Two years. 730 days. Days that I’ve cried. And healed. And moved on. Both literally and figuratively. I’ve had friends ask if we would have moved here if Shawna was never diagnosed. If the cancer didn’t win. I would like to say yes. She would have pushed me to. She would have told me I would be crazy not to.
This photo was taken after a seven hour marathon next to a Scottsdale pool. Followed by dinner. And then a hot tub too hot to actually sit in. She made fun of my hot tub dance and I danced anyway.
She ran into heaven 730 days ago yesterday. And I’ve thought of her every day since. Yesterday, I had my own marathon in the sun. At a Hawaiian beach. In the company of my incredible husband and good friends. So thankful for a change of scenery. And the Coronas at arm’s reach.
I remembered her. Celebrated our friendship. Still grieving the loss of it. And still clinging to the memories.
Cheers, little pea, I said. Until heaven.
And the normal journey of grief played out. I was fine all day. Until I wasn’t. I woke up this morning heavy with the memories of what transpired. How her story played out. The waves of grief are tricky. One moment the sea is calm. And clear. With fish swimming at your feet and whales breeching on the horizon line. (That’s exactly how yesterday looked.) The next minute, the sky darkens and the sea becomes stormy. That was this morning.
And then His Spirit whispered. Get her journals. Read on this day.
So I did. And in her handwriting, I read these words:
“For me to live is Christ … to die is gain.”
Psalm 104:29, Ecc. 12:7
She wrote Psalm 104:29. You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. He had me read further. You send forth Your Spirit, they are created. May the glory of the LORD endure forever. May the LORD rejoice in His works. In Genesis, at the end of His six days of creativity, God saw everything He had made. And indeed, it was very good. He rejoiced in His works. He still rejoices in His works. All of them. And through them, His glory endures.
And then I read this piece of Matthew Henry’s commentary on Psalm 104:
He is to be praised. (1) As a great God and a God of matchless perfection. The glory of the LORD shall endure forever, v. 31. It shall endure to the end of time in His works of creation and providence; it shall endure to eternity in the felicity and adorations of saints and angels. Man’s glory is fading; God’s glory is everlasting. (2) As a gracious God: the LORD shall rejoice in all His works. … We often do that which, upon review, we cannot rejoice in, but are displeased at, and wish undone again. But God always rejoices in His words, because they are all done in wisdom.
Taking away breath. Sending forth Spirit and giving life. It’s all done in wisdom. And He rejoices in it all.
LORD help me to rejoice in it with You. Help me to see it as YOU see it.
I turned back to her journal:
If you’re alive, it’s not because God owes you that. It’s a gift. God gave you life. I’m alive today because God gave me breath. He gave me life.
When we cease to breathe, it’s because we’ve finished our work.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the LORD, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
– 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Then I heard a voice from heaving saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the LORD from now on.'” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”
– Revelation 14:13
Nobody dies early.
It’s a surrendering of our spirit to the LORD. Not a moment too early, not a moment too late.
John 8. Before Abraham was, I AM. You don’t see death. Jesus comes to get you. Always a smile, a breath, and they’re gone. Some how, some way, we don’t see death. God – an Angel, Jesus – comes to get us just before death.
Are you afraid of death? You’re saying that you think you’re smarter than God. That you know better.
1 Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart or mind of man, the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
H E A V E N
Psalm 80:14 • Psalm 102:19 • John 6:33, 38, 41, 42 • Luke 18:13
Heaven is up. Earth is below. Heaven is better. (1 Corinthians 13:12) “For now we see as in a mirror dimly, but then, face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am known.”
Shawna was listening to a sermon by an unnamed pastor in Texas. The day before, she had been wrestling with the next step in her treatment and the dreams filling her sleep.
What a gift. To read her own handwriting. And to still have her teach me. To know that she knows just as she is known. Face to face. And He is rejoicing in His works. Because He sees the beginning and the end. He sees the glory in it all. And is beginning to allow me to see it as well. Dimly. But dim glory is better than no glory at all.