My mother-in-law dropped off a large floral arrangement at
our house earlier this week. My husband’s grandma passed away last week and
knowing how much I love fresh flowers, she thought that I would enjoy having
them in our home.
overwhelming aroma of lilies. Did you know that the lily is the most commonly
used flower at funerals? Their smell
carried through our entire house; their smell was fragrant, clean, vibrant….
And horrible. Whenever I smell a lily, my heart is swarmed with pain and grief.
Its memory it etched in my soul forever and it’s something I will never forget.
privilege of walking hundreds of people through their death. The transition
from treatment to the process of dying is an intimate, gut wrenching, somber
experience. No matter who you are, the decision to surrender to the disease
that is taking over your body is an eminent choice, one that takes great courage
and humility. I have sat in hospital rooms more times than I can count and have
held the hands of my patients as they have taken their last breaths, surrounded
family members as they have wept for those who have left them. I have
experienced the joy of witnessing my patients, my friends, passing into Eternal
Glory and everything that God has promised them.
friends, pass into the other side. The side without hope.
after time, it became more and more evident which gatherings were covered in
hope and those that had none. And while all funerals have an overlay of grief,
the ones without Christ reeked with a staunch smell of despair. Walking up to those caskets, looking upon the
bodies of those whom I deeply loved and smelling those lilies… it broke me
every time. To know where those precious souls were gave me a heaviness in my
heart that I cannot describe.
privileged enough to daily have those conversations with my patients;
conversations about the state of their heart and what they believed in. It’s
amazing that when faced with trials and death that we are all so much more open
to talking about regrets, those we love and eternity. Why can’t we talk about
those things every day with that kind of raw emotion and vulnerability? To
watch these precious people reminisce through their lives as they sat hooked up
to drugs that they pray will save them was so humbling.
with my sweet friends was what they were afraid of. There were those that were
afraid of dying and then there were those that were afraid of death. While they
sound similar, they are two very different things and the difference between
the two was the HOPE that those who feared only the dying possessed. The act of
dying has the potential for pain, exhaustion, fear and confusion. But for those
who had hope in Christ, their death meant wholeness and perfection. They would
be meeting their Savior face to face and there is no fear in eternity with
hopelessness that would lie after. It was painful to watch my patients express
their fears. To not know what would become of their souls after they would
breath their last was more than I could bear. And in those moments of openness
and bravery, I was able to share the hope that I possess in my own heart and
that God STILL had a plan for their lives, even in their dying and death. Nurse
friends, it is never too late to share Christ with your patients. Even in those
still moments, holding their hand in those hospital beds…I believe that in the
quietness of those patient’s hearts that eternal decisions can be made.
Decisions of hope.
souls are beyond worth it. Don’t feel the regret of not sharing the Good News
when you smell the lily. I know that
being bold for Christ in those moments has shaped me forever. And for some and
the decisions that they made for God that day, I know it shaped them for
forever, for eternity, too.