Monday, July 17, 2017

Reflections on Time, Life and Other Things

Two weeks ago I came to the realization that my summer is half gone and I'm not sure where it went!  Not everything has been summery.  We've had unexpected serious illnesses at work, and the weather has been very fickle giving us lots of rain, even flooding here in southeast Wisconsin.

Last week there were two funerals.  One was for our former Lay Minister from church, a lovely man who had retired a while back and had some medical issues.  The other was my cousin's husband, 54 years old, who passed away unexpectedly while at work.  Neither was what I'd call an enjoyable experience, but they certainly were a study in contrast.

The Lay Minister had been ill for a while.  He had suffered several medical setbacks recently and from what I understand had decided to forgo more medical treatment, choosing to "go home" to the next life.  He went to hospice and was an active witness even while he was there.  It's a fine example of how to live out the end of a person's days on this earth.

 On the other hand, my cousin's husband had a sudden and unexpected passing.  She probably left for work that morning while he was sleeping after working second shift.  He went to work while she was at her job.  She arrived home after her evening activities to find a message on her answering machine from his job, and shortly thereafter a visit from the local police department to say that he had collapsed at work and could not be revived.

My poor cousin, trying to cope with the unexpected passing and make arrangement and deal with fractious relatives, I can't even pretend to understand what she went through.  All I could do was try to be supportive and attend the funeral.  And pray, for her, for her family... you can always pray.

I remember being in a lunchtime discussion at work a long time ago after a coworker's dad had passed away suddenly from a heart attack.  It was a silly discussion of the sort people have at a time like that: what's the best way to go, suddenly or lingering?

Well, there is no best way to go, but absent that, we all DO go... eventually.  If a person has time to prepare, that person is probably suffering and in pain, whether undergoing treatment or not.  And the person's family/support system is suffering at the same time.

If the person goes suddenly, they may suffer for a short time, or they may not, no one can be sure unless they were there.  But it's certain that the family left behind suffers both in the shock and sorrow, and in the regrets of things not done.  There's the why and the how to answer.  It hurts and there isn't any relief of suffering now over to help get over it.  And the "didn't get to say goodbye" to deal with at the same time.

In church we're told that we need to be ready to go at any time.  1 Thessalonians 5:2 says "for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night".  We don't know the day or the hour when our time will be over, but we need to be ready.

No one knows what is in the heart of anyone else.  I trust that these two good men are now in the New Life.  Maybe they'll meet and enjoy conversation while in perfect health and safety in heaven. 

My mom always said to us "I'm going to heaven when I die, and you'd better be good while I'm gone so you can come too.  I'll be waiting for you to join me."

From your lips to God's ear, Mom!

Carry on...