I’m talking to you. Yes, you.
No one will ever accuse me of being too upbeat. Though I would identify as more optimistic than pessimistic, and I do have a sense of humor, I’m more the serious type and lean towards the melancholy. Out of the four temperaments theorized as the fundamental personality types, I most closely fit the one labeled melancholic.
So it’s no surprise to me, or to anyone who knows me, that I am comfortable with the subject of death. Growing up in a funeral home probably contributed to that. I wrote on this topic about a year ago and feel compelled to write on it again. A once a year wake-up call is not too bothersome or unnecessary, is it?
Two members of my extended family died in the past week. One, my mother’s sister, was well-advanced in years and ready to pass on to her eternal home. The other, a precious little cousin, barely a year old, fought leukemia her whole young life and finally lost the battle. Though on opposite ends of the age spectrum, their deaths are similar in that they did not come without warning or fearful expectation. Old age and cancer sensitize us to the inescapability of death.
But what about those of us relatively healthy and relatively young? Are we giving a nod to the reality of death but living like it’s going to pass over us?
Let me be clear…I’m guilty of this myself. Perhaps I’m compelled to forewarn of the Grim Reaper because I’m in need of the warning as well. My husband and I don’t have a will; I haven’t planned my funeral; I haven’t expressed my love to my family as completely and transparently as I would want to sometime before I die. And I haven’t figured out a way to get my family and loved ones to eulogize me while I’m still alive, ‘cause it’s just not right that we don’t get to hear all those nice things people say about us after we’re gone.
But at least I know where I’m going when I leave this earth. Do you?
Who are you, dear Reader? Are you a brother or sister in Christ because you have believed and trusted in him? Praise God, and if I haven’t already, I hope to meet you in Heaven if not here on Earth. Are you a spiritually sensitive person still seeking answers to life’s biggest questions? Praise God you are seeking, and I can tell you confidently that he has the answers. Or are you a rubber duck on the ocean of life, bobbing along wherever the waves carry you, naively secure in the ocean’s benevolence and unaware of the Category 5 hurricane heading your way? We need to talk.
Someone created you and set you down in this ocean, and if you believe that, then it would be wise to discover who this Someone is because he obviously has kingly power and influence. And if he can set you down, he can pick you up. He can shield or come alongside you in the hurricane and see you through it, or he can let it hurl you into his throne room at his feet, where he will either welcome you into his kingdom, or give you the bad news and send you away.
We all know we’re going to die, and I understand and can relate to the reticence to think about it. I’m not advocating a morbid fixation on our mortality, to the neglect of fun and joy in your life. Actually, a proper respect for the temporality of this life can significantly contribute to truly meaningful merriment, because we are able to appreciate those moments more fully. I simply fear for those, some of whom are family and friends of mine, who are content to live as if they’ll always have tomorrow, disregarding security measures necessary to protect them if they don’t. They may ignore me. They may disagree with me. I can’t force them to do or believe anything. But I would be remiss if I didn’t warn them. And you.
You and I could die today. Sorry…I told you I’m melancholic. But here’s the good news: we are greatly loved by our Creator and worth more to him than many rubber duckies. That’s why he is ready to give us new life that will never end, if we will just turn our precious, synthetic selves over to him. And then the death that will come, be it today or 50 years from now, will usher us into his smiling presence, where we will be blessed children of the king…forever and ever.