I love spending time in the presence of Karen, the guys, family, friends, co-workers, my church etc…! I am so thankful for it each day. I want it to continue. The problem is that we live on this earth and everyone dies at some point-whether it be from cancer, another deadly disease or just old age. I was in the waiting room today with 95 year old patient and a 98 year old patient. When it was decided that things were getting a little too busy in that area of the hospital, can you guess who they sent to the other side of the hospital for his procedure. You guessed right, this 42 year old had to walk down to another area to get taken care of. I didn’t mind at all and just looked back at the two of them in amazement. If I lived as long as them I wouldn’t even be at the half way point yet. Can you imagine how many more blog entries I could get out over those years?
When you are given a terminal diagnosis, you are forced to come face to face with…”What happens after this life is over?” Suddenly you are given a new perspective on this life. No longer do you take those moments that you get to spend with loved one’s for granted, instead you cherish each second of it. Each and every hug means so much more.
I remember a little over two years ago, my roommate in the hospital was dying. His name was Jim LeBlanc and I would guess he was in his early 60’s. He had stage 4 colon cancer, chemo was not working and it only made him sicker-that is how he ended up in the bed next to me. A hospice nurse came into review things with his wife Sandy and the rest of his family. They decided that going home with Hospice care was the thing to do vs. trying to do anything more to fight the disease. After they all left room, Jim and I talked for a little bit. He was concerned about me and my young family. He told me he hoped that I would never have to face the hard choice that they just had to make. We talked about Twins baseball and drinking Corona’s with limes in them-it was one of his favorite treats in life. The day before he was supposed to leave the hospital the Chaplin came to visit with him. Jim was a christian but was still scared when e thought about his own mortality. I was blessed to be able to listen from my side of the curtain. Here is a summary of their conversation…
The Chaplin asked, “Do you believe that there was a man who walked the face of the earth and his name was Jesus?” Jim said that he did. Next the Chaplin asked, “Do you believe that Jesus was the son of God?” Jim said he agreed with that too. Then He asked Jim, “Do you believe that Jesus can forgive our sins?” Jim said that he did. Lastly he asked Jim, “Do you believe that Jesus is still alive and in Heaven right now?” Jim said that He did. In that short conversation the Chaplin had pointed out what the whole bible is really all about and that there was nothing to worry about when it comes to “What happens next?”. It all came down to John 3:16 and Jim was at peace as he left the hospital the next day. I haven’t spoken to him since. The doctors told Jim that he would live another 9 months and would have plenty of time to enjoy a few more Corona’s. Jim died just 4 days later. I wasn’t even released from the hospital for about 10 more days after that conversation. I called his house a few weeks later and found out from his wife what had happened. I know his son Eric was with him when he died and that Jim was at peace.
So I again ask you individually-what do you believe? I know you know what I believe. None of our tomorrows are guaranteed. I continue to pray and cry out to God for my complete healing. But I am at peace when I think ahead to what it will be like to spend eternity in the presence of Karen, the guys, my family and friends and all the rest of you who would like to join the party. As Brenden or Jaxson pointed out, “Eternity is like millions and millions of years”.