Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Treasures beyond our wildest imagination… shine brightly from the pages of God word. I am thirsty and starving. And have found sustenance in the promises of His words.
This scripture invites us to the table, to a feast of promises (gifts graciously given… as the literal Greek would have it translated). May I be found faithful to “to stir up” and never “neglect” a divinely appointed “meeting.” May I be found living out the purpose of each moment, whether it be writing here or caring for my family in the menial tasks as it were. May I be found “encouraging” others.
Friends the “day” approaches, and I need to share here, I am looking forward to it. There was a time, not so long ago, that I feared what death would take, both in my own personal life and the lives of my family. I stand before you now, having tasted heaven. This happened 14 months, 6 days, 17 hours and a handful of minutes ago. The last day I spent at my beloved husband’s side. It would be hard to paint the picture here. I lack the proper tools and artist’s training to do these moments justice. In my finite humanity, I will only scratch the surface, as I am compelled to try.
It was a long and a very short day. Dozens of emotions, ebbed and flowed like the ocean’s tide, in their unpredictability. The room was dim, yet it seemed so bright. A few of our closest friends remained there with us. Chris had just gotten out of bed, I was concerned as his footing was not too stable. So, I stood near by… saying something like, “perhaps you should rest.” To which he answered, “honey, it is ok, I am ok,” with determination, it seemed he had things to do. (My first glimpse of heave, as he shared his assurance that it was ok… and also that I would be ok.) He began to take steps forward, and I moved in to steady him, asking him what he was up to, to which he stated, “I am dancing.” This was a man who’d never had that kind of inclination, ever. (I thought ballroom dancing lessons woild be fun once… yep… that didn’t happen 🙂 ). He was, dancing with me. ( My second glimps of heaven, dancing, he had a joy inside, and wanted to express it physically. And asked me to join him. Profound in that I see he needed to know I would be a part of his celebration.) It seemed like a long time, but really a few, precious moments. This was around 12 hours before he passed away. Death was lingering in the shadows after this, but I was earnestly gleening, like Ruth in Boaz’s fields, the last of the harvest of memories. So, I whispered in his ear, knowing he could hear me, though heaven was competing for his attention. It told him I loved him and that Jesus loved him… and… to my surprise… he answered me… saying, “I know, and He’s telling me lots of things.” Aw… heaven, it was a close as Chris’s hand in mine. (Another glimpse, through Chris’s eyes, of heaven. Jesus was speaking to him.) No, I never saw it… but it was there. The “day” had not just approached, but was right there, lingering. After everyone left, I curled up in that tiny hospice bed next to him. Two dear friends acted as earthly angels, nursing us both… physically and spiritually. I remember music playing softly and quiet coming and going. My hand in his, I slept for a few hours. Something woke me, and I am sure it was God. Not words… but this was whispered to my spirit… “it is time to let him go.” I didn’t fight it… I got up and sat at his side, alone just us and Jesus. I whispered in his ear, “Jesus loves you… it is ok… go to Him.” Or something like that. I filled my eyes, for an hour, with every curve and feature of his face. It was never contorted, or unnatural… but peaceful. At 6:15 that morning, the sun was just painting the sky bright pink, and Chris breathed his last breath here and his first in heaven. There was peace in the turmoil and aching heart. (Another glimpse of heaven.)
I knew heaven was real and a deep longing grew inside me, for heaven. Yes, partly because Chris was there now and I missed him… but even more the longing was for Jesus, to be held and to behold his love. This has grown day by day. Death no longer frightens me and heaven is very close, not way up in the clouds somewhere. But it lingers over my home, like the shelter and shadow of the wings the Psalmist speaks of. And as this scripture I began with states, “encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I pray I am found faithfully doing just this, as my beloved husband did for me, even unto his death.