Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Live with courage, die with dignity...

My body will be laid to rest in a Covington Cherry casket.

I'm not sure where I heard that, but it has taken on a poignant meaning to me.

I am dying.

Those are three of the hardest words I have ever had to say.

I have prayed for healing and I know healing is mine.  Family and friends have prayed for healing for me; I know their prayers were heard and are answered.  But not in the way they want or want to believe.  Healing will come to me, ultimate healing, the healing that leaves no room for sickness or pain to ever be a part of my existence again. 

Healing that comes when I take that final step into eternity when Jesus calls my name.  Eternal life at the feet of Jesus and in the eternal presence of my Heavenly Father. 

Dying grace is being given to me now daily.  Each day I see more of heaven and less of now.  When Momma went to heaven, I missed her but the pain wasn't unbearable.  When Daddy went to heaven, the pain was much more real because he had lived with me, died in my bedroom.  Neither of those experiences was unbearably painful.

When Terry went to be with Jesus, a part of me went with him.  Even now, over 3-1/2 years later, the pain is sometimes so deep it is almost palpable.  I often could not think of heaven in any terms except that I would see Terry again.

The truth is this, I'm not sure what heaven holds as far as knowing my loved ones there.  For the first time since Terry's homegoing, I'm ok with that.  I may or may not know Terry or Momma or Daddy or my babies.  That is ok.

I will know Jesus and He will know me and will call me by name; not by my earthly name, but by the name He gave me the moment I asked Him into my heart.

Live with courage....I honestly don't think I understood what that meant.  What is living with courage?  I once thought it meant living like you weren't apprehensive about death.  I once thought it meant living as if death were somehow a welcome event to come in your life.  I once thought it meant living with sickness, pain and disappointment as if they didn't affect your spirit and your heart; your relationship with Jesus.

I now know living with courage means admitting that, although you are secure in your salvation, death remains a source of apprehension and yes, even sometimes fear.  Not fear due to insecurity about my relationship with Jesus Christ, but fear of the experience of dying.  Fear of the pain that often comes with the diseases that destroy our flesh prior to our homegoing.  Fear of the unknown, of stepping into that immortal existence.  Fear of leaving my loved ones behind.  Fear of not knowing what the future experience will be like.  Fear that those I love will forget about me once I am gone.

It all sounds so 'unchristian' when I say it or write it, yet those are the things I have been dealing with.  It sounds so vain to say that I am afraid that those I love will forget me, yet it is true.  If I am vain, then I must own it and seek God's help in dealing with it.

I have tried so hard to be positive, to put on a happy face and walk in faith....faith that the Lord was going to heal me.  All along, I have known healing was mine, but I did not (do not) feel that healing will take place here, but in the hereafter.  I smile and say all the right things; I agree when family and friends claim healing over me. 

I am living a lie.

It is not because I don't believe in supernatural healing or that I don't think it could just as well happen for me as anyone else.  It is because that is not the message the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart.

In my spirit, I know healing will come when I step into that eternal hereafter, but not before.  I find it difficult to say that to my family and friends.  However, I know the time has come to own what my heart knows is truth and to have the courage to insist that my family and friends begin to make that adjustment.

So, it seems to me that living with courage and dying with dignity are different phrases that describe the same experience.  When one lives with courage while dying then perhaps that is, in and of itself, dying with dignity. 

Having come to terms with mortality, I now find it much easier to do the things I know the Lord has placed me here to do.  I'm not going to lie down and quit, there's still too much to be done. 

My energy is low and I require more rest than seems reasonable but I succumb because I have learned that my time here will be much more enjoyable and fruitful if I listen to the Lord as He speaks through my body.

The next couple of weeks are extremely busy for me; a lot to be accomplished before I begin my fall reunion excursion.  I take one day at a time and know that what doesn't get done today can wait until tomorrow.  If tomorrow comes, I'll start again; if not, I'll be in heaven and won't care whether it all got done or not.

I know that must seem lazy or apathetic but it really is not.  I do what I can, what my body can do and still have an ounce of energy left to begin the recharge for tomorrow....wherever tomorrow takes me.

I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do,
and I’ll do it together with his people.
When they arrive at the gates of death,
God welcomes those who love him.
Oh, God, here I am, your servant,
your faithful servant: set me free for your service!
Psalms 116: 14-16   (The Message)