Sunday, October 05, 2008

Life and Death

We've had a lot of conversations about death lately. I really want to shield my kids from hearing about it, talking about it and dealing with it. But I know that's silly because it's a reality of life.

We went to see a man from our church that is in hospice today. He is in a lot of pain and is barely recognizable as the spunky Jack we know from church. But yesterday when Mike was there he asked for me and the kids to come. So after lunch today we all loaded up and drove up there. It's a beautiful facility with lots of fancy family rooms to sit in. Jack really didn't know we were there. Mike sat there and held his hand for a long time and I chased the kids around trying to keep them from destroying the place. I really did want to go see him and at the same time I wanted to run away from the grim reality that he is dying. While we were waiting for Mike, I was reading the pamphlet about the hospice house. It talked about having time to reconnect and say thank you and good-bye. And it talked about moving from being a caregiver back to relationship. It spun it all in such a nice positive light you almost forgot about the dying part.

The other day Annie (our 3 year old) and I were in the car on our way to our little ECFE class. She asked me if she was going to die. She continued, "I don't want to die". I wanted to say no you're not going to die, but thought I better be honest. I told her that I didn't want to die either but we are all going to die someday. But she pressed, "not yet, right Mommy?". I wanted to agree, but after the tragedies of the summer I said we don't know. But I do know that we will get to be with Jesus in Heaven. To which she responded, " I will be safe and happy in heaven with Jesus. Can I bring my blankie and teddy bear?" I said I don't think we'll need those things because we'll have Jesus. To which she replied, " I love Jesus."

I thought that was a pretty deep conversation for a 3 year old. But it was also deep to me because I don't want to think about those things. I really, really don't! But the fact is that it is part of life and cannot be avoided. It is hard to explain things to my kids, when I haven't had the need, desire or courage to face them myself. I think earlier on in my parenting I put off those difficult questions when they wondered about sex or death or some other subject I didn't know how to deal with.

It seems more natural now to just honestly deal with the questions as they come instead of saving it all up for some mother-of-all parenting lectures that will include the complexities of life and death and the birds and the bees. I think they need to learn to deal with it little by little and step by step.

So I'm thankful we all went to see Jack. It seems to give more depth to the love Jesus has for us.

1 John 3:14-20
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

1 comment:

Joel and Jenn said...

Good for you Michelle. I agree wholeheartedly with your statment that it seems more natural to deal with questions as they come. It's a step by step journey. When my grandpa died this summer we got to answer a lot of questions and talk a lot about death. More than I ever wanted to with my kids, but I found that death was just another way to reflect on God's love for us and point to our need for Him.