while coming to the end of a section about his uncle’s death in Donald Miller‘s book, “A Million Miles…,” i found myself sincerely wanting more. please. continue talking about death.
what in the world? may be your swift reply. here’s the deal.
almost two years ago, i started losing ppl close to me. first a co-worker, then (the next day) a grandmother (not blood but the kind you grow up with and hold dear in that way) and then last year, about a month apart, a prayer partner and then a former dormitory dean. the only death i was “ready” for was my grandmother’s. we visited her the Christmas before, knowing that we may not see her alive again. she was old, had lived a good, long life. it was “okay” for her to go. but not the others. especially not the first.
he was young, could have been my brother. i don’t know what it’s like to lose a child but to lose someone younger than you is quite unreal. and to lose someone so close to God…downright cruel. my prayer partner was also so close to God. every prayer was bathed in the knowledge, the unshaken faith that God will make it alright, somehow. she wasn’t afraid to wrestle, to beg for clarity. she knew God could take it. and my dean. in addition to being close to God, she saw the best in ppl, gave me the most wonderfully ridiculous recommendation to a future supervisor. and she was also unafraid to speak truth, to correct error in love. she did that for me. she did that for so many.
car crash. natural causes. car crash. heart attack. that’s how they died. but how they lived was extraordinary and far more exciting. and as Miller spoke of his uncle, a man like my four ppl who should have been able to bless the world for so much longer, i wanted more of his life, more of his history. it was as if hearing about him helped me re-experience the lives of those i’ve loved and lost. even his funeral had my full attention. no, Miller’s way with words hasn’t simply manipulated my thinking. no. he is a great storyteller but, more than that, he’s speaking truth. death sucks. but the power of life is how it’s lived, not how it ends.
and so, in what i’ve affectionately named a season of death, i look out my office window at the bush that bloomed too early this spring due to abnormally warm temps, the bush that was in full bloom the day Matthew died. it now looks pathetic, very few pink flowers left. but when it was fully alive, ah! such a beautiful gift.
i desire such life. God-breathed. full. complete though temporally restricted. enough. and far beyond now b/c it’s lived with God.
may these become charted waters.