2 Cor. 4:6 (MsgB)
It started when God said, "Light up the darkness!" and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
My friend, Sandy, is engaged in her final battle with the vicious opponent...CANCER! We are marking days and know it won't be long until she is welcomed into the arms of the One to Whom she surrendered her life! She is soon to experience a welcoming like she has never come close to experiencing before and we are inching closer to the gaping hole that her Home-going will leave for us!
What mixed emotions are involved in watching someone die. On one hand, the suffering you see hurts at such a level that you wish the end would quickly come! The reality of what life will look like without this one soon washes over you, though, and you find yourself wishing you could hang on forever!
I was struck yesterday as I stood at Sandy's side, stroking her hand and kissing her face, how gestures like that would have probably seemed strange if she was healthy and full of life. As I rubbed her arms, chest and nose with lotion in an attempt to help fend off the itchy, dry skin that comes with winter weather and lack of hydration, I realized that impending death makes the social boundaries we unconsciously set into place disappear and we are suddenly allowed to approach those we love in new and intimate ways!
We find ourselves sharing words of love and affirmation that we might not otherwise have felt comfortable expressing and we allow tears to flow that would normally be kept in check. However painful the process is, I am thankful for the opportunity Sandy has given us to "feel" at such a deep and intimate level.
My prayers as I reflect on what I am experiencing through Sandy's dying process are complicated and filled with many unintelligible groanings, but the one thought that keeps rising above the jumbled words and emotions is the desire to reach out in life as easily to those I love as it is possible to in death! I want to allow the reality of an expiration date in each of us to help me keep short accounts and critical words at bay! I want to touch and feel and love...just because!
Sandy's life has brought me many laughs and shared times of fun, but her dying has impacted me in ways that I may not ever fully comprehend. I am so very thankful for the opportunity she and her family have given me to wade into the churning waters with them!
1 Cor. 15:54-55 (MsgB)
Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
 Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now?
The reality of Christ's triumphant life has birthed triumph in the life of Sandy as well and death is merely the doorway through which she will catapult into the welcoming arms of the One Who defeated death and made eternal life our final destination! Praise be to Him!
We love you, Sandy, and while contemplating life without you makes the tears freely flow, we rejoice with joyful and expectant hope that your suffering is soon to come to an end and the greatest chapter of your life is about to be opened!
Go in peace, my friend!