I don't normally do follow-up posts (because really, there's usually not much to follow up on. See: the bathroom remodel post), but I've got so many thoughts about yesterday's "Sad" post and I've got to get them down here.
Yesterday afternoon I was feeling so awful (which is kind of like every afternoon), and I sat down and just blurted a bit of it out on the blog and threw it out there without rereading it a bunch of times like I usually do and thought, "So be it." Since then I've gotten notes from people and comments from total strangers, and I realize, "Yes. There are a lot of us out there. I'm not alone."
One of my mom's best friends wrote to me, and I know she is so sad, too. She said what helped her was imagining Mom seeing Jesus welcome her to His home and the special room He has prepared for her. I love hearing what is helping other people because I just keep thinking about the time when I was four years old and David Fisher hit me on the side of the head with a baseball bat and I came inside, roaring, to tell my mom and then fell down the basement steps. She gathered me up in her arms and just said, "Oh, my baby, my baby," over and over again. And whenever anything bad would happen to me throughout life or I'd be upset about something, before she gave me words of wisdom or would pray for me, I'd get a hug and hear her say, "Oh, my baby, my baby," even up until her last few months. So after going through this worst of ordeals, I keep looking around for her and waiting for her to come back so I can tell her all about it and hear those words again.
There was one dear lady who remained anonymous in the comments on "Sad," but she said something so profound I'll never forget it my whole life. She just lost her 36-year-old son, two days after my mom died, in a motorcycle accident. She said, "I think of the children's book entitled 'We're Going On a Bear Hunt' which keeps repeating we can't go under it, we can't go over it, we have to go through it."
Like I said, I have no idea who she is, but I just want to hug her. Over the past year or so, my mom said to me several times, "There are worse things than dying of cancer." Oh yes, there are. Having your son die unexpectedly in the prime of his life is worse. Like my friends Jack and Alysa whose friend hanged himself in his garage, leaving behind a wife and three little kids. That's definitely worse.
Today was the last day of that Ruth study I was telling you about. I've spent six weeks reading every word of the book of Ruth and going over her story--how she was widowed so young and set out on a dusty road with her also widowed sister-in-law and mother-in-law. How they came to the crossroad and all started bawling and Naomi told them to go back. How tempting that must have been to want to go back home to her parents and family and the place she knew and the gods she grew up with and everything that was familiar. Watching her sister-in-law do exactly that and maybe wanting to run down that road after her, but instead, putting her arms around Naomi and looking up to God and saying, "I'm going with you and You," even though she had no idea what to expect. Would they have a home in Bethlehem? Would there be food to eat? Would anyone befriend or protect them? Let alone, would she ever get married again or have children?
But she chose to keep walking down the road into the Unknown, and the story ends with her married and bearing a son who became the grandfather of King David, and, not only that, but the ancestor of Jesus Christ Himself. And Kelly, the author of the study wrote this:
"I presume we have no idea how the biggest and seemingly insignificant decisions affect our lives and those around us. This doesn't mean we need to obsess and overanalyze and drive ourselves nuts wondering. It only means we have to pursue Christ. He works all the other things out. I am personally amazed at how God masterfully preserved the line of Judah so many times over by the fragile threads of foreigners like Ruth. Only the gospel can make such sense of things."
I handled all the little memorial gifts from my mom to her friends and family, and I included Revelation 21:4 in all the cards, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. For the old order of things has passed away."
And I got this picture in my mind today that I keep replaying over and over: everyone gathering around the throne in Heaven at that time, and it's not like there's this afterthought such as, "Oh, by the way, there's no death here. Pass it on." but instead Jesus, with His voice like a thousand rushing waters, shouting out, "No more accidents! No more heart disease! No more cystic fibrosis! No more AIDS! No more suicide! No more cancer!" and on and on, while all our cheers keep getting louder and louder until they echo through all the universes.
In Hebrews 11, there's a list of those who remained faithful. In my humble opinion, there's an ongoing list through the ages besides those that are included in that chapter, and maybe that will get read out when we get to Heaven too, so we can all celebrate together--after this long life of mourning together. My mom will for sure be on the list. Ruth, who made the fateful decision to keep walking down that dusty road instead of turning back, will be on it. I want my name amongst the faithful, too.
Only the gospel can make sense of such things. Can't go under it. Can't go over it. Have to go through it.