This particular week in July has brought the most mixed of feelings, especially for the last 22 years! Because, in this week each year, I commemorate both the passing of my mother (now 34 years ago and which was in close proximity to my revelation of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of a relationship with Him), with the birth of my first daughter (now 22 years ago). The events happened just a couple of days apart, July 16th and July 18th!
Time is flying at the speed of sound for me at this point, and is threatening to soon achieve the speed of light! It is one of the ironies of aging that the slower one is forced to go, the faster everything else seems to be going! But life is full of these challenges and ironies. How long the hours must have seemed, and how slowly those minutes in Gethsemane must have felt, right before the crucifixion! How long must those three days have seemed to the disciples! Likewise, the minutes before this daughter struggled into the world with a bit of help from me, on that beautiful, hot day in 1990, did seem to take much longer, in retrospect, than did the 18 years it took her to grow up and launch herself into the real world, mostly against my will! lol Of all the difficulties that parenting has produced, the "wrapping up" parts are the hardest for me so far. And so, as we have observed, is the "wrapping up parts" of "life" as we know it.
Two saints, with whom I was somewhat acquainted, who were each dear to my heart for reasons of my own, passed into eternity this past week. In pondering this fact I am reminded that this time of the year - which oddly coincides with a season which, in the Jewish world, is called "the straits" because typically it is when some of the most mournful of events have happened to their nation - the destruction of the Temple for one - seems a time of gathering in of souls. A time when departures seem more apt to occur. Last year on the same day as the passing of my mother a man at Synagogue lost his father too. I know that folks pass over every day, but there do seem to be times that more souls mysteriously seem to hold out for, for some as yet unknown reason. But that is just an observation of years on the planet, which may or may not mean something deeper.
Over the years Gene and I have pondered the similarities of the journey to and from this temporary piece of existence inaccurately called "life". This earthly existence is of course a part of "Life", and the one that controls most of our focus. But, whether our time here is long or short, it is not, as many people seem to think, constitute the "whole enchilada"! In fact, in proportion to eternity it is acvery brief interlude indeed! Life begins, for us humans, in this temporary realm of earth, at conception - with the joining of two microscopic cells - no one really knows what that "life" looked like before, or if it is created by G-d at that very moment - but if Scripture is to be believed, once it is brought into "being" at this place in time, once we become a "living, breathing, being", it never ends!
Oh yes, of course there is a cessation of "being" or existing in this realm which is called "death", and which is considered to be a cessation of "life", a termination or end of it. And also, there is an eternal separation from G-d, which is called the "second death", and which I understand to be the ultimate end of all that is good. However, being that the spirit of the one subjected to this "end" fully senses the blessing of it or the torment of it, depending on the choice made when here, then obviously that one has not ceased to "be". I am of course basing this observations on the testimonies of those who have gone on, and then for reasons beyond them, and by a power beyond them, have returned. Also I can base it on the parable which Yeshua told of the rich man and the poor man! According to this information it appears that at this time one simply transitions from the fleshly form to the spirit form. One must change plains of existence, but can not just cease being. I am not a well studied scientist, so that is the best I can do at any kind of explanation of this phenomena, but it is a beginning. Those who are well studied have said that matter can never disappear, so it all must go somewhere! Logically speaking. Therefore, this explanation satisfies my mind on what happens next, and the Scriptural accounts make sense to me.
However, as I said, we have pondered the many similarities of the transition in, and the transition out of this earthly realm! We have seen both be peacefully non-eventful, and both be violently dramatic! We have seen that for those who have prepared to receive, and for those have prepared to release, it is not as big a deal - though not without emotional upheaval and a drastic change of lifestyle in both cases! But the Grace is there to accept the changes and continue the journey, if one is sufficiently prepared for it! One is seen as an awakening into this world, usually kicking and screaming (which should give us a clue as to what to expect to encounter here!), and the other is a letting go, or a "going to sleep", to this world - sometimes also with kicking and screaming, but that is definitely not a good sign! As I said, it is those who are prepared the transition will handle either one in the best way possible.
Of course an infant can not be "prepared" to arrive, exactly. But I have seen that one whose arrival has been prepared for, one who has been well nourished in the womb and excitedly welcomed by adoring parents, fare much better than those who are considered some sort of blight or intrusion! They calm down and adjust to their new surroundings much sooner, they thrive and grow and develop more normally, and they seem more prepared and able to handle the difficulties that life will present them, with more efficiency and with less drama! So that is what I mean by that.
But, awakening from death to life is not about merely drawing breath in this earthly realm. It is ultimately about connecting with the creator that made life a possibility. It is about discovering and cultivating a relationship with the source of our being! It is a coming of age, a maturing, a development process, a transformation if you will, from a temporary, clueless, dull existence to a vibrantly alive sense of eternal being! It is a transition from the limited to the limitless! It is the adventure of a lifetime, and a much extended lifetime at that! But to have that transition there must be a dying of sorts. This "death" first happened when the sin virus infected the human race. Shortly after the beginning of time, when the man whom G-d had put in charge of things decided to use his free will to oppose his creator instead of choosing to embrace Him! However, since the Atonement of the Anointed One, which the "Christians" call "Christ" and the Jews call "Messiah", according to the languages of their creeds, we can now have our free will back if we want! And once again we can choose for ourselves. Our fates are not sealed. If we are born with a bent towards some kind of destruction, as in addictions for example, alcoholism or some sort of sexual perversion, or some sort of obsessive disorder, we are not just bound there! We can get free by His work of atonement. If we believe in Him, then sin is no longer an absolute.
