I haven’t seen the movie yet, but the trailer describes what’s inside my head.
A short time. Like a mist. Snap of the fingers. Don’t blink.
We are separated by so thin a fabric from the other side. We ignore reality, go about our business. Our lives.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the knowledge of how quickly life can end. I gaze around the room, arrested in the realization that one of us could be absent at any moment. The immediacy of impending change.
An unexpected gust extinguishes the flame. The Daylily blooms in the morning, opening bright colors to the sun and by evening shrivels to nothing. In an instant, our bodies become a shell, a container empty in sudden finality.
I forget, at times, that this is not ‘my’ life. It is easy to settle into comfort, expecting certain players and characters to appear, disappear, reappear.
But we are reciprocal performers, all bearing roles in The Grand Masterpiece. Every performance, every pageant demands the inexorable curtain call.
Nothing but a moment separates us from leaving it all behind.
I wrote the above while sitting in a church service. A heavy feeling descended; the almost-knowledge of impending change. That someone would soon lay down the script.
I make no pretense of having a direct line to the future, but the weight of that sense was undeniable. Looking around the room, I wondered who it might be.
The retired Army general, always at attention? The empty-nest mother? The ancient farmer decked out in his silver and turquoise-studded leather string tie? The young woman with a heart condition? The middle-aged man with cancer? Me?
What bars our heart from stopping, keeps lungs from failing, prevents our brain from declining to send messages?
No one died that day. Or that week.
I felt better. But still, the visual of the Daylily haunted the edges of my thoughts.
The following Saturday, I attended a ladies’ create-something-cool event at our church. I learned how to pronounce decoupage.
My friend Ana, curves added by her pregnancy, approached with questions about heart surgery. Her baby girl had a heart defect similar to my son’s. They would perform surgery soon after birth to close the hole. She even had the same wonderful surgeon. Still, she twisted her coarse, dark ponytail with nervous energy.
She relaxed as we talked, as I praised the surgeon, as we smiled over my son’s quick recovery. She walked away.
Four days later, I received the message from another friend. Ana had a stroke. She was unresponsive. The baby might die.
I thought of the movie and wondered if she could hear everything around her.
Texts, phone calls and prayers—sad, desperate, hopeful—punctuated the night.
Moved to a better hospital, she did not wake. More prayers, more calls.
While souls hovered, her two beautiful boys said goodbye to their mother and the sister they would never know. Her husband released his wife and daughter. His loves.
Within hours, they were gone.
Sons bereft of mother, husband lacking loving partner, friends without her shining presence. All left destitute.
Just before the funeral, I found the note and remembered the feeling. It returned with concussive force.
I’ve only now been able to write this.
We have no promise of tomorrow. For that matter, no assurance of today. No guarantee that I will draw another breath.
But I have hope. Do you?
1 Peter 1:3-5
3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us a new birth and a living hope. This hope is living because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. 4 He has given us new birth so that we might share in what belongs to him. This is a gift that can never be destroyed. It can never spoil or even fade away. It is kept in heaven for you. 5 Through faith you are kept safe by God’s power. Your salvation is going to be completed. It is ready to be shown to you in the last days.