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)


Felisol said...

These are strong, but sad words and I don't want them to be true, yet with your honesty, I fear they are.
I wish to keep you here, even though we are living so far apart. I wish your loving, cheering honesty to be a part of my life.
I also think that what you are writing now is your legacy. I wish some would make a book of your writings.
It's the time when you seek the truth open and freely, trying to reach all that are hiding from fear of death.
Paul says that death is the last enimy, but hey, Jusus who has conquered death , is with you all the way. We also know that while you know where you are going, thousands and thousands of people are dying every day unexpectedly, not being warned, not being prepared.

A favorite poem by the wise Emily Dickinson
"I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given. "

Pat said...

We do not know the day or the hour when the Lord will call us home, but we know for certain that that hour will come. We must live as though as though it could be any minute...that is how you live and I do believe you'd live that way even if you were not ill.
I do not think it vain to wonder if we will be remembered when we are gone, in fact I have had that very thought. I now realize it is an earthly thought, one that will be forever forgotten when we gaze upon our Father's face.
Words can not express the place you hold in my heart...and the joy in knowing that one day we'll spend eternity in the same neighborhood!!!
I love you dearly!

Jada's Gigi said...

Oh Di! what a powerful lesson you are learning and sharing with us...I find great comfort and even joy in your journey....it gives me hope....God is surely at work in your life...may I see Him and His purpose as clearly in my own journey...

Trish said...

God in his infinite mercy and grace has blessed me by placing you dear Di, in my life. Forget you? NEVER! What an example of faith you are and such a loyal and loving friend. A dear sister in the Lord, who will until my dying day be a part of me...the very best part.
I love you...

Deb said...

As I've been praying for you daily over all these months that we've known each other, I have not been able to speak aloud of the fear that I have had that the Lord would choose to heal you when you step through Heaven's gates rather than here on earth. It's been a very selfish fear, indeed. Selfish of me to want you to be here so that we all would have more time to share together. You are a part of my daily existence - even though we are miles apart. I read your Facebook comments and your blog and I really do feel as if we're in the same room conversing. And my heart reaches out to yours - in some supernatural way that only the Lord is capable of connecting the hearts of friends and sisters in the Lord. There will never be any forgetting here, my friend. In my heart - always you will be. And we will have an eternity together. I do believe that we will know each other - whether it be in the same way we know each other now...of that, I'm not sure - but the Bible says we will be known as we are known. When the day comes that we part this earth - and as someone said - none of us know the day nor the hour when the Lord will call us home - from that day - 'twill really be just a short time until we are all reunited again. Forever - in His presence. What a glorious time that will be. Diane - you have touched my life in ways that you will never know. Your faith has inspired me - and the example you are has brought me closer to the Lord. Forget you? Not a chance. I love you...sending a hug, Deb

Felisol said...

P.S. I forgot to say "I love you." I do. I love you and treasure you highly, Diane.
From Felisol

Terry said...

dearest diane..i am so glad that miss patty sent us over....i read each word of your post and half way through, my eyes were full of tears...i share sometimes the same fears of dying even though we will be stepping into heaven, it is still scary..and i think that you will recognise your momma and papa and terry..i had a dear friend that passed away one time and before she died her daughter heard her ask the lord , "whose are these two babies you are holding jesus?"..and the lord told her, "these are yours..these are your twins..."...mrs. zarb had never even told her own children that she had lost those babies in her life...and there they were all along in the arms of jesus....her daughter was so amazed!"
and another time diane, one of my friend's auntie was in the hospital slowly losing here life and in the mean time she had a sister at home who was in good health, but unfortunately had passed away..her nephew never told his auntie this so as not to upset her...well when auntie was called to go with the lord to heaven, she exclaimed.."why mary what are you doing here?"
just to think diane, that dear auntie saw her sister at the side of jesus!
i really do believe that terry and your parents are waiting for you.
but diane forgive me for being very selfish, i don't want to say so long to you yet..you have been so precious in my life ever since connie introduced you to us sisters!
you are loved diane!..i love you..can't wait to see you..love terry

Maria Stahl said...

Thank you so much for this teaching. I have learned from your words. God bless you as He already has.

What more can I say? Nothing.

Margie said...

man, why don't you blog more??? amazing!

You live with courage everyday!

I loveyou

Crown of Beauty said...

I love you Di, and I thank God for giving you to me as a friend. We may never meet face to face here on earth, but surely, someday soon, in heaven.