By the time you read this.

(Written early one recent Sunday morning.)

By the time you read this, I’ll know how the story turned out. I know the decision and the timing. A person has a brain that is dead. And people who love that person are wrestling. With God, with tests, with dreams.

And by the time you read this, there will be a decision.

By the time you read this, I’ll have stood within yards of all of those people, though not in the same room. I’ll have been talking about God. I’ll read, out loud, into camera and microphone, words that Paul wrote:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

And I will weep a little as I read. Because those words are true and so is the pain. And I never want to inflict true words on people in pain. I don’t want to assault people with affirmations that I turn into obligations. I want to leave room for God to be present in inexplicable ways rather than offering heart-searing explanations. Those of us who have lost know that we cannot so devalue people as to reduce the death of a person to a lesson to be learned by others.

By the time you read this, I’ll know how this day went. And I will have walked, as we always do, you and I, between the reality of lives filled with real pain, and the reality of a God who tasted that pain.


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