Posted: August 9, 2013 in From Me To You, Opinion

I Miss YouHaving lived my life in the condition of a young person, I have been unabashedly excited for what my future might hold. I’ve thought about what kind of career(s) I might have, what kind of a family I might have, what kind of a lifestyle I might live, etc. Everything that is enjoyable until the daydream shatters, everything that seems right before you until you wake up, that’s been my life. I’ve been called a dreamer a few times, though I wouldn’t necessarily use that term on myself. But one thing that normally escapes my dreams is the reality that is this life. Sometimes it seems to have a way of sneaking into the young person’s mind only when they think their life is going well, with few bumps on the road before them. But when it comes, what force it brings with it!

“Youth is wasted on the young.” I have not heard that old saying in some time now, but it bears repeating every now and then. My youth has been wasted on me. My appreciation of my family has been wasted on me. My years at home were not filled with outward love as it should have been. Oh, what pain there is in life! What a tragedy it is that I didn’t spend more time with my mother and father, with my brothers, with my grandmothers, with all those around me who loved me. When I think of my past, some of the dominating memories are those in which I was hateful. Some of these memories had me enacting violence on those who gave up so much of their lives to give me a home, to give me food, to give me joy and laughter. And now some of them are gone.

My grandmother died two years ago now, this month. It was sudden and completely unexpected. When we finally arrived at the hospital for her last few hours, she was already lost to darkness. It gave my father nothing but another void, with his father gone so many years before. I can’t imagine some of the times he has had and will yet have this month. I know that it’s hard for me right now, and she wasn’t even my mom. My other grandmother has been in a nursing home for years now, also alone. As such, I believe that my mother grew closer to my father’s mom than otherwise would have happened. My mom was with her that night and called us into the hospital. I still remember the look of despair that was on her face that early morning, blaming herself for not being able to do more. This whole flood of memories is filling my eyes with tears as I write these words.

The six months to a year that followed were filled with a lot of tedious work — going through possessions, getting the house ready for sale, etc. In that time, I began to realize just how silly we are as a race. We accumulate wealth, we bicker over who gets what when someone dies, and there is a whole host of other things that are exposed in our hearts. And then there are those like my mother who fill in that void, who step in to do the time-consuming work, doing what needs to be done. She was such a trooper! I love my mother dearly!

Then when you think it is all over, something else comes in. Thoughts and discussions of what will happen when your parents die? Those come into the picture. I am one generation closer to death. And death brings so much pain, to everyone who is around. I despise the day that comes when my mother or my father is the one on that hospital bed. I hate to think of the pain that I will see in my own heart and in the hearts of others when we stand by my father, or by my mother, as they lay in front of us motionless on the sterile sheets, motionless were it not for the respirator artificially keeping their body flowing with oxygen. I will have to look in my brother’s eyes as he stands next to me, hearing the soft sobs as they come from his and others’ lips. And then I will realize that it is not only their wail of pain but mine! . . . and then I will see just how much my mother or father was loved.

As the writer of Ecclesiastes says, “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” The things in life are truly so meaningless. They matter not without the love that fills our homes. They matter not without the relationships among family and friends. They matter not without a living, fluid relationship with God!

And so here I am, worrying about myself when it is others I should consider. Seeing the pain in my heart when there is equal pain in others’.

It may sound strange, but I have prayed that my wife would die before me. I am not yet married, but I have prayed it all the same. It may sound odd to many of you reading this right now, but there is a plain and simple reason for it. One of the few selfless things I have done in my life, I pray on a regular basis that she would die before me so that she would be spared the pain of my passing. I want her last thoughts on this earth to be free from the planning and the preparation and the tediousness of life without me. I pray that my heart is the one to bear that pain, not hers. Instead of sadness, she will be experiencing joy in the presence of her King.

And so ends my post, with the request that you pause wherever you are and think about your life. What are you doing with your love? Are you purposefully placing your love where it matters? Are you looking to make life better for your spouse and your children? Or are you subconsciously taking the extra time out of your day to satisfy that carnal craving — that video game or that movie, the lusts of the flesh? I have not been good about putting my love where it counts, but I want to do better. In most cases, true loneliness comes not from the lack of others’ love for you — it comes from the lack of your love for others. With love comes action. We in the western Christian modernity deny that so often. I want to do better.

I miss you, grandma.


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