Saturday, November 13, 2010

to live is Christ, to die

If I die young, bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song...
(If I Die Young - The Band Perry)

I am NOT a morbid person. I am not fascinated by death in and of itself. I don’t wear black constantly and I’m not depressed - but I have thought about death. I’ve thought especially about what it would be like to die, now, as a young person. Would it be some mystical experience to try to understand such a death, as portrayed by L.M. Montgomery in her novels? Would it be death “draped in lace” as one person commented? Where is the sweetness in the bitterness?

It’s a reality. It could happen, even though none of us really expect it. I don’t really write lesson plans far enough in advance that a long-term sub could just pick up and cover for me, because I expect to be here. I’ve never finished the “last will and testament” given to me by a legal services agency several years ago, because truly I don’t expect anyone to be fighting over my (not so plenteous) belongings. I know what I wish my funeral would be, but I’ve never told anyone; they may go before I.

No one really knows what the song means... “If I Die Young.” Well, what if I die young? What would be my legacy? That’s the verse that gets me because I wonder if it’s true.

A penny for my thoughts/oh, no, I’ll sell ‘em for a dollar.
They’re worth so much more after I’m a gonner.
And maybe then you’ll hear/ the words that I’ve been singin’.
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’.

There are things I’ve wanted to say, things I’ve said, for years that it seems no one has heard. I’ve loved and I’ve cried and I’ve prayed and people walk on in their sin. I read the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans - that he would give up his own salvation to see the salvation of Israel. I can’t say I’m quite that unselfish, but I would gladly rejoice in my own death if people would hear the words of LIFE in the gospel as a result.

Actually, rejoicing in death wouldn’t be a problem for me. Lately the Lord pulls more and more on my heart.... For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21). Maybe it’s because I don’t know where home is anymore. I know where my family home is, and I know where the home where I sleep is, but I don’t know where I belong, except in the kingdom. In the words of another song,

They say heaven’s pretty/ and livin’ here is too
But if they said that I would have/ to choose between the two
I’d go home, going home, where I belong...

While I’m here, I’ll serve Him gladly,
Sing Him all my songs.
I’m here, but not for long
And when I’m feeling lonely,
And when I’m feeling blue,
It’s such a joy to know that
I am only passing through.
I’m headed home, going home, where I belong.
(Home Where I Belong - B.J. Thomas)

Every day I am blessed, and I have a life to live. I want to spend time with my nephews. I want to watch my siblings and “my kids” as adults. I want my students to learn. I want to write all my friends letters. I want to visit Colombia again. I want to return to missions as a job. I want to be a mom. But if none of it comes, if all of it comes, if some of it comes - it’s OK. I want to be with Jesus - and I want Jesus to be in the hearts of anyone, of everyone, who loves me.

The ballad of a dove/ go with peace and love.
Gather up your tears/ keep ‘em in your pocket.
Save ‘em for a time when you’re really gonna need ‘em.

Do they know the Holy Spirit, Jesus the Peace who has broken down every wall? Do they know I’ll be in heaven where all tears are wiped away?

The shock knife of a short life.
Well I’ve had just enough time.

If I’ve had time enough, then - they know.