Friday, January 26, 2007

Death, my gain

The air seems to be filled with death. Within the last two weeks, I have received the news of three deaths. The first came two weeks ago. My friend Alister's dad died. He was a godly man who served the church for years and raised godly children who will continue that rich hertitage. Then I got an email telling me that my childhood friend Josh had died (see the previous blog). And then not more than 12 hours later I found out that my friend Eduardo's sister died in a horrible car accident. She was 25. So I went to her funeral today in Valparaiso. I wasn't going to go. I didn't want to intrude. But I went. I got a call from Sam this morning offering a ride, but that they were leaving right away. And I said yes. I went to this funeral and sat in the large dark church listening to the priest chant away, and thinking about my friend Eduardo. I couldn't imagine, or I didn't want to. If my sister...
I have been reading a book that Rach sent to me by Anne Lamott called Traveling Mercies. It is good, and not my typical book. It is refreshingly open adn a bit vulgar, and I'm addicted to reading it. I have covered 200 pages in two days. It reminds me of Jane Austen and Donald Miller. I read it and am left with a running internal commentary. I am sentimental, over analyzing, and annoyingly aware of every little detail in life. I am captured by every flower I pass by, I hear background noise that no one else seems to notice, every person seems so much more alive. More vibrant. And every pain in the world seems to fall on my head. And I will spend the next few days in this state of living poetry until work catches up with me and I silence the voice in my head. It tells me to walk slower. To breate deeper. To just sit.
I came home from the funeral and pulled out a new journal. It is a really nice jounral that Carleigh gave me for my birthday two years ago. I haven't used it because it always seemed too nice to write in. Today I wrote in it. I wrote for an hour and cried. I cried for Eduardo and the loss in his life. I cried for Josh's family. I cried for the irony in life. That things are rarely what we think they are, and usually end so differently than we want. And I cried over the loss of hope. And yet, I haven't felt any despair. I am sad though. And the sadness will pass. The Lord will restore joy. In fact, in the sadness, I still see the joy. I know my Redeeemer lives. I know that He is in control. Eduardo's sister, I don't think she had a relationship with the Lord. I don't think she had placed her trust in Him. And I don't know what God does in people's hearts as they are dying. But I know that our faith must be in the Lord and His sacrifice. Our own dealings and tryings in life amount to nothing in the end. And we choose in this life how we will spend all of eternity. I know I am stepping on toes, and some of you hate to be preached to, but you KNOW that I am a Christian. And if you are reading this blog, you seem to have some interest i who I am or what I think. Well there you go. I am a Christian. All my identity is wrapped up in Him. All my hope, all my dreams, every ounce of who I am, every fear quenched, all doubt aside, I am a follower of Christ.
If I die, please know that I died in peace. That my Lord decided to take me home to Him. Please sing at my funeral, loud. Sing How deep the Father's love for us. Please laugh. Tell stories. Please, worship the Lord for the amazing God He is. You may think I am being morbid here, okay. But in the end, when we leave the funerals, we go on with our lives. We drink coffee, we watch movies, we meet friends at parks to watch the sunset. We live.

"And I pray this, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ...
...according to my earnest expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. "
-The apostle Paul writing to his friends in Philippi(1:9-10, 20-21)


Rach said...

I'm glad you like the book!!! I had a hunch that you might....she has a couple of other ones out that are equally as interesting. :-) Thank you for your words...they are sweet indeed (as usual). Know that you are in my prayers so much, and know that at your funeral I will sing, I will weep as well but in joy and song. May you feel the spirit of Christ working through your heart, and may you embrace that power that is your inheritance as His child. BESOS!

Anonymous said...

wow...I'm feeling a little teary after reading this. I will definitely sing loud at your funeral if you're lucky enough to go before me (is it wrong that I'm kinda excited to be done here??)...hopefully I can read that book sometime too. Dani