Friday, May 5, 2017

I don't want to die

I don't want to die.

For at least several weeks now, these words have been circling my mind, bouncing off the inside of my head, consuming my thoughts. 

I imagine that few of us really want to die. Our instinct is to seek our own safety, to preserve ourselves. Notice how we naturally duck when we think something may hit us, or how we jump out of harm's way if we perceive danger. When receiving a frightening diagnosis from the doctor, we immediately seek hope for healing. We pursue treatments, despite their being unpleasant. We are wired to seek hope, to live.

I don't want to die.

How many of us think about death? I guess we all know that we must pass through those waters eventually, but at least I know it will be sometime in the future. Whenever my children may ask about my dying, for example, I respond that we all must die, but chances are we won't die today. With some exceptions, I suppose, few of us know the day we will die, let alone the method. 

As children, we dream of living to a ripe old age. We don't dream of a life cut too short by death. Whenever we hear of someone wishing to die, we immediately and instinctively know that something is amiss. Perhaps there is suffering so that death is perceived as an escape. Perhaps there is some kind of psychological trouble or illness. Whatever the reason, we all know that wanting to die isn't the norm.

I don't want to die.

And yet, today, I must.

Several weeks ago, I received a message from a friend considering adoption. It's not uncommon for people to reach out to me to ask questions, so we began a dialogue. Our conversation covered several things, but in one message, I left her with these words: "Adoption requires death, and part of that death needs to be ours."

Oh, how easy to say those words and how very hard to live them.

What a hypocrite I am.

I simply don’t want to die. I want things to go my way. I want an orderly day with children who love one other and enjoy learning. I want a husband who meets every need I have. I want a supportive family and a circle of friends who know just how to see things my way and love me as I am.

I don’t want to die.

And yet, today, I must.

Ok, maybe tomorrow, but not today. I’ll die tomorrow, when I’ve had enough sleep, or when my needs have been met, or when I’m better prepared.

Tomorrow, I’ll be willing to navigate the messy relationship or comfort the grieving child. Tomorrow, I’ll pick up the laundry that should have found the basket and smile lovingly when my child asks the same question for the umpteenth time. Tomorrow, I’ll hold close the screaming, defiant child and whisper soothing words in her ear.

Maybe next week I’ll have the compassion to explain why my kids can’t see their first mom and why they are “stuck” with me or why they can’t just leave my house and find another mom. Perhaps on Thursday, after my alone time, I’ll eagerly clean my messy home and prepare a three course meal for my husband (and smile sweetly when at least one child complains). Later, I’ll really mean it when I respond to “I’m running away” with “But I would miss you so!”

But not today. Please not today. Today, I don’t want to die.

I don’t want to let go of my frustration at the thousands of dollars my child’s curiosity just cost us. I prefer irritation at the broken ceiling fixture or the clogged sink drain both caused by my children’s meddling. I’d rather express my displeasure at my husband’s handling of a situation. Nope, today I’d just rather not die.

And yet, today, I must.

I’m not the only one who pleaded with God to remove His calling of death on my life. Jesus did the same in the Garden: “If it be Your will, Father, remove this cup from me.”

If it be Your will.

Not my will, but Yours be done.

Oh, how grateful I am that Jesus submitted to His Father’s will. Because of His death, I have life.

So, today I will die. I will die by choice, and I will die by grace. I will die because Jesus died for me.

When my children argue, I will choose to walk the road of compassion rather than irritation. When they complain or defy, I will be firm and loving. When my husband is late coming home, I will graciously greet him at the door and listen as he recounts his day. When I encounter an unexpected conflict, I will respond with grace and flexibility. 

And tomorrow, when I awake, I will again choose death.

I will die because death brings forth life. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone. But, if it dies, it bears much fruit (John 12:24).

I will die so that Christ may live through me (Gal. 2:20).

I will die, because only then can I truly live.

Lord, help me today to die.

1 comment:

  1. Lia, this is so true. The path to real life leads through the doorway of temporal death and every inch of our fleshy resists. But I've found that with each death we rise to richer, healthier real life in Christ (Col. 3:3). Thanks for sharing, and I pray this blesses many others!