My friend Terri is dying. She knows this and is facing it head on. She told me she is only being practical but I see her as being courageous. As the cancer that silently crept into her body began to grow and take over, the doctors that had given her five years in July conceded it was now only weeks. We know that God is the Author and finisher of our faith, the I AM of life and death, yet realistically, which is how Terri prefers to see things, the cancer is taking new territory, and these bodies, made of fragile, corruptible flesh, have only so much fight in them. I’ve seen it as a nurse over and over. It’s altogether different when it’s a friend, a sister in Christ.
I don’t know how many days any of us have here on earth. My own cancer diagnosis three years ago keeps me humble, and hopefully helps me retain an edge, a reminder of how life truly is “but a vapor”. It was nearly ten years ago Terri was showing up at my house, taking me for rides, listening to me not make much sense, as the grief from losing my son began to pummel me and tear me down. Her husband Scott worked with Spence, and patiently showed him how to be a good carpenter. He and Terri were there for me, more than I’m sure they realized, stepping into my dark, confused world of pain.
I feel awkward in Terri’s world, like there’s a place she can climb into that I can’t quite fit. As much as I have thought of heaven and my own home-coming some day, I realize that this is a place only Jesus can fit into with us. But still I want to be close by and so do many people who love Terri and her family. I pretend I am of some value because I’m a nurse but I feel more competent making tea for her. Yet I know God Himself is in Terri’s home right now, throwing grace upon our awkwardness, comfort over fear and His strength for Terri and her family as they face each day. We are pilgrims; we are reminded this is NOT our home. But I thank God for His love, His family and the mystery of His sovereign will that allows us to know we are not alone, ever. And thank you Terri, for showing me that the way home is practical, paved with grace.