“Learned” might be too strong. It’s probably more accurate to say that I’m learning these things. But the truth is, I already knew them. I mean, if the questions were on a test I would get the right answer.
But I’m beginning to sense the truth of these things in a new way…deep in my soul.
This Easter has been an interesting one. First of all, my mom went into the hospital on Thursday morning. There were some problems with her most recent blood work which indicated a kidney problem. The good news is that it was an infection that was treatable with antibiotics. She came home Saturday and was able to attend the Easter service at church and our family gathering at my house on Sunday afternoon.
I mention her hospitalization because it gave a little more urgency to the discussion we’ve been having with my parents about selling their home and moving into some sort of “assisted living” arrangement. You see, my mom is really pretty healthy and active. She’s 81 years old and takes care of my 84 year old father. I don’t want to go into great detail here, but suffice it to say that he has great difficulty doing much of anything anymore. He requires assistance for the most mundane and intimate of tasks. This is frustrating to him and he becomes depressed because he senses this need increasing on an almost daily basis. My mother willingly and devotedly provides the care he needs, but she is also beginning to sense her limitations. When she went to the hospital for a couple of days, and my sisters and I attempted to fill in for her, it served to highlight the need for other assistance.
What I’m learning is that we all need “assisted living.”
There’s no such thing as unassisted living.
I’ve always known this to be true, and would’ve gotten the right answer on the test. But I’m beginning to know it in ways that I still have trouble describing.
You may think of yourself as independent.
Neither am I.
The other thing that is happening in me is that death is becoming more of a reality. This is happening for a couple of reasons. One is that I’m getting to the point in my life where, even if I live several years longer than the average lifespan for an American male (which I have every intention of doing), the number of years remaining represent a time span which I have no trouble comprehending. When you’re 20 years old the idea of living another 60-70 years seems like all the time in the world. You simply can’t grasp it. However, at age 62 the idea of living another 20-30 years is very “grasp-able.” My parents are 81 & 84. We’ve been discussing the needs they will have in the coming years. The time seems downright immediate.
The other reason death is becoming more of a reality is that I have acquaintances who are dealing right now with the thing that, in all likelihood, will cause their death. They know it and they can see it coming. They are younger than me. Much younger, in fact. One is a good friend of my daughter’s. You can talk about average lifespans all you want, but the averages don’t really mean anything. The fact is that death does not discriminate. Young or old, believer or unbeliever, black or white. It’s the one thing we all hold in common. We can all unite around this one fact: death is our common enemy. (1 Corinthians 15:25-26)
But here’s where Easter comes in. Death may be the enemy, but he is beaten. This is the assurance Christ gives. I’ve known this to be true since my earliest days growing up in church. To be honest, my faith in this has swung wildly over the years from strong, to non-existent, to shaky. But I would’ve always gotten the right answer on the test.
This Easter, it’s finally starting to become a truth deep in my soul.
I still hate death. It ruins everybody’s life. It sucks. (I never use that term, but I use it now. That’s how much I hate death!)
Death is the enemy, but its days are numbered.
That’s what this Easter is teaching me.