Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dealing with Death - The Comfort of a Prepared Room

"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."
John 14:2

Heaven has been on my mind quite a bit lately. And really, it ties in to the fact that death, also, has been on my mind quite a bit lately. I found out this morning that a girl who worked at our store last Christmas season was killed in a car/motorcycle crash a couple of days ago. I wasn't close friends with her, but there's a sense of shock when someone you knew is now no longer there. I found it hard to keep my composure being how much I had been thinking about death and heaven lately. It was scary. I keep thinking back to last Christmas, how none of us, least of all her, knew it would be her last Christmas. I do praise God she was saved.

Death hits me hard. I remember when my world crashed when my beloved grandfather passed away. I take it hard when an animal dies. When our guinea pig, Smirnoff died in my arms, all I wanted to do was hold him forever. I still weep over him, our other piggy Ulysses (who died shortly after Smirnoff) and our first pet Squirrely, a hamster. I cried as I cradled a squirrel in my arms when he died. I fear my guinea pigs now dying. And I definitely fear Wes dying. I just don't deal well with death. I am not fond of death, and I don't know too many people who are. I am always the "worst case scenario" person in my mind. I convinced myself as a child that I would have some horrible death, which probably explains why today, I'm afraid to die. I think I watched way too many episodes of America's Most Wanted. Part of my fear of death is what I'll leave behind, and I'm not talking about the material items. I'm scared of leaving my family behind. I'm scared of taking my last breath and not being able to hold my guinea pigs anymore. Of not seeing my siblings grow up. Of not talking to my mom all the time. And most of all, I'm terrified of not being with Wes anymore.

I know I should look forward to going to heaven. There are not enough words in the world to describe the splendor that it will be. But this fallen human nature of mine doesn't want to leave all I cherish behind. And quite honestly, there is a sinful fear of mine that is afraid of what heaven will be like. There's no marriage in heaven. When I get to heaven, Wes will not be my husband. As a wife madly in love with her husband, that is a very hard and painful pill for me to swallow. It's hard for me to accept that there will come a time when Wes and Mary will be in heaven...but we will not be Wes & Mary. And I suspect that I am not the only married woman out there who struggles with that.

What has comforted me throughout the years when dealing with this fear of mine was John 14:2. "Home" is always a comforting place, so the idea that I will be living in my Father's house helps calms those fears. And Jesus said He would be preparing a place for us in that house. I often like to think of what my room would be like. Bear with my tendency to place a human idea on the concept of a heavenly room being prepared for me. I imagine a room filled with photos of animals and nature in the state God intended them to be when He created them. I imagine looking out a balcony in my room and seeing these animals wandering freely and enjoying each other's company. There are pictures of my family on the wall. And in my room are Squirrely, Smirnoff, and Ulysses...and eventually joined by Eggnog, Mocha, and Coconut (and whatever other pets we will have). I imagine Pito (my grandfather) walking into my rooms to greet me with his wonderful greetings and giving me a big hug and telling me everything there is up there. And I imagine a big cushy bed, a king size, and I'll sleep on one side, and Wes will be on my other side. And I know the Bible says there will be no tears in heaven...but I just can't imagine seeing all that, and being in God's presence, and not crying tears of joy. And what brings me the ultimate comfort is the fact that it's Jesus who is preparing my place in heaven. Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of this world, is preparing a place especially for me.

In my heart I know that heaven will not be whatever human concept I have of it. I know it will be nothing like anything I can imagine and I know that what will be most important to me will be glorifying God. But these thoughts have still comforted me and helped me to understand that going to heaven is not a scary thing...indeed, it is something to look forward to. I don't look forward to dying, I truly don't. And well, why should I? Death is a consequence of sin. Who ever looks forward to getting consequences? But I am so thankful that in His Word, God has provided comfort and hope for that moment after death.


Craver Vii said...

I had a pleasant experience this weekend related to the memory of your grandpa. We were going through some of our storage at home, and found a box that he hid. There was a beautiful shirt inside and a slip of paper that sad, "Para Craver."

Well, it didn't say "Craver;" it said the name that he called me by, but you know what I mean.

It would have been a bit too snug because of all my (cough, cough) muscle, so I gave it to your brother.

I wonder how long he had been holding on to that shirt.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Mary (and Craver of muscle fame)

I wish I could answer your questions, Mary. But despite the fact that my Mum was a Sunday School teacher, there is little I can tell you of something that I have no experience at all.

All I can tell you is that it is the end of suffering.

Exactly a year ago we had a sudden loss and no chance to say goodbye - so I know what you mean.

Mary said...

Dad, what a neat discovery...especially since it was clearly meant for you. I still have the Christmas card he gave me from his last Christmas.

Mary said...

Hi David, thanks for stopping by!
Yeah, this definitely is an area where everyone almost 'blindly' goes into it since none of us have any first hand experience dying. And I think that has also contributed to my fear since no one has come back to say "well this is how I experienced it...".

I am sorry for your loss. Death is hard enough as it is. Death without the chance to say goodbye is so much harder.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Mary,

There is so much we know about our world, but nothing about what awaits us all.

Have a wonderful weekend,



Cecily said...

Hi, Mary -

Understanding that you don't know who I am, I just want you to kow that your blog actually really helped me today. I've been especially aware of my own mortality lately, and upon typing "dealing with fear of death" into my search engine, your blog was one of the first links.

I haven't really been touched by death yet - relatives that were distant or already so close to dying that I subconsciously did not attach myself to have passed, but no one truly close to me has yet, and my fear of this becomes more and more intense as I get older.

And older is not much - an eighteen year old with a heavy fear of death and fear that the people I love here will not be who they are to me in heaven may come across problems later.

However, upon reading your blog, I was inspired to pick up my Bible and renew my faith in what I know lies ahead of me. I fear death and loss every minute, but knowing other people fear it just as much as I do really helps - it makes me feels less alone.

Thanks again - really.