I found out today that one of my Mom’s best friends has Stage 4 terminal cancer. It’s not the sort of cancer where she will be dead tomorrow, but now… cause of death is known for when it happens. I wish not to be blase about this, but seeing as this is knowledge in advance of the death versus a sudden death, it’s strangely “easier” to deal with.
No, I’m not glad about it. No, she’s not in extreme pain or such. There are plenty of medications that she is on, and she just had brain surgery to relieve one of the tumors, but she’s still alive. She does have a great attitude about it, all things considering. I don’t think that it is less usual anymore for people to know in advance that they only have so long to live. I’m also a little surprised that I’m dealing with it as well as I am. Over the last seven years, there have been eight deaths. Some sudden, some not-as sudden. Call it preparation for part of what may lay ahead.
I’m also not scared about where she is going. It’s not trust in a dead religion. It’s that I know what needs to happen to “go to heaven.” It’s rather plainly spelled out in the doctrine of my Church and it’s not the effect of a frenzied mind that I believe it. It’s being true and knowing that there is more than life here. Life is more than simply the efforts of the natural creature eking out a living from point A to B. There’s a lot more to it than that. Lifting my head above that mess, there is a light and it is real.
It’s hard to think that there are people who refuse to believe in anything. Not sure whether that is selfishness in that they don’t want to follow anything outside of themselves and basic ethics of the land, or if it is a fear of responsibility once they figure out that there is a God. It’s not just some step in AA. Belief in a higher power is a fundamental principle of society- family is part of it, and without God (whatever religion, so long as it’s not Satanic) I don’t know how people make it from day-to-day.
Better said, denying God, I don’t know people survive. So much of my thinking, so much of my decision-making processes… you come to know who God is, and how He acts over time and experience, and see that He honestly leads you in better paths than you may choose for yourself. Good things or bad things… events change, but God does not.
So back to heaven and hell. Yes, both places exist. The fundamental core doctrines of Christianity agree to that. From there, I have an innate confidence born of testimony from God that there are certain things needed for returning to live with God, and I know that my friend is about as okay as you can get in this regard. There is so much confusion in the world which the gospel makes clear.
The rock solid base is that the truth is what it is, and the gospel is true. My friend and I discussed her death a little, but neither of us freaked out about it. You freak out when you don’t know either a) where people may go after mortality is over, or b) when you really don’t know where you stand before God. Is she Polly Perfect? Nope. Is she working hard, has her heart in the right place, and trying her utmost to be the person that God wants her to be? Yep.
For all of the philosophizing away that many people try to do, God exists. He loves us (His children), and there’s nothing that other people try to say or do that changes that. It doesn’t make His children unaccountable, and it doesn’t eliminate need for grace and for personal righteousness. There are more tools in the bag, and a better chance of having the right tool at the right time. That’s what religion does. Things work better when there is functioning religion centered in Jesus Christ. I like people from all the faiths encountered to this point who wish to be good people, and I treasure truth more than life.
So that’s what matters. Friends who are family, and understanding each of our fundamental roles in the various aspects of life.
Hoping for goodness and blessings,