Ten years ago I lost my mother to cancer. Heidi and I went out to visit her grave yesterday as a way to honor her life on Mother’s Day. As we walked through the cemetery, we talked about her death and other losses in our lives. At one point, I acknowledged to Heidi that I still have so many questions for Mom and perhaps in heaven I’ll be able to ask them. Heidi's wise reply: “I don’t think you'll need to ask those questions then.”
It reminded me of a dream I had soon after Mom died. I was in the garage at the house I grew up in, looking out on the driveway. But it was no driveway; it was now an ocean with the shoreline just outside the garage. As I gazed at the water, I noticed something striking. A head was gradually appearing above the surface and moving toward the shore. As the face became clear, I realized it was Mom, walking on the ocean floor, heading straight toward me. When the water became waist deep around her, I saw something else striking. It was the radiance in her face, the glow in her smile. She didn’t say anything to me. She didn’t need to. I knew she was OK. After I awoke, I recalled the well-known use of water as a image of death and the journey to heaven requiring a passage over and through that water. I knew it was the Father reminding me that she had made it across and was OK.
We didn’t stay long at the cemetery yesterday. My mother didn’t like to be doted over anyway, as my sister later reminded me. Mom was the quintessential servant. One of her last comments a few days before she died was so telling: “Did everyone have enough for breakfast?” And this from a woman who didn't eat the last two weeks of her life! Amazing.
Driving home I felt other griefs in my life, those I have lost to death and things my heart has lost in life. It seems that this life now requires another passage, a continual one through grief.
But not forever.
“Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). These six words of the victorious Jesus are the pledge of newness coming, a world where the stain of sin and the grime of shame has been scrubbed off, where the goodness of all things radiates and glows. It is His Kingdom coming in all its fullness. It’s something worth giving our lives for now. It’s the only thing worth giving our lives for now. So whatever losses you are feeling today, know that true life is coming. Be comforted in that and give yourself for His Kingdom. You'll never regret it.
And when that Kingdom comes, I’ll find the mother I lost, and see her radiant smile once again. Thank you, Mom, for all you gave. I love you more than ever.