Mothers. They're always there for you. They let you dress up in their clothes when you can hardly complete sentences. They cry on your first day of school. They volunteer to read "Little House on the Prairie" to your fourth-grade class everyday after lunch. They are your lifejacket through the tidal wave of tears from backstabbing middle-school girls and high school break-ups. They are the ONLY family members willing to take you shopping - no doubt an all-day affair. They fix your hair for prom, and take all the pictures their camera cards will hold. Eventually, they'll help plan your weddings and spoil your children. They love you when you feel unloved, and they'll shoot straight with you when no one else will.
They are just a part of life, right?
But what happens when they're taken from you - when you can't call them up to see what you should do about a problem with a friend? When you can't send them a picture of something you really REALLY want for Christmas? When they're not there to tell you a million times to "be careful and wear your seatbelt" on your way home? When they're not there to greet you with a hug as soon as you arrive home?
I've always avoided thoughts like these; most people do. Death is not a fun thing to think about, much less admit that it is a part of life. But moms don't die, right? I mean, that's just downright inconceivable.
A dear friend and Judson sister of mine, Taylor, is learning how to face the inconceivable.
Last Tuesday, Taylor's mom lost her battle with cancer. I was the only one there when she found out; nothing like that have I ever experienced. Never has my soul been consumed with as much hurt as in that helpless hour. I ached for her.
Not long after that, I began a chronological Bible reading plan that has brought me into the book of Job. A righteous man by God's standards, he lost everything - everything but a doubting wife and unhelpful friends. His wife encouraged him to curse God! "Look at how God repays your faithfulness," she spat. His "friends" accused him of sin and rebellion... "Surely you must be terribly guilty in order to deserve consequences such as these!" In the middle of grief, loss, and doubt, Job remained faithful to the God who never once left his side. He never rebelled against his God, even when sores arose all over him.
Seeing Taylor, and learning about Job, I am struck with the actualization of mortality. Death is real. It's ever present. It is inevitable.
Yet - "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." (John 14:27)
But Lord, how can I have peace when I'm comforting a friend who just lost her mother? How can she have peace when she has lost her mother? HOW??
Because I know the plans I have for you... plans to give you a hope and a future. And I have the same plans for Kim. She chose me. And so did you.
And a few days later, so did Taylor.
Today's assignment for English 102 was to read Holy Sonnet 10: Death Be Not Proud by John Donne. This poem sums up the Christians attitude on death perfectly.
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, not yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
I love you, Mommy. I know that I don't tell you enough, but you're at the top of my list - second only to Jesus, and tied with Dad. I thank God for all of the sacrifices you've made and still do make for the boys and I. You are a beautiful woman, and I pray to be half the mother you've been to us. Love, Rivs.