As humans living in a fallen world, we all carry the knowledge somewhere in our subconcious that those we love will possibly one day be taken from us. Some of us keep the knowledge well hidden. Most of the time we refuse to acknowledge it's presence at all; as if pretending it isn't there will dispell the truth of it somehow.
As a wife, the idea of my husband being taken away is something I particularly struggle with. Most of the time the knowledge of it lies well hidden beneath the daily activities of life but at times the truth of it stares me hard in the face. One such time comes to mind. We had been living in Ohio less than a year when we received news of the death of Chris' cousin's husband. They were a young couple and the news was especially shocking. Fear washed over me in waves. Having just come through a year of more loss than I had ever dealt with before - leaving my family, my church, my house, my home state, and with no house to call our own... suddenly anything seemed, not only possible, but likely!
Fear can nearly drive one wild if you let it: What would I do without my husband to support us? Where would I go? How would I pay the bills? How could I possibly live without his wisdom and love in my life? What would become of my children? And on and on. Time and again I have had to open my fearfully clutching fists, and give my loved ones back to my Father to do with as He sees best.
I nearly deleted this post after starting it. While I'm not superstitous, it feels rather scary to write about death and fear. Just suppose my writing this is like all those story books with the lines, "Little did she know what the future held....."? There's this little part of me that doesn't want to say these things for fear the Lord might decide to see if I really mean what I say.
But I think it needs to be said. It bothers me when I read/hear about people who have cancer or other life-threatening situations and all you seem to hear is them doggedly holding onto hope; trying every possible treatment to stay alive and seeming to completely deny the fact that quite possibly the time is coming to say good-bye. Let me quickly say, I often don't know all the details AND, I realize that I do.not. know what I would do were I actually in those shoes.
In one of our recent conversations about death, Chris said to me, "The fact is, as a married couple, one of us is going to die first. The majority of us most likely won't see our children die but for you and I, it's not IF one of us is going to be left without the other, it's WHEN."
Of course I told him in no uncertain terms that it had better be me first, not him! In all seriousness though, I think I've lived my life just a bit differently ever since he said that. There is something freeing about looking that fear in the face and acknowledging that it is not IF, but WHEN, and setting out to make every minute count before that 'when' comes. Because it is coming, like it or not.
By God's grace, instead of the reality of death driving me wild with fear, I want it to cause me to look at my loved ones with new eyes. May it spur me to say the I love yous and write the notes and make the good memories and say the kind words in the short time I have with these people. Because, while I am in this fallen world, it is not IF I will need to say good-bye, but WHEN.