Felicity and I were coloring together one afternoon, when my cell phone rang. It was Jaime’s nurse at the hospice facility. “Mr. Hilton, we need you to come up right away. She will probably be gone soon.” I hung up and called the person I had designated for this moment and they came right away, grabbed Felicity’s things (I had packed for this moment), I gave Fee a hug and a kiss, and I ran out of the house to the car. As I got on to the interstate, I began pleading with God to let Jaime hold on until I got there. I looked off in the distance and began to see brake lights. I quickly found myself in afternoon traffic on the major interstate into Orlando. Tears began to fall down my cheek. I knew there was no way I was going to make it in time to see Jaime before she would pass away. I slammed my fist on the steering wheel and just called out, “Why God? Why am I in traffic? My wife is going to die and I won’t be there.” Just as soon as the words escaped my lips, He gently reminded me, “You don’t need to be there. You are not her escort.” Complete silence inundated the car and I was left with nothing but the acceptance that my presence in the room had absolutely nothing to do with her arrival in heaven. Within minutes, the traffic cleared, and I raced up the interstate to see my Jaime. As I got out of the car and walked to the door, I assumed she was already gone and that I would just be coming to visibly confirm what I knew was going to be. Jaime had not died that afternoon. She would hang on for two more days. Though, each day, it was more than obvious she was making a beautiful exit from this life into the next.
As I wait to hear about future job opportunities, there are moments when I have that similar sense of panic. “Maybe I should have said it this way,” or “Did they really understand my explanation of this?” Because I sat in traffic that Tuesday afternoon in December, though, those moments of fear are brief. Just as the calming voice reminded of me of the proper role I was to play in the final chapter of my wife’s life, there are waves of peace that wash over my concerns. “Be still and know” is what I hear. “I AM” shuts down the noise. “Watch! I am doing something new. I will make a way in the wilderness and provide streams in the desert” (Is. 43:19) is the soothing refrain. Never before, when faced with such a huge change in my life, have I ever been so aware of His presence and His peace. It began when I recognized how futile my attempts of control really are. The monsoon of His peace flooded my life when I surrendered the future to One who already has it mapped out to perfection. He knows my next move. He has the date and minute assigned for my last breath. It is truly a beautiful experience to watch Him lead me along this bend in the road. The best is yet to come!