Wednesday, February 01, 2006

and death will be swallowed up in victory...

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." -Thessalonians 4:13-17

Theresa - thanks for putting this on your blog, even as you struggled. I prayed with you, but didn't realize that even as you wrote that God would use your comfort to bring me some too. - In fact, much comfort, as the words were fresh on my heart. My, how God is bringing home the reality of resurrection power to us this weekend.

I was hoping to go visit my sweet grandmother, in Ohio next weekend, who had been very ill, but was getting better. Then a call this morning said she was not doing well... had taken a turn for the worse and it might be a matter of days. Then even in the midst of a whirlwind of planning, laundry, schedule rearranging, and etc to leave early in the morning, I get another note, now saying that they have taken out all IV's, tubes, etc, and are just keeping her comfortable with oxygen. I had all the energy in the world to rush around and get ready an hour ago. Now I just sit, here, writing. It's a 13 hour drive. Even a plane, had I been able to book one now, wouldn't be enough time, I don't think.

I'm okay with that. There is a part of sweet Alice that it would be just like her to do this. She's independent. My mom, my husband and I, her daughter, her niece,... all have asked her to let us help.... but she just likes to take care of herself. We have been asking for over seven years if she would let us move her down to live with us... she would always kind of lead you on, as if to think maybe she might say yes at some point... though you knew she never had any intention of it, really...

She is one of those people in life who you know you have been blessed to be loved by. I have known her all my life, yet I never knew if I had offended or hurt her, ever. She is just selfless, all the way around. I mean I know I had to have hurt her, at some point, even unintentionally, as that is just how life goes. But I sat here this morning realizing I can't remember her ever sharing anything she was upset with me about. That's just how she lived life. She wasn't petty, in a real sense. Oh- she'd give you a hard time, or talk about this or that.... but to know her upset or offended... I haven't.

Even with those she loved who hurt her deeply... there was always a continuing spirit of love, of hope, and even in sadness, a looking to the future and what God might work in. She didn't need you to love her. She was sufficient in God, which allowed her to love you more wholeheartedly and unconditionally than most of us ever practice loving anyone else.

I think that is why it hurts to lose her. She's rare. I so want to be like her. I so wanted to be with her as she makes this passage back to Him. But I don't want to even pray for that, and hold her back from His glory for one selfish minute, if this is His timing.

Jason and I were speaking of the passage above, and the beauty God gives us in it. We always wonder what death is like... yet the analogy God gave us, we experience almost every night. Once we fall asleep, when Morning comes, we're never really aware of how long we were asleep... we just rise to a New Day. And on her day of Rising, the night or length of night, will hold no memory in comparison to the brightness of the Son she awakes to. And we will all behold that together.

If you think to, I would love an additional prayer on her behalf today.. that she be released to sleep quickly and painlessly, and that she would feel the immense love of so many who cherish her here to make that passage easier on this end of life as we understand it. Thanks.

I'm still leaving in the morning, so prayers to cover my family would be a comfort to me too. Thanks for your faithful friendship.


Brenda said...

Oh Heather, I am so sorry to hear this about Alice. What a wonderful tribute you have given her here. I've never met her and I feel like I have known her for years. I can tell you this....I know that she will certainly be welcomed with open arms into the Kingdom and they will be blessed by her presence. Thank you for sharing her story and how your love for her. I am praying for you my friend.
Love you!

Jeanne said...

Oh Heather, I am so blessed to call you sister and friend. It's funny as you describe Alice I recognized her and she seemed so familiar to me because I see so many of those qualities in you. Your words of tribute to her are beautiful, but your example as you live out the inheritance she has left you is even more beautiful. I love you and will be covering you and all those you love in prayer.