It has been some time since I visited a Senior Departure Center. These are the places named differently; nevertheless, they are places where we seniors make our last earthly abode. Recently, my wife’s sister’s husband departed and we went to comfort the bereaved widow. It was a rather mixed feeling of melancholy and gladness. My wife’s sister lives in a comfortable facility; yet, I had this eerie feeling of being on a train headed for “Never Land.” I felt depressed and not prepared to take this final ride. I was thankful that I had more time to prepare myself for that last trip into the other world.
Departure comes to everyone. One of our sons humors us by reminding us that no one leaves this world alive. My parents were in the nineties when the angel of death freed them form their earthly habitat. They lived through two World Wars from Siberia to Canada. They encountered joy and sorrow, poverty and riches, faced persecution and the loss of children and property. In spite of it, they had a life worth living and we did have great times and bad times together. It was the “together” that became so difficult to let go. Our grandchild, ultra sound informed us long before he was born that this world was not made for him. That did no deter us from wanting him with us even for just a short while. Like my parents, his departure was painful. We shed many tears of sorrow. The departed did leave a void in our lives that comfort cannot bridge.
There is another side that appears to be somewhat contradictory to our “good byes.” We try to be glad and rejoice that our loved ones no longer suffer. We are even grateful that death has ended their misery. I felt that way when my loved ones were disabled before they departed. It was heartbreaking to see them in an incommunicable condition. Their eyes appeared to say things but their voices were silent. The disease had erased their memories. For that alone I was thankful. Their conscience was no long being tortured by the mistakes they may have made in their lives. I faced death three times and my mistakes burdened my conscience heavily. I am thankful to the promise that God shall not remember our mistakes (Isa.43: 25). And, in Christ, we have been assured that there is another future for all of us, provided we prevail before the final Judge (Ro.8: 18-39).
Jesus was very certain that all humans would see Him on judgment day (Lk.21: 36) and so did the Apostle Paul (Ro.14: 10). It shall be particularly painful for anyone that ridiculed and wounded Him (Rev.1: 7). With regard to those that believed in Him, He would personally receive them at their arrival (Jn.14: 1-4). A very special reception shall await those that died for their convictions as He did (Rev.14: 13). The loved ones of those that depart this world, in the care of Christ, have cause to celebrate. There will be a question of what we have done in this life (Ro.2: 5-11)? Hopefully, God shall not demand some one’s blood of our hands (Gen. Gen.4: 11). Will He send his angels to take our soul to paradise or someone else (Lk.16: 19-31)? Will we ever be ready to meet our Maker?