“We have lost those we hold dearest. But we will endure the pain, for we have each other. Don’t we?”– King Jeongjo, The Red Sleeve
After healing from a few weeks of sickness, I received a message that my oldest sister had been taken to the hospital with a concussion after suffering a fall when she fainted at her church. I immediately packed my bags and left to be with my family in Maryland where I took on caregiver duties for a couple of weeks. Interestingly, every night when I laid down to sleep, I found myself thinking about eternity. I realized that I had stepped into that season of life where those you love begin to experience sickness or enter into the last leg of their life’s journey. This is something I knew would come eventually, and yet the process still humbles me.
I remember when my father was nearing the end of his journey. I visited him knowing full well that healing him was out of my control. However, I did what I could to be present with him in his suffering. Our moments and chats together proved to be precious and memorable. I deeply longed to hold on to the time we had left, but it flowed through my fingers like water. And now that my time in Maryland is soon coming to an end, I will return home to my regular duties and my on-going chase for life. Nevertheless, thoughts of eternity and the unknown still linger. Some days, sadness creeps in. But most days, I shake that off and dwell on the possibilities gifted me with every breath I take. Truly, life is beautiful, and we should look for ways of living it to the best of our abilities.
Today, my sister is recovering well. However, my mother continues to require much care. I share the realities of my life in hopes that you will be reminded to suffer well with those who suffer, to comfort those in pain, to care for those in need, and to be present in sickness and in health, in the good and the bad, for better or worse. I’m persuaded that those words are not only meant for a wedding ceremony, but for everyday life. These words are like a roadmap, a manual, or perhaps a compass showing us how to live life well for ourselves as well as with and for others.
4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. – 2 Corinthians 5:4-5 (NIV)