Thursday, August 07, 2008

Having a Kathy-like Faith

“Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

I think of these words penned by the psalmist as words of both pain and cure. For whatever reason the tears, he realized that come the morning there would be joy. This is a concept that for most of us in this day and age seems foreign. I'll be one of the first to say that whatever may have me weeping, I will most likely be dealing with it for more than just a night. I think that it seems, notice I said seems, that there are very few things in life that can be healed over night, that with a good night's sleep the rejoicing will come. There are a pile of examples and I probably don't need to list any of them because there have been some that have already come to mind while you have read this.

I'm going to share an experience where this has been the case for me, it will seem like I'm back on my death kick again, but let's just say that the story here only sounds that way until the end. I have several women friends, all of them past the beginning of their social security applying age. It dawned on me the other day that only one of the three of them has a child. Some would say that alone causes the joy in the morning. I don't think that all of them would agree though. Each of them are facing hard times right now, physically, each of them have come to the point where something isn't working like it used to...wait, I'm not talking about me here. Guess that starts at different times for different people.

One of my, “girlfriends,” as I'm want to call them gave me a ring at work the other day and covered a little business with me and then asked me some questions about her casket spray. I have no idea of her age, frankly, don't really care. I know that she has no family, only adopted family. She asked me if it was possible to add water to the spray. I told her it could be done, she wanted to know if I would move it to the church after the service, I told her to speak to her funeral director about that, but they probably would. I told her that she would most likely bury me, so she didn't really need to worry about such things. There was no change of tone in her voice, she was still what I would call a bit merry while talking about this. “Oh, I don't know about that Dear Heart,” I love it when she calls me that. “I don't plan on lasting that long.” She proceeded to tell me that she had had a mastectomy recently, that the doctor told her that her cancer was fast growing and that she didn't think that it would be wise for her to go through chemotherapy or radiation. She also told her that there may not be any pain really, she would do like so many and go to sleep and not wake up.

My Aunt Grace who lived to be over a hundred used to say that she wanted to go to bed and wake up hearing harp music, it didn't work out quite that way, but close. I suppose that it is our desire if we really think about it, we don't want to suffer, we don't want to have to go through toxic treatments and then have to recover from those, but if we think that doing so will add years to our lives and they more often do than don't these days, we tend to rethink being repaired that way. Kathy doesn't want to do that and she's been advised not to, so like she said, “I trust the doctor.”

Still with a merry voice she said, “so Dear Heart, I don't have any plans to outlast you. In fact, I'm looking forward to being in the presence of my maker, I want to be with my husband, we had a good 58 year run and I miss being with him. It really does sound good to me.”
When we got off of the phone, I cried. Frankly, I'm not ready to let go of her, I'm not ready to let go of any of my girlfriends, nor am I ready to let loose of anyone else. Selfish as that may sound. I don't want my life to change in that way.

My life changed when my friends Doug, Clarissa and several others passed from life to eternal life and there are holes in my life where they used to fit. There are no more Clarissa kisses, which means that I haven't had deep plum lipstick on top of my head for a couple of years now. Doug will be gone 10 years this year and I miss him. There are those in my family who have left several holes, my father being the biggest one and several that have been left by my aunts and grandparents. We really don't plan of these things happening, but know that they will at some point or another.

After talking to Kathy I thought about this line from the psalms, I wondered if she had thought about that very line when she received her diagnosis. Did she cry for a night only to wake knowing that her joy was coming. Now I admire her faith, knowing that she is, “going to meet her maker,” as she said, is a joyful thing. I felt a bit of shame when I thought of the line that I have said time and again, “If heaven is what we are told that it is, (I believe that it is,) then why aren't we running to it?” When I said this to a friend recently he had a simple response that is very poignant, “who says we aren't?” Good point.

So it sounds to me that Kathy has accepted the words of Psalm 30, “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Frankly, that's faith.