their lives. Grief impacts a parent’s whole identity as well as the identity and security of other members of the family. This is precisely why sharing our thoughts and feelings, especially when we write them down, allow others to peruse and comment on them, and then reflect with the bright promise of immortality is indeed the most wonderful way to enter these seasons of faith and growth. So many of our readers feel the same way. May the Easter Season continue to shed light and comfort as we continue on the road to meet the Lord Jesus face to face.
“The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies.”
There may be no greater anguish in our shared human experience than the loss of a child. The love parents have for their children is difficult to convey to a non-parents. It’s like trying to tell someone who’s never tasted ice cream or chocolate what chocolate ice cream tastes like. The only way the person can understand is to taste chocolate ice cream. When a person becomes a parent they understand God’s love a little more fully. The loss of a child seems open a void in the heart that is so deep and dark it’s frightening. We also encounter God’s love in that place. Jesus is there to meet and comfort us. He compassionately understand. His mother lost her son too. I was very touched by this story. We’re all on the same path in our life journey.
Thank you again, Dr. Montez, for sharing your thoughts in response to our latest blog offering. The death and loss of a child is frequently called the ultimate tragedy. Many argue, nothing can be more devastating. Along with the usual symptoms of grief, there are many issues that make parental bereavement difficult to resolve. The relationship between parents and their children is among the most intense in life. Much of parenting centers on providing and doing for children, even after they have grown up and left home. A child’s death robs them of the ability to carry out the unique parenting role as we have imagined it, as it is “supposed” to be. Often there are feelings of an overwhelming sense of failure for no longer being able to care for and protect one’s child, duties that were expected to fulfill for many years.
It must be remembered that bereaved parents can mourn the death and loss of a child of any age, and that it feels unnatural to outlive a child. It does not make a difference whether your child is three or thirty-three when your son or daughter dies. The emotion is the same. All bereaved parents lose a part of themselves.
The search for meaning in a child’s death is especially important to parents. An understanding of how a death fits into the scheme of life is difficult and often unattainable. Faith is a source of comfort for some parents, but others with religious beliefs report feeling betrayed by God. Religious confusion is normal, as is questioning many things that you may have believed to be certain. One father dealing with the death of a child reported that his faith in life in general had been shattered. He had long believed that if you lived your life as a good person, striving to make a positive contribution to the world, life would turn out well. The death of his son robbed him of that belief. This reaction isn’t uncommon; losing a child feels like the ultimate violation of the rules of life.
Surviving the death and loss of a child takes a dedication to life. As a parent, one gives birth to life as a promise to the future. Now they must make a new commitment to living, as hard or impossible as it may seem right now. Thank you for your comments. You remind us, Doctor, that we all will survive this the remarkable journey of grief, one that has the potential of deep-seated change for the better!
Every death we encounter in our lives is never easy. Whether one believes in Heaven or not, it hurts just the same. My younger cousin and I had a “window seat” encounter some years back: She had recently, and randomly, brought up the sudden deaths of her baby brother, mom, and grandma. They were taken from her on the same morning while she was at school. Her grandpa found them… She was only five at the time. She grew up with us, lived with me and my family for a while, until her grandpa was well enough to take over. She didn’t know exactly what happened, but when she was old enough to obtain their death certificates, she was horrified. I always know what to say when someone is going through a painful situation, and even though I remember so vividly the day the tragedy happened, I was absolutely frozen; I couldn’t speak. I just listened. I never heard her talk about that day until then. The thing that captivated me was her absolute love for God and the church. She never asked why they had to die, she never had hate for the man who caused it, she trusted that the Lord had a reason, and as hurt and torn as she was, she never questioned Him. I reached out and held her in a tight hug. When I thought I was consoling her, it turned out she was consoling me! “It’s ok, cousin. They’re always with me and they’ll be waiting for me at the gates. I just have to keep trusting God and living my life to the fullest, loving every blessing He has given our family.” I was sobbing ghastly by this time and she continued to hold me until she cracked a joke to lighten the mood. I’ll never understand what it’s like to be in the shoes of those who have suffered tremendous tragedy like my cousin and the father in your story. But as a strongly empathetic person, I find the best thing I could do is just listen. Whether she intended to or not, her trust in the Lord was so genuine and full of hope that she sparked a new level of faith within my spiritual self. I’ll always picture my cousin looking out an airplane window at the golden sunset clouds now and think, “Death is nothing to be feared so long as God resides within you and you live within Him. Trust in Him, love as He does, and live joyfully.”
