I was dying and I was only twenty two.
Pain encased by body already frail from chemotherapy. Tubes were wired into my body, IV’s were wired into my hands and a ventilator covered my mouth. I gasped struggling just to take a breath of air.
My head favored the appearance of Mr. Clean. My body favored the exterior of a bruised and bloated balloon. Tears swelled as I yearned to love, to laugh and to live once again. I wallowed in the memories of everything I was and everything I’d become. The images, the sights, the smells were slowly fading into blackness and so was I.
I wept, I beseeched and I begged for a moment of heaven’s time. To plead my case before God explain how I was too young too die and had so much to live for. I had unrequited potential to create smiles, happiness and peace. I was supposed to be a teacher, a wife and a mother.
Now here I lie on the whispering my goodbyes, preserving my memories and the moments I have left as I waited for my death. I wonder in my silence, why God did not hear my pleas? Did He ever hear me?
The essence of time was lost in the days that would soon follow, the days that would become my last. My breaths became labored and more difficult to take. Blackness overwhelmed me as I slowly began slipping in and out of unconscious. I hear the tears and whispers of those passing through my room, holding my hand, telling me how much the loved and how much I would be missed.
Perhaps they needed God’s strength more than I. In the moments of utter silence I prayed for God to grant them strength, peace and encouragement for the days that lie ahead.
A gentle hand stroked through my hair, “I love you so much, Jen. But all angels have to be returned to God. I suppose your no exception.”
Her tears trickled onto me, too exhausted to speak I squeezed her hand three times to let her know I felt the same, as she dabbed at my face. With the final words spoken I peacefully slipped into eternal life.
Human understanding doesn’t even begin to comprehend the intricacies and beauty of heaven. The transition from life to eternal life was effortless. My body is no longer devastated by disease or death. I suppose in truth, no one is ever ready for heaven but it’s always ready for you. Our lives that were once stained with tears and torment are now surrounded by hope and happiness.
Our memories of loved one lost are now loved ones gained. The hello of the father who’d
died so many years ago, the embrace of the grandma who loved to pinch your cheeks and the touch of a sister who died before her time.
The ecstasy of waiting to glimpse at the Savior and for him to glimpse at you, if only for a moment. Would he resemble the childhood paintings of so long ago? Or would he stand in strength and stature smiling as he welcomed every Christian home? Was I ready, my hair brushed and smile readied?
I stood in confidence so blessed and assured for my time. Heaven doesn’t count minutes or hours but at times I still wish I could. My eyes wandered, my brow sweated and my heart thumped they were here for me.
The doors of heaven opened wide and Jesus stood before me as I glanced inside. He was the vision of perfection and of peace. I stared in awe my mouth agape and he smiled warmly at me. His hands outstretched I ran to his embrace, all the while staring at smile upon my Savior’s face.
“Well done,” he whispers gently in my ear. “For you have persevered in times of trial, leaning upon me for your strength.”
I wept with joy as a crown was place upon my head. Quietly I lay it at his feet, “Truly this belongs to you instead.”
Truly I was blessed.
Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. - James 1:12
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