Written By: Keri Harvey
For death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2b (NIV)
This verse found me a few years ago. My mom had just passed away after a gruelling battle with cancer. I heard it when I was struggling to make sense of the remainder of my life. I couldn’t imagine my life without my biggest fan, my greatest coach, my dearest friend.
Somewhere in the middle of my grief, I realized that an important part of grieving was to return to life. This one life that I had been given was marching out in front of me and I needed to merge back into the parade.
Within a few years, that parade brought my husband and I four children in 2.5 years. That is a story in itself, but you can imagine that some days are pretty crazy around here. Sometimes, in the middle of the laundry, the cooking and running kids around, I need a reminder to fully live; to actually engage in a meaningful way with the people around me.
A timely reminder came recently, when within 24 hours, I went to a wedding and a funeral.
I can only imagine the thousands of memories that flash through the parents minds as their children stand at that altar. First words, first steps, swimming lessons, first day of school, first heartbreak, summer holidays… so many moments in the very full chapter of life that happens between birth and young adulthood.
The ceremony is full of tributes from those closest to them and almost always, a slideshow that takes us by the hand to show us how cute those chubby cheeked, spaghetti covered little ones were when they were sitting in their high chair.
All of those frustrating parenting moments…”Brush your hair, brush your teeth, make your bed, stop touching them!” Those moments get swallowed into this bigger moment and none of that stuff actually matters at all.
What a parent never imagines is that they will host a funeral for their child.
Another ceremony, with speeches and slideshows from those closest to them.
The ceremony I attended was for a young woman, just 24. She had lived those 24 years with much laughter, but also heartache and deep struggle with invisible enemies that had tormented her from a young age. We celebrated her and sat relieved that she had entered into eternal life with Jesus.
That ceremony reminded me of the first time I felt eternity collide my world. My mom, with laboured breathing, took her last breath on earth and walked into forever. It was so close, so beautiful, so vibrant.
I wanted to go too.
It made everything here, even the brightest colours, so grey and pale. I knew then more than ever, that we don't really live "time to time" but we live "moment to moment" inside time are the moments that actually matter.
Life is full of beginnings and endings, we should be good at both. Weddings, births, funerals, they all remind us of what really matters. We need to notice moments when they come, so we don't get swallowed up in the business of the chronological monotony.
When you can laugh until you hurt, do it. Don't hold back. When you need to cry for sentiment or grief, open the floodgate and let the ugly tears fly.
Chapters open and chapters close. Death so often teaches me to live.
That is what makes the death matter. What their lives taught us becomes our textbook and their memory gives us the courage to do things we may have never done.
Whatever we focus on, grows. Our thoughts bring us closer to heaven or keep us wrapped up here on earth. I pray that we could focus on eternity and let the Lord magnify His reality in us. Let us live, fully live, every day of our lives.