Again, Kristen, our deepest thanks and gratitude go out to you for your very generous sharing of even the more painful memories that make up the fabric of our existence. Every once and a while, we meet someone so special that they not only leave a lasting memory but also make such a difference in our lives that we can’t imagine what life would have been like had they have ever entered into it. Articles and memories like these bring us together at one particular time and place united as it were by our friendship, our memories, and certainly our love of those we have loved and have lost. Although this is sad, it also brings forward many other different kinds of feelings and inner movement that it may take a while to truly process what it means to face death. Even the mere mention of the word may be unsettling but whether or not we are at peace right now, we want peace in our hearts and the want of that comfort is a great start. Let us then be very patient with each other because everyone grieves in a different way because everyone has their own way to find meaning in this life.
We came from God, and slowly but surely, we are moving back to him, face to face, to give whatever account we have of how we used these precious pearls of time while we were alive. Everyone faces storms in life. Everyone must find the truth about life and death and perhaps that is the one thing we can receive today thanks to our relationship with our loved ones because although death is an end to a physical existence, it is not the end of a relationship. That maybe why some can’t (or won’t) deal with these moments. The message and experience must be too much, too overwhelming. But we must try. For you see they mystery of this very moment is this: Grief is the price we pay for loving, and when we stop for a minute and think about it, it is indeed a fair price because loving another person in this life is to see the face of God.
“Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.” Emily Dickinson
Another beautiful story that reminded me that God puts us where He wants us to be at that moment. God has it all planned out. The teacher, now principal, wanted to be a doctor. God, of course, had other plans for him. Plans to eventually meet this father whose son had died. This principal was the father’s angel. The angel he needed at that moment. Though the principal didn’t respond, he was there, where God wanted him to be, for this grieving father. Be an angel for someone. Whether it be a smile, a compliment, a God bless you, just be where God wants you to be. Then we can all say “I can’t wait till morning!”
We all want to go to heaven… that’s our goal, right?
Yes, indeed, Julie! Our goal is to one day, walk through those proverbial “pearly gates” and finally encounter the greatness that has been promised to us from all time and won for us by the Greatest Sacrifice on the Cross. Our home is there and we are just passing through this earthly existence to get to our REAL home. Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish; Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal. –Thomas Moore
Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us your thoughts about our latest offering, “I Can’t Wait Till Morning.” Have a wonderful and blessed week ahead!
Beautiful story. It helped me stop and contemplate heaven. The song “I Can Only Imagine” came to mind as did the hymn “Eye Has Not Seen”. So I now pray, “Spirit of Love, come, give us the mind of Jesus, teach us the wisdom of God” and prepare me for the times when I sit in the window seat and for the times when I sit in the aisle seat.
Thank you, Sylvia, for your insight into our latest offering of “I Can’t Wait Till Morning.” Many of us are also fans of that hymn where we beg for the mind of Jesus: what a beautiful prayer! If only we could remember that when we face life’s coldest and darkest moments and confront those whose lives have been darkened by cynicism and guilt. I like your perspective on the different seats on life’s airplane we ride depending on the day and circumstances. Sometimes we want the aisle seat to watch the world spin and take that front-row seat of adventure and others, we want the window so we can gaze onto the sky and dream of Heaven.
I loved this story! Two strangers coming together to share their hearts; one broken and the other so receptive and loving. Beautiful and comforting words from a brother in Christ. Sometimes all we need is for someone to listen. Compassionate solidarity…perfect! God is with us! Thank you for this article!
Thank you very much, Mary Ann, and welcome back to these pages. I truly appreciated your perspective that sometimes all we need is just someone, anyone to listen to us at the right time. I hope that all of us can be that someone for a person whom God will place in our path this coming week. “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” –Karl A. Menniger
I used to worry when my kids would tell me, “I can’t wait to go to Heaven, Mom.” With so much loss in their lives in the past few years, I could see why this may have come across to me as a negative thing. I now whole-heartedly understand that they know Heaven is where they will be 100% completely content and full of happiness all the time, where they get to see their beloved April, their dog, their family members, talk to God and ask him all these questions, etc. A place where I too “can’t wait until the morning,” to meet our creator and be in the presence of the Angels and Saints.
Another great article and waiting for the next one, already!
May we all be in the presence of today, grow in our faith, enjoy every moment we are given, and show Jesus in all we do! God bless you, always!
Thank you so very much, Veronica, and for sharing more of those wonderful snippets of conversations from our some that help us make more sense of this adventure we know as life. Heaven in fact is the goal, the destination, and the supreme happiness that awaits us like the celebration that never ends. The reality of heaven reminds us that there is more to life here on earth, that we have reason to hope for eternal joy. The fact that God created an eternal home with no chaos or hatred for us reveals that He has not forgotten us. It tells us that He longs to be with His creation, His children, forever.
We all desire heaven, even if we don’t name it so. I know some people would rather not believe in “mystical things” mainly because of fear, the self-doubt of unworthiness, or simply because they are too busy with “reality.” But the fact remains that we were made for Heaven. Besides, who doesn’t want to experience rest, peace, hope, joy, and the certainty of being loved? I can’t think of anyone.