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Friday, April 11, 2008

The Catcher

I think it all started with reading Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, followed by a very close friend’s potentially serious cancer diagnosis. Then, there was word of a high school acquaintance being shot to death in his home under mysterious circumstances. The funeral was yesterday.

Next, I visited my elderly parents, and the sight of their ever-weakening and inexplicably shrinking bodies made me sad. Last night, I watched a highly anticipated Dateline story about two students of Taylor University (a nearby Indiana Christian college) whose identities were accidentally switched at the scene of a horrendous accident two years ago, and how the mistake was not revealed until 5 weeks later, leaving one family elated and one family devastated. Finally, we’re right at the three-year anniversary of an event that made part of my heart die away forever, the death of Terri Schiavo.

Yes, I've been thinking about death a lot this week.

Actually, I think about my own death at some point every day, not in a morbid way, but just in an “Are you ready? Is there unfinished business? How do you want to be remembered?” way. That is constructive, to a point.

What is not constructive is allowing myself to be tortured by the fear of losing my children and husband. As a believer, I have to draw the line of rumination there. I cannot give in to hand-wringing, although I’m prone to.

Henri Nouwen once spoke to the unique relationship of a trapeze team. When the flyer lets go of his bar and hangs in mid-air for a split second, there is no security. He cannot see his catcher nor manipulate the catcher’s speed or method of catching. But at the right moment, his savior arrives and takes him to their base.

Most of us believe death will be like that frightening moment of suspension. But 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “We should be cheerful, because we would rather leave these bodies and be at home with the Lord.”

In other words, we will not be left hanging for one moment because to let go here makes us present there.

Sometimes when I sit down to write, I face the blank screen and feel uncertain and anxious—the term is “writer’s block.” After this sad, question-filled week, I’m comforted by the thought that although life is uncertain, it is not unwritten. That is to say, God is the author of life, and he has never suffered writer’s block. He is not uneasy about the future at all.

That’s why Christians shouldn’t despair. Death is simply another part of each of our stories.

Paul says, “When you sow a seed, it must die in the ground before it can live and grow. And when you sow it, it does not have the same body it will have later. What you sow is only a bare seed, maybe wheat or something else. But God gives it a body that he has planned for it” (Corinthians 15:35-38).

The key word phrase is “that he has planned for it.” We who trust in Christ for forgiveness of our sins can know that as the story of our life unfolds, we are in his thoughts, never out of sight or mind, and that we are always safe in the strong grip of our loving savior and "catcher."

Q ~ When was the last time you felt suspended in air like the trapeze flyer?
Q ~ Think about a time you felt the sure grip of the "catcher" in your life.



Blogger Denise said...

Wow, such a timely post. April 21 will be the two year anniversary of my dear mommas passing away. Thanks for sharing this .

April 11, 2008 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Alicia said...

This is timely for me as well. My husband's grandfather died unexpectedly last week. Then yesterday I received 2 pieces of difficult news. My sister-in-law went to a regularly scheduled ob appt yesterday, and they couldn't find a heartbeat that was visible at the last appt. The D&C is today. A sweet friend of mine gave birth to her 3rd son yesterday (which should be pure joy since he shares my birthday). His heart rate kept dropping so they did an emergency c-section, and for some reason this full term baby boy only weighs 4 lbs 14 oz. She's been told that some babies are just small like this, and I am in prayer for her that it's the case here. Needed to hear these words. Thanks

April 11, 2008 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your way with words always touches something in me that needs tweaking.

"He cannot see his catcher"

And therein lies our battle. Though we can not see Him, He is there. He is there. He is there.

Wonderful word. You always find a way to point us to Him.

Blessings to you today.

April 11, 2008 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

Thank you for pointing us to Him. Death is the door to eternal life for the believer. I have an unsaved sibling who is facing her own mortality and I'm praying this will cause her to make her decision to live for eternity. She has shunned Him I pray she sees the light. Thank you for this post. It is so wonderful to know that He has a plan for us and it's all taken care of when we have turned our lives over to Him. Blessings on your life.

April 11, 2008 at 3:03 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I felt suspended in air when my only brother passed away in May of 2000 and then my mom passed in September of 2000. It was all we (dad,sister and myself) could do to hang on! Devastation and emptiness is what I felt. Cindi

April 11, 2008 at 6:30 PM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

As always, you spoke straight to my heart. Thank you.

April 12, 2008 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

That was really beautiful Linda.

April 12, 2008 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I loved this line - "although life is uncertain, it is not unwritten."

Amen - what a good author we have in our heavenly Father. Thanks for this meditation, Linda.

April 14, 2008 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Great post, my friend!

April 15, 2008 at 10:55 PM  

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