photo credit: Lars Plougmann <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/75062596@N00/36425009134″>Leonora Christina’s final resting place</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>
“A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one’s birth;
Better to go to the house of mourning
Than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
For by a sad countenance the heart is made better.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
But the heart of fools is in the house of mirth (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 NKJV).”
It may take a few readings before the scripture passage above sinks in. At first, it just doesn’t seem logical.
The day a person dies is better than the day he is born?
Families rejoice when a baby is born; they mourn when a family member dies.
You find a key phrase in the words ‘For that is the end of all men; and then the living will take it to heart.’
When grieving the loss of loved ones and friends we reflect on our own lives. Are we prepared to die?
If not, it is time to set our house in order.
Have you surrendered your life to Christ Jesus.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 NKJV).”
Separation is a sorrowful word.
Many years ago, I called my mother because I wanted to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She shared the unbelievable; she and Dad had filed for a legal separation. In God’s mercy and grace, their separation was shortened. Mom and Dad mended their broken relationship and repeated their marriage vows before a congregation of family & friends.
When death causes separation of loved ones…
“And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.
And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.
And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father: and the physicians embalmed Israel.
And forty days were fulfilled for him; for so are fulfilled the days of those which are embalmed: and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days.
And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.
And Pharaoh said, Go up, and bury thy father, according as he made thee swear.
And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt,
And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their little ones, and their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen.
And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen: and it was a very great company.
And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days.
And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians: wherefore the name of it was called Abelmizraim, which is beyond Jordan.
And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them:
For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father (Genesis 49:33-50:14 KJV).”
‘Big boys don’t cry!’
Who told you that?
Big boys and full grown men do cry…
“Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God (1 Samuel 30:1-6 NKJV).”
David, fearless before the giant Goliath shamelessly wept before his men.
His army, often fearless when outnumbered by their enemies wept before their leader.
Mourning turned to rejoicing…
“So David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away, and David rescued his two wives. And nothing of theirs was lacking, either small or great, sons or daughters, spoil or anything which they had taken from them; David recovered all (1 Samuel 30:18-19 NKJV).”
We just need His shoulder to cry on.
“My soul clings to the dust;
Revive me according to Your word.
I have declared my ways, and You answered me;
Teach me Your statutes.
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word (Psalm 119:25-28 NKJV).”
We just need Him to listen.
“I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
The pains of death surrounded me,
And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul (Psalm 116:1-4 NKJV)!”
My perception changes in darkness, making it difficult to see the road ahead when I drive at night.
In times of trouble, dark clouds have formed. I have entered valleys of despair.
Darkness blocked the illumination rays of the Son and my spiritual perception of God’s presence.
He alone has the power to restore vision.
“If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (Psalm 139:11-12 KJV).”
My heart throbbing in my ears, pounds out the message…
They have taken her away.
Emptiness in my stomach is not due to lack of food, but the absence of my bride of sixty-five years. Memories carry me back across decades to that first encounter, hearing her teaching a Sunday school class in a city mission. Her abiding faith anchors our family in storms of life.
Old age, an uninvited guest invades their lives. When did the falls and bruises begin? As aging issues progress, her health deteriorates to the point of not being able to turn over in bed. The contentious caregiver daughter-in-law is not able to lift her rigid body; bedsores develop confirming her need for professional care.
Will she be okay at the nursing home? What if she falls out of bed? Can they get her to eat?
Anxiety and bitter loneliness overwhelm him.
For more than half a century, we have lived, worked and aged side-by-side. Now, I stand alone in fear and deafening silence. I should be there if she wakes up. She’ll be confused.
He feels helpless, unable to turn back the clock, or restore her health. She once tenderly ministered to others as a home nurse; now with signs of dementia, depends totally upon strangers. Family members try to console him, with explanations that she rests in a safe place; she receives the attention she needs.
Stooping with weakened bones and a heavy heart, I walk the rooms of the house we shared.
Wish we never left the old home-place.
Several years earlier, they sold their family home, accepting the generous offer of a son and daughter-in-law to live with them. Paying their way, they willingly share social security money from a rubber-band bound black billfold.
He longs to rush to her side, hold her frail hand in his once more. Things he once took for granted, he now cherishes.
If only I could… pass my tea bag along to her for a second dunking, tussle her braided hair, rub her clammy brow and kiss her once rosy cheek…
Nursing home staff curtails visits; she needs undisturbed rest.
Does she even know I come? Lord, are you taking her home?
The facility promises to call if there is any change in her condition. A small table in the formal dining room holds the cold, indifferent black telephone. They vowed to call; he must not miss it when they did.
Waiting becomes an obsession; hour-by-hour, day-by-day, he stands watch and strains to hear the phone ring. Nothing else matters; he must know about his precious Belle.
He feels closed off from the world around him. Family members know the seriousness of his plight. Nearly deaf for years, his desire to hear the ringing of the phone seems unlikely. Hearing and understanding simple conversations are difficult under the best of circumstances.
It is amazing; during his vigil, he can hear the phone ring! He is heart of hearing. He hears with his heart what his ears no longer can. He deals with the loss of his love. Life goes on.
I am rocking on the back porch. Grandma enjoyed rocking out here so much. I miss her. I’m 90 years old, and hope to join her soon. Your aunt is addressing the envelope for me. [Letter that I received in 1968]
At age 91, he stumbles into my aunt and uncles bedroom telling them about a visit from an angel. Digitalis no longer strengthens his weary heart. It stops and he slips into eternity.
Hearing aids are beneficial to those who experience hearing loss. The heart is a hearing aid that does not require batteries; it keeps a steady beat powered by love.
We learn through repetition, if I see a phrase used repeatedly in scriptures it peeks my interest as an issue of great importance to God. Scattered through the Bible are words of command to fear not and do not be afraid. Fear began following the transgressions of Adam and Eve and plagues humanity to this very day. A less frequently command comforts me.
“Weep not (Luke 7:13b KJV).” There are different stages of crying, at times we are able to stifle our tears or wipe them away and conceal our pain. There are silent tears, other times of sobbing and we express extreme sorrow by wailing. It matters not how dramatic we weep; Jesus can silence tears with his presence and command. A widow lost her only son and grieved his passing. “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not (Luke 7:13 KJV).”