During church today, I found myself looking around at everyone and thinking -- I am one of a very few who has held death inside of her.
I wonder if that is a gift.
Here's what I mean: I used to be afraid of death. Although I believed in God, in the saving work of Jesus, I was not altogether sure if Heaven was a place I wanted to be. If God was more loving than angry. I believed in life after death, but my view of it was gray and cloudy, and I was afraid to investigate my beliefs on it further.
When my daughter died inside of me, I was forced to consider death, and life after death, more carefully.
Here is what I decided: death is horrible. Death was never meant to be. God did not create death, but He did defeat it. That in turn made Him able to offer us Life -- here, and after death. The Life He offers in life and the Life He offers in death are of equal importance. We are not made to wait for Life later, but can accept it and enjoy it now.
As for Heaven -- well, I still don't know much about it. I can't, because there's not much said of it in the Bible, other than that it is different, and that it is good. When Eve first died, a lot of people offered me their ideas of what Heaven would be like, how Eve would be when I saw her again. At first I wondered if I'd see her again at all, and if it mattered. After all, if she is with God, complete, then I am satisfied.
But before too long I realized that I do want to see her again -- I want it deeply. In thinking about this, I came to another realization -- that God values relationship. He prioritizes it above all else. More than anything He wants to simply be with us, and to love us, and to have us love Him in return.
This makes me wonder -- would the God who values relationship above all else erase relationships from our hearts once we die? This doesn't make sense to me at all. So I have slowly come to the conclusion that after we die we will have relationship with our loved ones, and even the other people in Heaven with us. Although I have no doubt that those relationships will be far different from what they were here on earth, I can't believe that God would ever throw away love, because He is love.
Of course, this is all the result of my own musings. It is not drawn from scripture because, as I said, there are no scriptures that really describe what we can expect in Heaven. But I know that we can expect God. And if God is love . . . well, you get the picture. I will live in hope that I will see the people I love here when we get there.
Here is the gift of carrying death: that I am no longer afraid of death, but long to go Home, and that I think Heaven is a place worth being.
In my mind, this is Heaven: to stand shoulder to shoulder with my husband, our daughter, and all the rest of our brothers and sisters in worship of the One who puts all things right.
I bet I'm wrong. I bet it's even better than that.