Our lives are ordered by the Lord, and He does this through people and circumstances which He sends our way. This week has been a flurry of activity in a kaleidoscope of directions, which is probably true for most of us; however, dealing with death does not drop into the schedule every week.
A dear friend from our church died yesterday. Her life was a constant challenge to me. She was diagnosed with MS shortly after her marriage, and her husband left her. She has been in a wheel chair for years in a little apartment filled to the brim with penguins—she loved penguins! Whenever we would visit her, we came away with a smile. Dannah had a mission to make everyone smile.
While sorting through her things last Saturday, my heart was heavy. Life would soon be over for Dannah. In many ways, that was a relief. For the past six months, she’s been in and out of hospitals and on deaths door often, constantly in pain.
Is it by accident that I’m reading through Ecclesiaties right now? I think not! Chapter one says, One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (4) Chapter two has these words of wisdom: For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, Since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool! (16 NKJV) These verses capture the sense of Solomon’s struggle. Is there anything new under the sun? What is the meaning of life? By chapter three, he’s changed his direction of thinking: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: And by the end of the book, he’s gained the right perspective: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (12:13)
But as I sit here today, looking back over my activities of the week, I have to wonder, or ponder, or think through that big question: What is the meaning of life? Does it lose meaning when it seems to be all drudgery, monotonous, or mundane?
I have found that it helps to think about my grandparents. They were farmers and gardeners, carpenters and housewives. They never traveled much or were “movers and shakers” in their communities. They lived, worked, raised kids and corn and cows, and died. That doesn’t sound very complimentary, but believe me, I’m glad they did live and raise kids, or I wouldn’t be here!
Life is good, even in the worst of circumstances. God is good, and ALWAYS does what is right. I just finished reading Job, and certainly don’t want to be a “miserable comforter,” but sometimes we just need to “stop it!” (You need to watch this little clip of Bob Newhart, and you’ll understand!
God sends us through the valleys and then gives us the strength to reach the mountain tops! Then we rejoice and enjoy the view…and slide back down! (Or Satan pushes us!) But that’s okay, because we are alive! We are living, and life is for the living! Enjoy it, make the most of it! Spend time with people, especially those under your roof! And know that quality time may look like a waste of time to you, like sitting and chatting with your two year old while he eats his lunch!
Make your living legacy count, so that when you’re at death’s door, you can look back down over the trail you’ve forged, and you can rest in the arms of Jesus with no regrets! Wow! That’s a tall order! How do you do that? …one step at a time!
This poem was written by Dannah in 1995. She still had twenty more years of living to do! Please, take the time to read it. It’s long, but it’s a great perspective builder!
At The Road’s End
At the road’s end, there lies a peaceful rest:
A rest that is eternal and better than Earth’s best,
A place that’s sheltered and protected from unrest of any kind,
A place where pain and suffering you will never find,
A place that is cradled in the hollow of His hand,
A place where you can always hear the celestial angelic band.
A place where a medicine chest, upon the shelf so full,
Will never again cause havoc and treat the body so cruel.
Twisted, withered, and missing body parts will be restored,
And never again will I need my shiny transfer board.
The wheelchair that supports me and speeds me along the way,
Will no longer be part of me when I reach that happy day.
That place is surrounded by beauty and quietness,
where naked eyes and open ears will experience the bliss.
No crutches, nor braces, nor aids of any kind.
No surgery, no chemo, or such as the likes you’ll find.
There will be no death or loss of life,
There will be no stress or strife.
A place where true peace will reign among all men,
A place where prejudice and hate will n’er be round again,
A placed where the landscape is covered by pure white,
I can hardly wait to see it, t’will be an awesome sight.
A place that will be illuminated completely from within,
A place that will not be corrupted by death and sin,
A place that is both an ending and a beginning,
A place so perfect in all respects, it sets my mine to spinning.
A place where every race, gender, and nation
Will be reunited with each and every predeceased relation—
Oh, what a joyous celebration will be spread
Without a single worry, fear, or dread.
No need to look backwards over your shoulder,
No need to fret the morrow, for you shall never wax older.
Finally set free, no more irons, no more fetters,
No more hassles with bills, no more vile and hurtful letters.
Never another lonely tear from the corner of my eye shall fall,
As I open wide my eyes to see those dear ones, one and all.
As they approach me, surround me, and welcome me with glee,
I gaze into those loving eyes of the One who died for me,
And suddenly, and awesomely, I finally understand
Just why my grief and suffering was just a part of the Master’s plan:
For every teardrop, hurt, and sorry was tailored for that eternal gain.
And so as I travel those final few feet,
I draw my last breath as my Savior I meet.
Don’t be distraught, you’ll miss me I know.
Don’t be discouraged, instead let your faith show.
Be happy for me, I’m whole once more,
No wheelchair, no tethers, not one little sore,
Please excuse me, I much to explore!!!
Just wait till you get here, you’ll adore it I’m sure.
If you are wondering just where your prayers and thoughts to send,
I have forever established my residence in that place—AT THE ROAD’S END.
1/95 Dannah L Kegler