Heaven is the face...
June 3, 2010
A year ago this month we started our cancer journey with my mom...well she had actually started it much earlier, but just didn't know it yet. By the time we found out, there was not a lot of itme left to spend with her. Last summer was spent driving back and forth, spending a lot of time with mom and my sisters and dad, and just thinking through some of the stuff that was happening around me, as surreal as it all seemed. I have one particular memory of sitting on the porch with her and holding her hand. She was not yet too sick from chemo or jaundiced and worn out, so we could sit and chat for a while. I remember her saying she knew that she was probably not going to get through it. And though I had thought that, it was hard to hear her say it. Yet there was such a peace between us. Even though we were both crying and wishing that we had more time here, and wishing that we had made our time here on earth more precious together, we also realized that this is so temporary.
I hear that song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Heaven is a Place" and I can understand what he is saying. "God, I know it's all of this and so much more, but God, you know that this is what I'm longing for..."
Having lived in Malawi for a year, we held the hands of many people that we loved, and sat with them as they mourned for their loved ones that had died. We lost a few people that we had cared for...but not to the extent that I did last year. Now I feel like I am a part of that club. It's not a club that anyone is clamoring to join, but sooner or later, we all become a part of it. Death in Malawi was not considered the worst thing that could happen to a Christian. It was accepted as a normal part of life. Though there was pain and grief (and sometimes very public displays of it) there was also the idea of living each day for what it was...a gift. When you live every day around sickness, disease, and poverty, you realize that every day you see means you have cheated death once more, and that life is precious and temporary.
As Christians we know that it is not really cheating death, but rather being alive in God's plan for our lives - a plan that he had from before time began. I am very thankful for my mother, who was the first person to teach this to me, and continued to teach it right up until she entered eternity.
So as I enter this summer - one that will be very different from last summer - I hold tight to those memories, love on my family, and fall deeper and more in love with my creator each day. And look forward to the day when we are all together again, with no more death, tears, or sorrow. But I also pray that I live here on earth each day with a vibrancy, and a passion for this life that he has given me.
Thank you, Jesus!