I heard the sirens from several miles away and I knew they were coming to my house. Sirens blare every day, but when they are coming for you or a family member it is very eerie. For years I cringed when I heard sirens thinking they too were coming for my dad having another heart attack. I was only 18 at the time. 19 on the second call. I lived for another 20 years before I had the final call on dad. Since then, I’ve had to experience the sirens several more times – sometimes for myself and sometimes for my son. It’s an awful sound.
I’ve faced death more openly than some because of facing it at an early age. Actually, my journey started much earlier with my dad being a pastor. He talked often about death and dying with me. He shared about people fighting death and those who welcomed the next step. Some are at peace. Some aren’t. Some go quickly. Some take a long time. Some are expected. Some are a surprise.
Currently, I’m still recovering from my neighbor Tom dying suddenly. Tom taught a Bible study on a Sunday titled “You have two weeks to live, what will you do?” Exactly two weeks later, Tom died. He laid down on his bed to take a nap and never woke up. I found out when the sirens came down our street.
Last week our family said goodbye to our little dog, Sammie. She was 14 and we knew that she was going. We held her as she took her last breath. I buried her in the morning under a tree. Death is a part of living but it sure isn’t the fun part. We live by faith for a new life and home. None of us know the time or circumstance when we will go. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could know we had two weeks left?
What would you do? Who would you see? Where would you go? What is left on your bucket list that needs to be done? Are you ready to go? Is your house in order?
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
On a previous blog I wrote about over fertilizing plants in my office. Yes, I have learned that too much of a good thing can kill. I sit and watch these plants daily knowing that they are destined to die. I could just throw them out but . . . they are still green and they look alive. I know they are dying but as Monte Python said it best, “I’m not dead yet”.
When do we decide if a plant is dead? When it is brown and shriveled or when it is still green but lifeless? Green and lifeless is not coming back. Why do I keep encouraging it?
My first round of plants finally died from my fertilizer mishap. Now I’m on round two. I dumped all that over fertilized soil into a bag with other soil, mixed it around and then reused it on new plants that I bought. Guess what. Those new plants didn’t like it either and they are drooping and dropping all around me. They too are still green but I really don’t think they are going to make it.
Don’t we learn? I know that I can be slow but “I’m not dead yet”. Stop pouring water and tending to lifeless activity. Even Jesus cursed the fruitless olive tree. If it is not bearing fruit or giving life, let it go. Give your effort to something that is ready to grow.
Mark 11:12 The next morning as they left Bethany, he felt hungry. 13 A little way off he noticed a fig tree in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But no, there were only leaves, for it was too early in the season for fruit.
14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “You shall never bear fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
A friend asked me the other day about Isaiah’s death. She said, “does it ever get any better?” I answered, “I don’t know.” In some ways it does. In others it doesn’t. I can’t watch soccer anymore. I don’t really want to discuss the World Cup. We have moments when we laugh about his funny exploits. We can talk about him and what happened without becoming emotional. I miss him just as much today as I did a year ago. Some of the pain is gone. Two years ago today he was in a youth correctional center facing felony breaking and entering charges. I forgot all about that until now as I began writing. That was a long summer with a lot of stress in our home. The reason I’m writing today is not to mourn Isaiah. I am mourning for another family in our school district that lost their 18 year old daughter to a drunk driver yesterday. Meredith Demko graduated from High School 25 days ago along with my son Josh. She was planning on starting college in a few weeks. You don’t need another another lecture on drinking and driving. I could rant and rage but it won’t change what happened yesterday. I’m writing because this has brought my emotions back on edge. Our little community has lost several parents over the past three years and we lost Isaiah. We have all been to more funerals than I want to go to in a lifetime. I didn’t know Meredith personally and yet the pain is hitting me in the face. Another family without their child. Friends without their friend. Teachers mourning the loss of a bright student. Emergency responders dealing with shock. Pictures of a smiling girl from the prom and graduation that will no longer be photographed. Our community will pull together again. Friends will support the family. Meals will be delivered. Parents will give their children an extra hug and say “I love you” a little more often. Parents will also remind their children a few too many times, “Please be careful driving.” Life can suck. It can really hurt at times. But every time we get knocked down, we have someone there to help pull us up. Does it ever get any better? Yes it does. I still love Isaiah. I miss him. I miss John, Scott and Tim who died way to early these past few years. I miss standing along the soccer field with them. Meredith’s family and friends will miss her too. Some days will be good. Some days will be bad. Someday they will be able to laugh about her funny exploits. But for now we will all cry.
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn . . .