Haven't posted for a few days I know, and sorry about that. I have been incredibly busy. First of all, I want to wish everyone a very happy Easter. I hope it has been good for you all, and that you've all had a lovely time.
After church this morning, I spent most of today at a cousins house with lots of family. It was lovely. It was also sad. My aunt, my mother's only living sister, has pancreatic cancer. Her other sister passed away years ago, she was only 33 at the time. So young. Anyway, in case you aren't aware, pancreatic cancer is the worst kind you can get. Painful, unrelenting, and virtually impossible to treat. To my knowledge, in just about every case, it is terminal. It's just a matter of time, and the timing is not usually long. My family - like many other families I would think - don't tend to discuss these things very openly. The information is supposed to be 'hush-hush', but inevitably, it makes it's way around the grapevine so that everyone eventually knows: We don't think my aunty will make it to Christmas.
Another aunt of mine has breast cancer. I am not supposed to know this. But I do. Grapevine. And yet another aunt, has breast cancer recurring. Again, I am not supposed to know. The prognosis of one is good I am told....they caught it early. Of the other, I have no idea.
One of my nephews also has a terminal illness. He is only about 15 months old, and he too is likely to die sometime around Christmas. His older sister has already passed away, having been born with the same condition. Christmas eve 2008, she died. After she died, another little nephew was born....with Down Syndrome. Nobody was expecting this. The scans did not pick it up. And of course recently, we have found out that my own son has Autism.
In recent years - the last 3 or 4 - I have seen the death of an uncle, his son (obviously my cousin), my niece, my grandmother. My cousin was only 28 when he died. My niece did not make it to her 2nd birthday.
Death and disease is all around me. I feel like it has been around here for a while now. These past 3 years or so have been aweful. Just aweful. It has been one thing after another. And just when we think it couldn't get any worse, something else comes along....another person struck with an illness or disorder of some sort. Or worse in some cases.
I have never been so close with death in all my life. It makes me think of times gone, when medical technology was nowhere near as good as it is today. When so many many children died, and so many women died in childbirth. When so many men died through accidents at work - on the farm, with the cattle, in the mines, in the fields. When so many people died from diseases that we treat so easily today. People back then were alot more familiar with death I think. I don't know whether that made dealing with it any easier. I would tend to think they were just alot more sober about it. Death is a fact of life. Unavoidable. It comes for all of us at some point.
But all of what has been happening in my family recently, has brought me to realise just how fragile and how brief life is. In one second.....one second....everything can change. The things I stress over....are they really worth it? When I come to the end of my life - which could be tomorrow - what will I have to present to my God that is of any value at all? What do I have that lasts? - Nothing. What have I done that will stand the test of time?
That is the question isn't it.
It makes me see....nothing matters here really. Eternity matters more.
That doesn't mean I should just bum around and not bother to further myself or build for my family. It just means I should put things into perspective more often. For example, I want to buy a house, and I feel depressed sometimes that I can't afford to do so right now. Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things? No. I can't take a lovely big house with me when I die. Neither can my children. Or their children. But it doesn't mean I shouldn't aim for one while I'm here. Worth the effort, for sure. But not worth stressing over. Can you see my point?
The bible tells me this:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal...." (insurance for these things is so costly isn't it?) "...But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
There is nothing wrong with setting ourselves up for a good life here. The bible also tells me not to be lazy, and to enjoy and take pride in the results of my labour. But in the grand scheme of things, this is all nothing. Eternity matters more.
People around me - people I love - are dying. Life is so, so short. When I look back on my life, I want it to matter. If everything I have just burns, what will I have left to present to God? What have I done for Him, after he died for me - to make eternity matter for me? Everything I gather on this earth will go, and I can't work my way into heaven. I am certainly not perfect. But He saved me anyway! That is grace. Even now that I'm saved, I'm still not perfect (seriously, far from it). But all He calls me to do is believe in Him and accept Him. To love Him, and love others.
Bottom line for me is this: that God has my heart - and my treasure - and that my children grow up to love and follow Him too. Because in the grand scheme of things, eternity matters more.