I wrote the following post in 2007 under a different title. I wrote the poem in 2016.
Another Sunday and another Sunday service at the nursing home. I was blessed, edified, and saddened all at the same time. What a blessing to be part of the residents’ lives. To be able to encourage the saints and to be encouraged by them. They just continue to shine in their hour of trial! Then there’s the joy of sharing the good news of the Gospel with those who have not been born again. But there’s also sadness for those who don’t know the Lord. I wonder, will they ever come to know Him?
Much was said yesterday, even before the service began, about the brevity of life and, at times, the suddenness of death. Life itself can be an illustrated bible study…
An elderly woman walked into the lounge where my father was eating lunch. She had come to visit one of the residents. We began to talk, as often happens when visitors gather in the lounge. She told me that many years ago she bought a house and moved in on a Saturday. Her mother was so excited and was telling everyone that her daughter had just bought a new house. Plans were made for her mother to come and spend a whole month in the new house with her. But by Monday morning her mother was dead. She died in her sleep. Her mother was only 58 years old at the time. As she spoke she looked as if she would cry. She said we should thank God every morning when we wake up, that He has given us another day to live. She said that on the Saturday that she moved into her new house she felt inexplicably sad. So much so that someone commented on the sadness of her countenance. She told them she was sad because she felt as if she was about to be separated from someone.
Then she told of the man who sang the Lord’s prayer at her 50th wedding anniversary. She said he traveled with a group, and sang at many different places. She was planning to host a barbeque at her home after he returned from one of his trips. She and his wife made plans. But the man never made it home to enjoy the fellowship. While he was away, after singing a solo, he sat down and had a massive heart attack in his seat and died.
I’m sure many have similar tales to tell. A friend of our family went on vacation with his wife and young daughter. He went into the ocean for a swim and when he came out suffered a fatal massive heart attack, right on the beach. He was only in his mid 40’s.
And, many years ago my husband’s father, who was only in his 60’s, collapsed on the living room floor after coming home from his youngest daughter’s grammar school graduation dinner. His daughter, my sister-in-law, was suppposed to go to Great Adventure the next day for her 8th grade class trip. In her own words she tells what happened …
“I had gone up to bed shortly after arriving home from the dinner, and I heard my mom yelling for help. We were the only ones home at the time. I ran down the stairs expecting to find something wrong with my mother, but saw my father lying there instead. His face was black in color, and my dog was sniffing at him because he sensed something was wrong.
The ambulance arrived quickly and my mom accompanied my father as I followed in a neighbor’s car. I remember my neighbor, Peggy, telling me “Your dad is a strong man” as I gazed out the car window. Several days later, as my mom and I were standing in our kitchen, the phone rang. It was the hospital.
After hanging up the phone, my mother turned to me and said, the doctor said your father ‘expired at such-and-such a time.’ I hugged my mom and told her that everything was going to be alright. I must say, I will never forget those words ‘expired’. How cold and insensitive those words were to me.”
My husband was working close to home at the time. The night his father collapsed, he noticed an ambulance as it urgently sped by, so he prayed for the person inside. He later learned that it was his own father that was inside that ambulance. An aneurysm was the cause of his father’s sudden death.
The crimson stain of sin.
Death, again and again.
This world, our lives, our all,
Touched and marred, by the fall.
We see it all around.
We hear the heartbreak sound.
And those who weep anew,
Remind us of this truth.
Cathy White 2016
Proverbs 27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Ecclesiastes 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.