“Bean, I’ve made it home!” I felt my dad’s spirit speaking to me through the pitch black night. As I stood alone with this new truth and my sister’s words “dad’s dead” summersaulting in my head, I turned my gaze up toward heaven. The stars were poking through the dark; polk-a-dots of light whispering hope and promises of eternity. My heart immediately breathed in peace and then the acronym for H.O.M.E. followed.
Each beam of light reaching down in the darkest of nights brought me comfort and a strong sense that I had nothing to fear. Heaven speaks to those who have learned to listen. As we attune to the space beyond words; eternity speaks, sings, and dances among us.
Death was not the end for my dad, I just needed to learn to live into the mystery of death. I had to get to know him in his new way of being. My dad’s spirit shows up in the sound of wind chimes and music of all sorts, because this is who he was. My heart knows his song! I have become acutely attuned to spirit, in the wind, and in nature, in God’s word and the people around me. I believe our loved ones at the end of their precious lives cross over into eternity on a rainbow bridge. I can’t believe there is a door slammed shut behind them, but imagine a revolving door in which their Spirit passes with each new day. I have experienced this too many times to think I am making it up. Every morning I sit down to meditate, I sense eternity in my heart and God’s word affirms what I feel deep within me. “He has hidden eternity in our hearts.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
Although I am learning to trust what I cannot see, when forced to let go of those I love, everything in me contracts and clings to the temporary form that I know. I wrestle in the dark and beg God for a cure, reprieve from the suffering that is cancer, and hope for the day. My perspective shrinks with my fear and the terror that grief brings. It comes in waves that sometimes take me out completely and leave me gasping for air. And then I rise up stronger and know that even in the storms God is still good and at work in the world.
We have been programmed to think death is bad because we have yet to taste eternity, but this earth is nothing compared to heaven’s glory. Suffering is a critical part of the story, but it is not the end. We are called to lift our gaze in faith and remain steadfast in the promise and hope of eternity. To love right here in the midst of cancer, tragedy, anguish and the painful tension of waiting…
Between life and death
Fear and love
Hope and disappointment
Where the heart breaks open, there is a strong tendency to want to shrink and hide; to withdraw and disappear.
I believe that it is in the breaking that the heart becomes whole.
Nobody likes to admit they they are broken, but truth is, we all are in some way. We want desperately to cover it up and act like we have it all together, but if the almighty God of the universe had to bow his head and give up on the cross, maybe we too should practice this fine art of humbly letting go.
There is suffering all around and yet God’s love remains. The gift and remedy to the despair lies within the human heart of those who have faith to believe and seek. Just as the kids tear through the house finding the hidden Easter eggs I am reminded that we are to remain childlike on our hunt to find the presence and goodness of God’s love and the presence of heaven right here on earth. The birds outside the window welcoming the day remind me that it is not the end, but just the beginning…
Jean Masukevich is a special education and yoga teacher. She holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of Psychology and Theology and is passionate about facilitating healing spaces for individuals and groups in need of care. Her therapeutic approach incorporates yoga, meditation, art and the use of narratives to help people integrate mind, body and Spirit. Jean loves to play outside and enjoys quality time with her husband and four awesome children. You can find her here: www.sowthat.com