Celebrating Life after LifeBy
I was chatting with a friend, at a car show recently, not the place you’d anticipate having a deep spiritual conversation. Yet, he told me about his brother who had just passed away in his early 70’s. As we stood under his blue popup sun shade on a warm September afternoon listening to classic rock blasting across the parking lot he related a fascinating story.
His brother had cancer and his prescribed treatment would extend his life for a few months but leave him sick every day. So his brother elected not to receive the treatments. He told Ron, “I’d rather just live out my life and when it is over it’s over.”
When his brother was near the end some friends decided they wanted to see him one last time. So one suggested, “Hey, we know where he’s going. He’s just heading out a little ahead of us. So let’s take some champagne and have a bon-voyage party for him.”
They checked with the hospital and though certainly unusual they ok’d it.
By the time they all got there his brother was unconscious. So crowded into his little room surrounding his bed they decided to toast him anyway. Then one said, “This isn’t right. He needs champagne to.”
So Ron dipped his little finger into his champagne and touched it inside his brother’s lips as they toasted him and wished him well on his journey. Then they all told him they loved him and would see him soon.
Gazing out over the cars at the show, Ron said, “That night he passed on. I don’t know if he knew we were there but I think he did. Any way when I see him again and I’ll tell him about it.”
I left Ron to view the cars and as I looked back he was smiling. I thought, “That hope is what makes all the difference.”
The words of Jesus rung in my mind, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2, NKJV)
I thought there’s nothing more important.
All of us know that day is coming. We just don’t know when.
And there burns in each of us a yearning to be immortal. Somehow to go on beyond this life.
For some of us we think, “If I leave something memorable behind I will live on in that way.” Yet, I realize in 100 years no one will remember.
Or it’s easy to get caught up in frantic behavior. Racing in our careers. Racing in leisure. Not stopping long enough to really think about it.
Or we try to check out. Escape thinking about it. Yet, all that does is leave us even more empty and when we come back to reality, afraid.
I’m not sure who said it but a great thought, “Only when you are ready to die are you truly ready to live.”
Having that issue resolved sets us free to live life to the fullest. We can embrace and enjoy it to the maximum.
As I pondered my conversation later I thought, “What really makes the difference?
What enables us to celebrate and even look forward to that part of our journey?
Obviously, first is the relationship. Jesus said he went ahead of us to prepare a home. I can only imagine what it’ll be like. The descriptions are of a marvelous place filled with love and joy. I simply accept the gift. And when I rest in that that hope it brings an amazing peace about life and the future.
Yet, when I have a friend or loved one pass away it at times challenges my faith. I ask sometimes, “Is this all real?” Then I review all the reasons I believe it is. I think through it again. But at some point I simply chose to believe. Clarifying my beliefs is ok. But there is also a time to simply choose and move on.
One of the things that has helped me is reading about heaven. After my parents died, I read a book simply titled Heaven. It described heaven based on all the references in the Bible. After reading it I truly look forward to that time. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to go early. I have a lot more to do here first. But I anticipate it with joy like reading a travel brochure.
And one of the things I loved about Ron’s story was they acted on their faith. They celebrated his brother’s journey with him in the hope his last memory on earth would be that he was loved. And it encouraged each other in their own faith. There is something remarkably anchoring in acting out our faith. And when done as a group it strengthens each of us.
What about you? Can you celebrate the thought of life after life yet?
If this post has encouraged you please let me know. And please share it with a friend. And if you haven’t already I’d love to have you subscribe. Thanks.