O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! -Psalm 39:4
“A Christian’s life is over when their work on earth is done.” A friend of mine shared this at a retreat once as he poured out one of the most intimate parts of his life right in front of us. Being only seventeen at the time, death wasn’t something I thought about, especially not on a daily basis. Being seventeen meant being carefree. Being seventeen meant I had my whole life ahead of me. Being seventeen meant being invincible.
So what happens when we’re no longer invincible, when we realize our mortality? Being eighteen now, a whole year older, this is something I’ve begun to think about a lot, especially in light of attending two memorial services in the past month. The first week I got back home for my first winter break in college, I heard one of the aunties from my church had passed away from cancer. Looking back on my life, she was one of the most influential people in my journey with God. Even though she was struggling with cancer the entire time I’ve known her, there was never a moment when she wasn’t smiling. She was one of those rare people that radiated warmth simply from a glance or a smile. She was one of those rare people who you can see joy and light in their eyes. At her service, every story shared involved some funny, joyful memory of her, and every speech ended with them saying that they knew she wouldn’t want us to be mourning her. All I could think about was the beautiful image of her smiling, all the pain erased, and just praising and worshiping the Lord, just as she did here on earth. That’s when I knew: death is simply a portal through which we enter the Father’s house. This world is not our home. And that’s okay.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God has laid you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call
I turned my back and left it all….
Life up your hearts and peace to thee
God wanted me now; He set me free. [“I’m Free”]