There were still stars.
Christmas was three days away, and I braced myself. I remembered to breathe.
I had climbed into bed the night before, anxious. I checked on all my sleeping beauties, prayed for more days with them. I had that feeling that I just wanted to hold on to all my people. Just wanted to be the one who says none of us ever have to go away.
I’ve always feared loss, and I know that’s the opposite of trust. As a believer in Jesus, I know I’m not supposed to hold onto fear. But fear of loss gripped me, when I was only 6 or 7, and over the years, it has often returned.
Because then I became a Mom to these four babies. Which compels me to fear loss even more.
No man has power over the wind to contain it; So no one has power over the day of his death. Ecclesiastes 8
In the scheme of eternity, this life is short, and though it feels sometimes like everything, it’s only the beginning.
And so I remember, it’s all going to be okay.
God has the whole big world in His hands.
It’s settled in me, that God is good, and I can trust Him.
But then, my mind settles back down into this place, down here beneath the sky full of stars–below the beautiful beyond where we will all see clearly.
Down here these losses leave gaping holes, life-threatening injuries, significant scars.
Our present reality offers 6 am phone calls, catching us by surprise.
She was the oldest of the cousins–beautiful, confident, and impressive. I always admired her. She celebrated another birthday, and a week later, passed away from this world overnight.
It was completely unexpected.
She was active, healthy, strong–living a life full of laughter and adventure, surrounded by friends and family. She was a Mom to three beautiful girls, a beloved wife, a caring sister, an angel of a daughter.
“Why does death so catch us by surprise, and why love? We should amass half-dressed in long lines like tribesmen and shake gourds at each other, to wake up; instead we watch television and miss the show.” ~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Life can be gone in an instant.
How will you live your days in light of that?
It’s a question we all have to answer, at some point.
It’s tempting, I’ll admit, to want to shake gourds at people when loss arrives. You look around and wonder how everyone goes on as usual. But we all fall into these distractions, this meaninglessness…work or toys or entertainment, or hopping from one event to the next, so we don’t have to remember: They died, and we’re all dying.
I had been reading Ecclesiastes, last December. In which the Teacher sets out to find life in this world, apart from God. He looks to work, to status, to money, to love, to wisdom, to every pleasure he can find under the sun. He throws himself fully into each of these.
But he finds much wisdom only increases sorrow. Much money creates an appetite for more. Much toil leads to acquiring things we’ll only leave behind. In the end, after having it all, he concludes:
Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
This is it. This is why we’re here, why we are given life and still grasping for it. Not to fear loss–but to fear God. To live in awe of God and worship Him. To esteem and reverence Him.
I look forward to a day when this loss, and many others are seen in the light of eternity. For now, there’s so much I don’t understand. But God placed us here, each of us completely unique, for this very time. I trust that He sees the whole picture, from beginning to end.
And I look forward to a day when He makes everything beautiful.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (3:11)