Yesterday, I went hunting online for a lovely, simple nature calendar I'd seen a few years ago.
|James Partridge's Natural Science Through the Seasons|
She died suddenly last fall from a hemorrhagic stroke. She was there one day, gone the next. Now her husband Tripp is raising those four Down Syndrome boys without her. Barbara's fight for children like her boys, her fight for Catholicism, her campaign for Montessori education -- her many convictions and hard-fought battles to defend them -- flicked away in a moment. We are left to ruminate on her life and all the good she did. Who would've expected her to die so young when she'd committed herself to so many life-long tasks? "Life-long" was shorter than any of us thought.
The other day I remembered a joke my old piano professor used to tell. "A patient in a hospital said to the nurse entering his room, "Who goes there? Friend or enema?" And I sniggered as I recalled it, and I thought of Ira David Halvorsen, eccentric, genius, brilliant musician, passionate lover of many things and people, child of God. I remember him. A little joke brought him to mind. I thought, "How many people remember him? How many years will he be remembered?" 20? 30? 50? That's a stretch.
We put a lot of stock in being remembered. Without children and grandchildren, an elderly person will be forgotten on this earth almost as soon as he dies. Even with family, 100 years from now, no one will know who I really was. Death makes me feel lonely. We all long to be known.
I Cor. 13:12 says this: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
And it struck me about Mr. Halvorsen! He is not being slowly forgotten; he is being fully known! It's unimportant to be remembered here on this old earth because when we die we go to God. We're more and better known after our deaths than we are before our deaths. Isn't that a wondrous thought? Up there in heaven are Monica, and Barbara, and Mr. Halvorsen. They know themselves, and each other, and are known by God and by others ... eternally. Stunning! Our knowledge here is so minimal. Practically speaking, I didn't know Monica well, I never met Barbara, and I knew precious Mr. Halvorsen only as an elderly man. On God's New Earth, I'll live with them all for as many years as it takes to know them intimately, and then have endless years still to go. No hurry. There is time for everything.
Monica's and Barbara's deaths remind me that each hour may be my last. If these women can die suddenly, I can too. Then I shall be known. That's a comforting thought.