Friday, February 25, 2011

Final Destination

“This is our gate.” We look for a spot with two empty seats side by side. “How about there?”

My wife and I claim our seats and wait for the boarding call. We’re leaving Florida sun to find warmth in the heart of a Minnesota winter – the warmth of life; a new grandson.

Normally small talk is what happens here. But rolling tears changes everything.

She sat by herself across from us. She looked uneasy.

“Headin’ back to cold country?” I figured I’d break the ice.

“Yeah, we were on vacation but I…” She stares out the window. Tears start to flow. My daughter’s husband; mmmmyyy son-in-law." She stopped, looked at us and then away. "He committed suicide."

Sniff. Deep breath. “He’s…was 29. I’m going home to help my daughter and the kids – three of them.”

Silent prayers offered fast. Words offered soft and slow. Words that felt smaller than small-talk; inadequate, forgetful. A prayer, a hug, a tear and she was off to board the plane – she in her seat and we in ours.

I wondered about the weight she carried in her heart. Could this jet carry such a heavy load? But above the clouds we flew. The aircraft didn’t seem to notice the burden, nor did anyone. I know I watched. A few seats up she sat staring out the window. I watched and prayed for her daughter Jessica who will undoubtedly wrestle guilt, shame, anger and sorrow to name a few. I prayed for three children filled with unanswerable questions. And I prayed for this mother and grandmother to find strength and wisdom to be strong for them all.

We landed. We went our way – she went hers.

Our flights were the same. Same airport; same departure gate; same landing strip; same baggage claim; but our destinations were worlds apart. We were flying high excited to celebrate life. She was hovering toward a mournful death. We were moving toward a beginning she was headed to an ending. Soon she would shed tears of pain and we would shed tears of joy.

But maybe we’re not that far apart; us and her; me and you. Maybe the only thing that separates us is time. Maybe next time – should we meet again, she’ll be flying high and we’ll be carrying the load.

We share this flight together, you and I. We’re all headed to the same landing strip…Death. The only difference that separates one from the other is what’s on the other side. Will the destination be Eternal Life or eternal damnation? One word decides. It’s stamped on the ticket. The ticket is our heart. It’s written in blood; the blood of God’s Son.

The word?...Forgiven.



lynnmosher said...

Oh, this is such a great post, Doug. But so heartbreaking. Have you ever noticed that when one soul dies to life, another one is born into it? There's always that exchange. And so it is for us spiritually...just as you so wonderfully stated at the end. Touching post, Doug. Thank you!

Doug Spurling said...

Lynn nice of you to stop by. I loved your last post.Yes, it seems God specializes in bringing life from death - turning tragedy into triumph, when we let Him have His way. Thank you again and keep up the good work.

David Rupert said...

Those moments when we are dropped in the middle of someone's tragedy - whether a friend or a stranger - are the times when God gives us words and actions. It's tough, but it's our calling.

Doug Spurling said...

Thanks David your words are true, I must remind myself, even if they're a stranger to me - they're not one to God and even when I think my words are weak, it's not mine that's not by power, not by might, but by My Spirit says the Lord.

Courtney said...

Wow - what a story. Thank you for sharing it. How good of you to speak to and encourage that woman. That is a powerful lesson itself. I found you via the Faith Barista link up.

Doug Spurling said...

Courtney - thanks for the visit, I'll have thank Bonnie for sending you over. It's amazing how many folks around us are hurting all we have to is pay attention. And Jesus loves them...everyone. Thanks for your encouragement.