You Have A Terminal Illness
(Mary Evelyn Heaton)
You have a terminal disease – how dreadful that pronouncement. When we or one of our loved ones hear these words, we all react with shock and disbelief. If in the case of a child or young person we say he never really had a chance at life. With a more mature person we say they had so much to live for. And we grieve – we speak in whispers or not at all about their illness. Sometimes when they are unaware, we look at them and our eyes fill with tears and our heart is wrenched at the thought of the loss of this one we love. Even people we don’t know, a public figure or movie star, we experience grief.
Are we so ignorant, brethren that we do not know that even as we were delivered into this world, the sentence of death hung over us all? I read frequently of people who are caring for their children whom doctors have pronounced terminally ill. If they are able to do so, they take them to see distant lands; they buy and do for them – crowding into the few months all the expectations of a lifetime. Love is showered down. Patience is unending; each day is lived to its fullest. Parents forgo other pleasures to make them happy.
Just so it is if it is a husband or wife. Reassurances of love and care. People themselves under such a pronouncement say, “I’ll live each day to its fullest. I will see things I’ve never seen before. I will try to deeply experience each facet of life.” Of course there are darker moments of giving up – rage of lost hope.
If one could realize as we all live from day to day, we are not assured more than the last breath we have drawn. What a pity we cannot enrich our lives each day with the joys God has given us. Why must we only react with such depth of love if we have been told “only a few months left?” Why do we get caught up in our daily life to the extent our values are warped. To leave unsaid things we may never have a chance to say. Feeling secure in the fact that we have years yet to live.
If I could say one thing before eternal silence, I would say, “Life is a terminal illness – live each day as under that sentence. Drink deeply of the beauty and joy of life, experience love, share your life. Above all, trust God in all he says. The poet writes:
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
Truly, as the Lord lives and as your soul lives, there is but a step between me and death
(1 Samuel 20:3)
Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am (Psalms 39:4)
And this is the promise that He has promised us–eternal life (1 John 2:25)