All the stuff you read about—her glorious walk into the celestial kingdom, the peaceful look on his face as his soul was transported from this realm to the Other, or the light that suddenly flooded the room as the corner was turned—is just so much literary fluff. Maybe that happens sometimes, but as I sit in this room with my brother and we listen to our mother gasp and strain for another breath, sounding like each one will surely be her last—how can she possibly keep this up for another three days—I wonder, where is that light flooding the room, where is the peaceful passing others experience?
Is it only for a select few? Is it only for those who have somehow gone the extra mile for someone else? Or someone who gave that extra gift at the altar, or gave her life for her country?
What about the teen-age mother who stayed true to her man for over forty years; who was always present and tender with her children; who worked long hours to make sure her family had what they needed? Not for her?
Death in this life is not pretty, it’s not glorious. It’s sweaty, dirty, and exhausting. It smells bad. Smiles come hard. Tears flow, but don’t cleanse. The body becomes a piece of meat on sheets that needs “turned” frequently; “rotated” is the nurse term. Dignity takes a walk down the hall.
So as we sit here yet another hour listening to our mother drown in her own fluids, the one who gave life to us and sustained that life with her own body, I ask myself, where is this glorious leave-taking, where is the gaily taken walk from this room into the Next? How do I reconcile this in my mind?
“In THIS world you will have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.”
Every moment of this life, from conception to final breath, is governed by the Sovereign Hand of the One who fashioned our frail bodies from the sod, Who breathed His breath into ours, and then orchestrated our rescue from the death of deaths by His own death—on a tree He created for that purpose alone.
We aren’t promised that glorious, light-filled walk. We’re promised persecution, trials, harsh circumstances between brief moments of love and laughter. And then when our time on this earth ends, whether it’s an easy passing or a fiercely lost battle, we’re promised eternal joy, peace, and endless times of refreshing as we walk with our King.
I think I can hang my hat on that.