O Death, Where is Your Sting?
In honor of My Daddy ~ Poppy ~ who went to be with Jesus on June 9, 2015. I know that I know that I know that I will see him again someday. I know that I know that I know that he is experiencing more of what life is supposed to be as he worships, works and loves us from heaven. I know that he loved me. And wow, did I love him.
(This post recorded an experience I had on March 15, 2009, following the dear of my friend Angie and was shared on a previous blog at that time)
I had this experience ~ revelation, epiphany ~ on Friday night that left me breathless. My friend Angie is gone, and I am so very sad about her loss. I can say that and still know that my life goes on just like it has been on a daily basis. My loss isn’t like others as she wasn’t in my life, affecting my life experience regularly as she was before. My life isn’t really affected, not like her husband or children, parents and siblings, co-workers and church family she left behind. They feel it sharply now. My loss is about the friend I knew when we were together, when we worked side by side, when she was sometimes the loyal person I needed to keep going.
This experience left me quaking with something “Other”. The Other being the desire to meet God, to sit with Jesus, to look into his eyes, to see him face to face. Because for the first time ever, in all the times I have grieved the loss of someone near to me, as much I waited and waited for the agony of MY loss, in the end, as I sobbed on my kitchen floor Friday night while Hubby was out with the kids ~ bless my dear man, he knew, he could tell I needed space to let go ~ all I could feel was joy for what I knew Angie was experiencing at that very moment. #JOY.
And well, a tinge of jealousy for the sheer magnitude of where she was, in heaven, face to face with her Lord and Savior… #home.
She was home. She isn’t in pain. She isn’t struggling with day to day and she isn’t struggling with dying. She is home. She is in celebration and the wonder of where she is, WHO she is with, and the journey that brought her there.
And for me, my sobs of sadness turned to echoing shouts of praise and joy in my kitchen, tears running my face, hands in the air, celebration. For the people who befriended Angie and introduced her and her family to the saving grace of Jesus just a few short years ago… shouts of praise, for the wonder that is the Reaching Out Body of Christ, whose arms are open to those who are seeking, those who long to know Home, the Home that is knowing and following Jesus.
It hit me… again, and again, and again… that she is where she is because she fell in love with the same Savior I’m in love with, and that she is no longer suffering, she need not fear the sting of death because she knew Jesus, because the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11) that surrounded her, watched over her while she was on earth are now celebrating her life and the saving work of Jesus in her life these days. We are sad here on earth but there is none of that at Home. No. None of that.
I ended up dancing around my kitchen with joy ~ JOY! ~ for what Angie is experiencing these very moments… questions answered (if she even cared to ask them anymore)… a body whole and able to run and jump and see the neverending sun… a voice not strained because of morphine and exhaustion… a heart free to love and not have to endure the captivity of the sickness that surrounded her.
Yes, she fought as she should have for every single day with her family on earth. I was so proud of her and how she worked to make sure her boys understood what was happening, and told them that they only had today and they would live it for today. I was touched by the blessing of her warmth as she wrapped her arms around me a few weeks ago when we got the chance to visit, how she cared that I was sad, and how she let me love her through my tears, how she embraced the things I wanted to tell her, about what her loyalty and love, her servant spirit meant to me in the years we spent together, how she had made a difference in my world, how I admired who she was as my sister in Christ, fellow mother and worker in the church, as a person created by God.
She fought for her life and then she won in her death… because death does not have victory over anything if we live beneath the saving grace of Jesus… what a fitting lenten experience for those of us left behind… to see the destructive force of death that is part of this earth, and know that we know that we know that death does not have the last laugh. No.
Angie is alive and well and though her body has perished, she lives in the presence of Jesus Christ always. I celebrate that. I celebrate that she is home. She is home.
Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death is your sting? (I Corinthians 15)
Angie is home. She is finally home.