But, you see, that is where the dying comes in. For us to believe in Him we must die to our own logic and understanding of "how things work" from our own point of view. Fortunately, I never really liked the "view" from where I was forced to spend most of my childhood, so it was not hard to give it up! Grasping the idea of a loving creator was grasping at hope for me! It was the first and closest thing to "good news" that I had ever encountered. It was like finding an oasis in the middle of a very hot, very extensive, seemingly endless desert! It was like finding a fruit tree in the middle of the Sahara! So very sweet, refreshing, and life giving! So to me, who felt so dead already, in so many ways, it was like living for the first time! But it is not so with everyone. Much to my amazement most people love this world! I really must say that I don't get it. But it seems to be true. People love its acclaim, its riches, its promises of what is glibly called The Good Life". But to me, if one is discussing a "life" outside of G-d then then that is a most illogical ox y-moron! For I am firmly convinced that there is no "life" worth having apart from Him! But to each his own! Whoever thinks that G-d is not pro-choice does not know Him, and has not read and understood His book! The objection for those who have read it, and have a most basic understanding, is that He does offer strong recommendations about what the best choice is, and information about what either choice will produce! Most find that too limiting!
But you see, ultimately there are only two real choices - whether you are discussing the abortion issue or whether or not to cheat on your income taxes or whether or not you should eat that third helping of desert or whether or not you should serve Him - the choice is, and always has been, Life or Death. All other "choices" are a mirage, and will vaporize once they have done the work of luring one away from Life! Life or death. Of course He wants us to choose Life! So the only real question is always the same one, "Will the choice you are getting ready to make draw you closer to Him or push you away from Him?". For, you see, He is the source of life, the originator of all living. As plants grow toward the light, so do we flourish best when pointed in His direction! He is light and life for us! These days, I wonder, in utter awe, at His willingness and ability to keep bringing life to beings who seem bent on throwing it away!
So, as I sit in the comfort of my home today, contemplating these things while being grateful! First of all, for my mother, whose brief struggle on this planet facilitated my coming into being. Then being deeply grateful for the ability to bear children! My fondest childhood hopes centered around being able to produce the loving family which I had been denied! However, that dream had died a violent death for me at the age of 15 - when I was told by my physician that I could not possibly ever bear children - due to extensive scarring which were some of the effects of severe sexual abuse from infancy on!
So, I am extremely grateful for my particular offspring! Each one is such a treasure of His ingenuity and creative genius! Each one has such a large piece of my heart! I am grateful that His Spirit has led me each step of the way, and that He has led me to "choose life" over and over again, though I was offered death, indeed, and nearly bullied into it daily, for years on end! I am thankful to be delivered from all the effects of that early and prolonged abuse! I am thankful to be married to a man that understands and lives with me gently, as is required because of the somewhat fragile person that I am. (Yes, I do hear that laughter! I know, to those who know me well I have become a warrior queen of fierce proportions, but there is also a fragility that he helps me protect - No one has to get it, its okay, really! lol)
I am grateful for a G-d that would look down on a severely abused, unwanted, crippled from birth and then emotionally finished off, terminally frightened child and make her into this warrior queen, with a small army of longed for - though said to be unobtainable - children! I wish that somehow, my poor, mentally and emotionally and physically afflicted mother could share in the joy and healing that G-d, through my children, has brought to me! Maybe in His mysterious ways she has? Who can know? I am grateful for the atonement of my Messiah, Yeshua! My salvation! My hope of life! My healing! My sanity! He is making us into His perfectly holy image! I can not adequately explain that one, but I can thank Him for it! I believe He can do anything! Why shouldn't I? He has certainly taken pains to prove Himself to me! As He did with those hard heads we read about from Genesis to Deuteronomy each year!
Why would He take such pains to prove Himself to us?! The only answer possible is that He loves us! Today as I sit here writing on my lap top. Free of pain, finally, mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually - free - period - I am grateful for that freedom. I am grateful for His tender love through the pain that was my "life". But mostly I am glad for a revelation of Him and His Life, and that He offered me "stock" in it, that He wrote me into His will, literally and figuratively! I am thankful that Yeshua gave His life in its entirety, so that I could share it when He took it up again! I am glad for the journey of life, and the sweetness that comes from traveling it with Him. I am glad that He is there from the beginning to the end, Alpha and Omega, Genesis to Revelation, cradle to grave! We who believe in Him have nothing to fear on either end! It amazes me that everyone doesn't want in on the deal. But in His love He has decreed that we must choose for ourselves. After all, who wants "robotic love"? So, I end with this, as a mother I have said it many time and in closing I find it appropriate to say it again,
"Bye honey! make good choices!" lol