John 11:25-26 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
The one year anniversary of my mom’s death came and went a week ago. I anticipated that moment and wondered how I would feel. A week later, and I am still wondering how I feel.
I know that she is not far away. If she was, I would feel the distance—but I don’t. I continue to say “My parents” as if she is still here. When I am at my dad’s house, my mind tells me my mom just ran to the store, and I just missed her. When I am at the store, my heart tells me she is at home preparing dinner and gearing up to watch the shows she just taped. When my dad calls and I am only talking to him, I envision my mom at the doctor’s office and not available to pick up the phone.
This last year has been a lot of, “Oh darn. I just missed her by a second” thoughts, so when the year anniversary came and went, I still just feel it’s a matter of time before I bump into her again. Our timing has just been off.
Have you ever experienced this?
In a lot of ways, I feel like my mom moved closer towards me. Closer than has she ever been before. A year ago she shed the worldly worries and jagged edges that sometimes define our outlook and is sheathed in the love and light of Jesus. She can see, hear, smell, feel, and delight in the Lord in ways I could only dream about. Depression can’t touch her. Migraines can’t trap her. And a lung disease can no longer claim her.
I may not be bumping into my mom at the grocery store or seeing her physically on the couch playing her games on her tablet or deciphering puzzles in her books, but if given a choice, I doubt she would trade her now for our here. Our here and now will one day by united with hers, but until then, I choose to say, “I’ll see you soon,” rather than, “Where did you go?” I know where she is, so she never really left.
My mom is simply around a corner I can’t see, and she will step into view when God says it’s time. She put in her time in a world that harbors sin, disease, and death and transitioned into her eternity. Our grief of losing them has a way of making us reflect on our own mortality and wonder about life vs. death, but really there is no death. We have a temporary life and an eternal life. It’s life and life.
I prayed for my mom’s salvation for years, prayed over her and with her in her sickness, and asked her if she knew where she was going when her corner was swiftly approaching. She said she knew and felt very peaceful. I knew in that moment I would be okay because she would be okay.
My peace in my grief comes from the corner I know where my mom turned. My bumping into her will be a true celebration. On this side of the corner, I pray God can use me to point as many people as possible to Him. My purpose and mission help my grief.
What we do with our time on this side of the corner can affect not only the here and now of those we love, but the future forever of the death corner they will turn. Where do we want to bump into our loved ones when God says it’s time?
In honor of those we lost and love, let’s begin a mission of seed planting and use our grief for a purpose greater than ourselves. Let the line turning the corner to an eternity with Christ be so long, the ticket holder ran out of numbers.
The day we turn the corner and see our loved ones standing behind Jesus, may there be a truck-load of people behind them holding a seed we helped to plant. That will be a day we will count our grief as joy.