Wednesday, October 03, 2012

If Tomorrow Never Comes

It is within each of us as human beings to be forgetful. Since the beginning of human history we have exercised that right. We forget the truth. We forget the wonders of God. We forget people. We forget our keys. It is innate in the human condition to see through the glass dimly...and herald it as clarity. It is human propensity to build bigger barns, to swear by tomorrow and to forget the truth that we are but a blade of today and gone tomorrow. What makes us unique is that the All-powerful Jehovah God has this crazy crush on us. He is willing to look foolish for us. He stalks us. He calls us at all hours of the night. He sends us love letters in a painted sky. He gave up His own Son for our worthless souls...not worthless at all to Him.

We make plans for the future based on what seems most likely to happen. Often we begin to live in a deluded sense of reality that tells us we can certainly predict what's coming. To put it fairly, it's pretty understandable that we would end up in that place. God has given us a sense of discernment and we often try to exercise that muscle in figuring out how to plan for the future. We invest our money, make the right choices, build the best houses, and select the right friends to help us on this journey. And, often our intuition is justified by things playing out exactly as we had hoped or thought.

Then there are days...moments...seconds...where all the air is sucked out of the room, where you hear words like "cancer" or "stroke" or "you've been found out." It's in those exact moments you truly get in touch with your own finite nature.

Some friends of ours in Nashville are going through the pain of that realization right now. Wayne Reed was diagnosed over 20 years ago with with Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS). For years, his hilarious, beautiful and full of life wife, Diana, has cared for him. Most of us could foresee the way this was going. Wayne, with ALS, wouldn't one does. Generally speaking, that disease causes rapid decline. Friends prepared for the worst. Well, 20 years later, Wayne is still with us. He has had a very difficult road physically and emotionally over those years. Diana has been his strength. She fought through the battles with grace and laughter. Always quick witted, she asked hard questions and chose to LIVE life. Then, in an oxygen suck moment, Diana found herself in the hospital struggling through Meningitis. Over the course of the last week she has gone from someone brimming with life to someone in the process of passing from this life to the next. Her brain couldn't take the stress. After a series of strokes they moved her to Hospice care. Wayne, one of the longest surviving patients with ALS, there by her side. What plan does this fit into? I ask you, in what world does this make sense??

It is a mirror we find ourselves peering into right now. An image that makes a little more sense when put into context...we are finite. We are, as Psalm 103:15 puts it, "like grass. We flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." Again, THIS is reality. And if we stop there, it's pretty dang depressing. But what makes us unique is that God loves much. Crazy love!  Psalm 103:10-14 says this:

He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As as father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

If there is ANYTHING in our lives more important than His love for us or our love for Him, it will fade away. No matter how well thought out your life may be, no matter what treasures you have laid up for yourselves, no matter how much education you can complete, no matter what job you have, house you have, car you drive, city you live in, or how fat your wallet, the one and only thing that lasts is His love. An investment in His love is the only thing that yields lasting results.

So, I guess the questions I'm asking myself today much are you depending on Jesus? How much are you relying on the things of this world to bring happiness? How much time are you spending telling people how much you love much God loves them? How committed are you to finding peace and Life only in Him?

To close, here is a Facebook status that my friend Sandra Collins wrote about Diana. It was about the most perfectly worded thing I have ever read describing her. I'll close with sharing this. Please pray for the Reed family...Wayne, Diana, Eric and Kevin.

The skies joined the grieving today and soaked the ground, as Diana Reed began to leave us. Diana was like Jacob, Job, the OT prophets, and the Psalmists. She wrestled with God, she argued and shouted, she asked where He was, she yelled, "How long?" and she soaked her pillows with tears. Yet, just like all of them, she did not quit believing. And though she was so tired, so exhausted, she did not quit serving.

Her brilliance amazed me. She was an avid reader who devoured books of all kinds (after opening and smelling them) and wrestled with the content. She had a quick, loud, and hearty laugh. When she was in a class, she was an active participant--responding to what was being said, nodding, shaking her head, smiling, frowning, not taking her eyes off the speaker.

While I have not been one of those close by her bed, spending the night, talking to her and hoping she could hear them, I have been among some of her innumerable friends and acquaintances. In every case, the first word spoken has been, "Unbelievable!" And that is how we all feel. What has transpired in the past week is absolutely unbelievable.

***update: Diana transitioned from this life to the next at about 2:30pm today. Our hearts break for Wayne and the boys. I will miss her laugh and heart. I'm thankful that I knew her.


judy thomas said...

Beautiful, babe.

Unknown said...

I am a high school classmate of Diana ( I say am. It's hard to believe she's gone). Our senior year, I had the privilege of escorting Diana in the Homecoming Court. We never dated, just friends, but she had an infectious personality even those many years ago. I had lost touch since then and learned of her condition via Facebook. This is a tragedy in so many respects. My prayers go out to her family.