Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. -- Revelation 1:19
Monday, January 19, 2015
That’s the thing: there is always an “after this”. It doesn’t matter if it is war or a terrorist attack, a storm, a financial crisis, disease or the death of a loved one. Tomorrow, you have to get up and make coffee, check the to-do list and pay your taxes. The extraordinary, even the devastating, sooner or later gets swallowed up in the routine. It doesn’t mean that I’m not forever changed; I am.
I sat down with the young man who spoke at Vickie’s funeral, and, as we talked, I realized that there were many things I had seen. Those things that are now tend to obscure the past. Present pain may cause us to think less of past joy just as present joy may transform past pain to something more akin to poignancy or perhaps even wistfulness. Yet the things I have seen assure me, reassure me that the present with its pain will have meaning just as the past has gained meaning. This, too, will be transformed and become something I have seen. That we have seen. I am not alone. She was Mom, Grandma, Aunt Vickie, a sister, a friend, neighbor, confidante, and prayer partner.
Facing the undeniable claims of death, it seems as though it ought to be the end of the world. So far there have been things to attend to, and that will go on. Minor details have to be addressed. Numerous small, mostly inconsequential tasks have to be completed. After that, barring an accident or something, I’ll still be here. So, I have to consider those things that are to take place after this. The struggle over the next few months will be to orient my life away from what is right now and toward what is coming. It is dangerous to get stuck in time.
If you had been able to ask my wife my greatest flaw, she would probably have said that I am lazy and a procrastinator. Which is true. But the underlying flaw is deeper. I like things the way they are. I would always have been more than willing to stay where I was, to drive the same car, to work the same job, and so on. If it hadn’t been for her, I would probably still be living in the same furniture-less two-bedroom apartment and driving the same little truck. It’s not that I’m not adaptable. I am, perhaps, too adaptable. I can put up with anything. Vickie was always instigating radical changes and putting me in difficult positions so that I had no choice except to change myself, to learn and to grow. It kind of makes me wonder if she hasn’t done it again.