Today we had a memorial walk/run for my sister who passed away in June with ovarian cancer. She was only 58 years old. The walk was sponsored by the elementary school where she taught. The memorial was also for an 8 year old little girl who also lost her battle with cancer this year. As you might imagine, along with smiles and laughter and friends and family meeting and greeting, there were also plenty of tears.
I look at all the many people, all ages, that came to my sister’s funeral and the many people, all ages, that were there for this walk/run, and I marvel at the outpouring of love, respect, and honor for my sweet sister. The reason is not because she is not worthy … she definitely is. It is because she was one of the most humble little souls-all her life. Not one to boast, or toot her horn, or look for the bright lights of the world’s admiration-and yet-her life was a bright light of life, love, and care for family, friends, her students, faculty, neighbors-anyone she encountered. Her smile and laugh are forever with me. I long to hear her make jokes about me that only she could do … she asked me one time if I minded … NO … she made me feel special! She really knew me and knew how to come out with those zingers of hers … well … it was a special bond that only she and I shared.
At the end of the walk all the family members, ours and that precious child’s family, let go balloons and watched them rise into the most brilliant autumn blue sky. They flew fast in the breeze and they rose high and followed the air currents and we all watched- with the eyes of a child-to see where our own balloon would go.
There was talk around me of the balloons going up to heaven. We sent them off with that understood collective thought that our precious ones would receive these bright balloons and know our hearts were flying up to heaven as well.
Jesus rose from the dead. Lazarus rose from the dead. The little girl that was dead in her bed rose up and walked. These and other verses from the Bible speak of rising from somewhere sad and lifeless and going up to embrace life. Is that why heaven is always associated with being up above us somewhere? Is where we are now just a place we will rise from to embrace new life, or renewed life, or life everlasting? I don’t know. I really don’t know.
Dear Lord, as I write this I am tearing up again. I don’t like it at all that my daddy, my mother, and my sister, were all taken from me because of the evil that is cancer. I long to see them all again on this earth. I try and try to wish them back-to have them rise from death. I can’t do that. I can talk to them in my head and feel them in my heart, but, I can’t make them rise. That hurts. It’s sad. It breaks my heart. But, knowing without a doubt that they are with You, Dear Lord, is what helps my own soul rise from my grief.
As Thanksgiving is only days away, I give thanks for the love, joy, laughter, tears, and heartbreak, I shared with my family that are now with you. They all made my life what it is and helped me, and are still helping me rise up to new life-a life filled with Your Love, a love that is so big, so very big, that happiness, joy, smiles, and laughter totally fill this vastness called heaven-where there’s no room for tears or sadness. When I rise, I want to fly up free. I want to fly up with nothing heavy weighing me down. I want to ride the currents and follow where they lead. I want to know You are there with me. I want to rise and fly home to my loved ones to live renewed in love and peace and thanksgiving for You, Dear Lord, Our Father Which Art in Heaven.
Romans 6:4-5 Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Gather, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God wil wipe away tears from off all faces.
John 11:23-26 Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Yes,” Martha said, “HE will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
Mark 5:38-42 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After He put them all out, He took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were ith Him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!”, which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around, she was twelve years old.
Mother sitting at the piano and Daddy standing beside her, they started singing this song. I had never heard it. Daddy said he wanted it sung at his funeral. It wasn’t. It wasn’t sung at Mother’s funeral either. But they sang together of their hope of heaven and the Welcome Home from Jesus on that first glorious sunrise.
Sunrise Tomorrow lyrics and music by William C. Poole