Tuesday, April 21, 2009

one day it will all be crystal clear...

I have no idea where I’m headed with this post.
I am staring at my keyboard with a lump in my throat and a heart that weighs a thousand pounds.

Isn’t life funny.
Isn’t prayer confusing.
Isn’t death interesting.

I don’t know what it is…but during this past year…death has abounded. Obviously, death exists everywhere. Did my sense become more heightened to it? Did I open my life up to more of it, because of my google reader? Or does age just bring with it, the realization that life is so fragile and finite.

We all die.
And most deaths aren’t planned or painless.
We know that.

But if that’s so – why is it always so shocking. Why is it always so heartbreaking. Why is it so debilitating. Breathtaking.

There’s nothing profound I can add to the discussion that drenches the internet…as death ripples through countless lives. There are people out there who have lost spouses, lost babies, lost parents, lost hope or will to live beyond these catastrophes.

The reminder is deafening:
We were not meant for this. Our hearts weren’t designed for this. There is no magic equation to complete that will offer us immunity to suffering at this level. The debilitating level.

We were created to live, in perfection, suspended in eternal peace and communion in His presence. The fall irrevocably destroyed all of that. But our hearts, unfortunately, weren’t irrevocably altered to accommodate this ill-fated adjustment.

Our emotional DNA still expects all good earthly things to continue forever. Because that was The Plan. But they cannot. And they will not. And we are daily reminded of our terminal state. And we are crushed all over again, as though it were the first time we tasted loss.

And with each day that goes by, with each loss that is witnessed, with each tear that is shed, this curious and intriguing thing transpires. It starts as a quiet, almost inaudible thought. Another loss, another heartbreak. And it grows a little bit louder. Another loss, another tragedy to survive. And it’s finally an unmistakable notion:

...Lord, please come quickly.

The heart cries out for the circumstances it was intended for, rather than the reality it is surrounded by.

To live IS to love.
To live IS to experience loss.
And all relationships…every single one…ultimately comes to an end, here on this side of eternity.

Some loss seems more tragic than other levels of human loss.
Loss of a young child.
Loss of a young spouse.

But loss is loss.
And we’ll all endure it.
We are only vapors, that are here for a moment and then vanish.

And rather than learning to cope and grapple and explain and beat ourselves into “being ok” with this, we turn our eyes toward the Creator of Life. Our only hope. Our only salvation. We can all try to numb the pain surrounding us, but facts are, we’re all on the Titanic together. We all face the same mortal fate.

I’ve had many discussions with people this week regarding the fragility of life. I recognize my only hope in coping with death (as best as the next person, of course), is anticipating the failure of our imperfect bodies, and understanding and accepting the eternal survival of our souls. It’s not a coping mechanism, it is the sustaining factor of my existence.

My life – the best part of my life – occurs after I take my last breath.

So if I have that to place my faith in – how do people face death without accepting these truths? Without the knowledge that you’ll see Christ, and that you’ll again be united with the loved ones you’ve lost here on earth? Life is more than the sum of all it’s earthly parts. Life is the experience that is supposed to underscore the fact that we are still hungry for more. Infinitely more.

Life and all that it includes is supposed to fall short – and maybe that’s the point.

How can you hunger for safety, if the Titanic isn’t really sinking.

Our agony is meant to assist us in discovering our greatest need of all.

The more our hearts see and feel in this world – the distaste grows stronger. Our hearts grow weary and faint and we just want to go home…

To be absent in the body – is to be present with the Lord.
I think age really causes that truth to mature in our hearts. We grow battle-weary and are scarred by war on this planet.

But here we stay. For now.

And the ‘now’ is where I’ve been meditating this week.
And life is still so, so precious. Friends and family and relationships are exceedingly precious.

And so I pray that I live in the moment.
Hold right to each and every moment. We’re never promised tomorrow.

So it’s a fine balance between loving fiercely and being prepared to eventually let go. It won’t make that temporary separation any less painful when it happens, but recognizing that death is ultimately conquered does absolutely redeem the experience as best as our hearts can understand.

Chad isn’t mine.
Isaac isn’t mine.
Family in the broader sense, isn't mine.
I am just a blessed steward of all that God has loaned to me. For a short time.

My heart is sober -- these reminders surround me. Especially recently.

Life, here, is so hard. So, so hard.


1 Pet 4:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation....... Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.


heather said...

I needed to read this today. PBS is interviewing my dad for a special that will come out in the fall about the same time as his book about living like Jesus for a year, and when I was interviewed yesterday, I had to talk about learning to live with a dad who has a terminal disease (ALS)...and it's just what you talked about that "already/notyet" - longing for the next life, but embracing what we have in front of us...grieving for the inevitable death and flinging our arms around people around us right now while we have them.

Julie Nickerson said...

this was beautiful!

It is SO true that as we get older the harder life is.

I really never longed for Heaven up until recently (which is sad to admit being that I have been a Christian for so long).

I now am understanding what my parents and older, wiser people were talking about.

love ya!

Nikki said...

this was great... something I feel day in and day out with the losses i've experienced in my life already and I know more loss will come... someday's are easy someday's aren't but you just keep moving forward knowing that our hearts, our lives aren't meant for this world and someday there will be no more loss & no more pain...

Chrissy said...

ok get out of my head. i had a few thoughts like this the other day. my boss and her husband took jay and i out as a 'pre-wedding gift.' we were talking about a woman she and i know very well who just lost her husband. he had cancer. (the dirty c word.) anyway, we were just talking about how they had a good many years together and how well this woman was taking it. she's an amazing christian woman. but i couldn't help thinking very much what you thought, 'we weren't made for this.' our hearts were NEVER supposed to be prepared for loss. it's a something that our hearts recognize as WRONG....something God had NEVER intended. and of course i began thinking of jay and others that i love and it reminded me to cherish the time with the because it WILL come to an end and eventually....our 'lives begin.