This past week I have been, once again, reminded of the brevity of our time here on earth.
Two precious women were taken by death, one very unexpectedly – at 24 years old-due to a tragic auto accident. The other, passing at 59 after a long battle with cancer.
I would say the 24-year-old did not know, when she woke up that morning, that it would be her last day in her earthly body. The 59-year-old was well aware that soon she would see Jesus, as her battle with cancer had been a long one, and her earthly body was tired and worn-out.
Of course, all who were touched by their beautiful lives are saddened by the void that will never be filled here on this earth. However, the one thing both of these godly women had in common is that, while they lived, their lights shone brightly for Jesus. And while both families mourn the loss they are comforted in knowing that their loved ones souls now rest eternally in the arms of Jesus.
I Corinthians 15:53-56 “For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where or death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
“A house is made of brick and stone, but a home is made of love alone.
This was my parent’s last house together. It recently sold at an auction that I was there to witness. I was overcome with emotions as my sister and I walked out of it for the last time, knowing we will never be back at this place – the place that my Mama and Daddy called home for the last 30 years. Daddy passed in April and I remember the day in early March that he was carried out on a stretcher on his way to the E.R. my sister and I looked at each other and said “he’ll never be back here.” And that proved to be the case.
This was the place their 6 grandchildren and their 12 great-grandchildren knew as Memaw’s and Pawpaw’s house. It’s where Daddy said a prayer of thanksgiving for every bite of food eaten around the kitchen table; for the cornbread cooked in that black cast iron skillet, for the blackberry cobblers, and fried chicken cooked up by Mama; where grand kids and then later, great grands, played on the rolling green slope of the backyard. It was here that he and my Mama took care of the almost 4 acres, tending flowers and growing vegetables. It’s the place where, on one cold December day nearly 10 years ago, my Daddy told my Mama not to feed the stray yellow lab that showed up on their doorstep or they would never get rid of her. And that yellow lab named Princess by my Daddy, who had never been a dog person, became his faithful canine companion as he began to suffer from the effects of the dementia that would eventually take him. It’s the place where he and my mother spent almost half of their 61+ years of married life, so the memories run deep and strong.
And now Daddy has gone on to his final home; Mama has moved into a new home. And of course we will make new memories there. But we will miss my Daddy and we will reminisce about the times that were shared at this 3 bedroom brick ranch house right off Horse Mountain Road and Philippi Church Road, the place where my parents lived, loved, and they built a home.
When you play on a sports team (or even follow one for that matter), knowing the score matters. Not just the total points, but who contributed the most ______________(fill in appropriate sports statistic here), and you hope when the game ends your team has the most points. Why is keeping score so important? Because that’s how you know who the winners are.
Unfortunately, if we take that “keeping score” mentality over into our relationships, it doesn’t work out well. “You hurt me so I’ll make sure I hurt you more”. “I did the dishes and the laundry so you need to pitch in and do your part so we’re even”. “You went to a movie with the girls so I get a night out with the guys.” I’ll bet you can think of things you’ve said or had said to you that show someone is keeping score. I know I have. And I can’t stop it in others, but I can make sure I don’t make it a habit in my relationships. Why? Here’s a good reason:
“Love doesn’t keep score of the sins of others” 1 Corinthians 13:5 (The Message)
And I am so thankful for that. Because there’s no way I’m ever going to even the score with Jesus. His love has made the score for His “team” infinite. So I pray that I do my best to show those I love the same love, grace, and mercy.
I know I’ve had some new readers over the past few weeks and you’ve probably noticed it’s been awhile since my last post.
I hadn’t planned on it being that way – but I was interrupted by life – or more precisely – by death. And the thing about death is it reminds u that death is a part of life and we all will face it one day.
My dear Daddy left this land of the dying on April 9th, on his journey to a better land where there will be no more dying. I was able to spend his last days on this earth with him.
It was, I suppose a blessing, in that it was not a prolonged affair, as he was at my sister’s home for just under two weeks after being released from rehab. I was there with him just about a week, and I watched as his body and mind deteriorated on almost an hourly basis. However, there were times when he knew that family and friends were there and we were able to let him know we loved him, read his favorite Bible passages to him, and sing some of his favorite hymns. We couldn’t do his very favorite – “Precious Memories”, as it would have been impossible for any of us to get through. And during that time we were able to reflect back on our precious memories of days gone by when my daddy was strong and healthy and sound of mind and body.
And we are blessed in knowing that we will see him like that again someday!
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you”.
Psalms 39:4-7 (New Living Translation)