"Dying is so hard." — Mitsu Nasuti, Friday, November 25, 2005
I talked to my mom on the phone today. She said that her older sister, my Aunt Mitsu, is as close to home as you can get without actually being there. Perhaps it's like that feeling you get when you return home after being gone for awhile. As you turn into the driveway, you're almost home. Anticipation is giving way to the dawn of reality. But if someone locked the doors of the car from the inside and made you sit there waiting to really get home, you would be in turmoil. How much more when "home" is heaven, the driveway is your deathbed, your car is cancer, and Jesus is standing on the front porch with open arms, smiling.
Today my precious Aunt Mitsu said to my mom, "Dying is so hard." This is a shocking statement to those for whom death is a distant terrorist — always taking lives, but always someone else's. I once heard that David Brainerd put it this way when he was on his own deathbed, speaking in that older English that is harder to understand but for some reason drives the point home: "It is another thing than men imagine, to die." Say it slowly and it will pierce.
Over the last two weeks I have been reminded in deep and substantial ways not to forget the dying. If dying is so hard, we should love them deeply, pray for them fervently, and serve them relentlessly. That's what my mom is doing in New Jersey right now, and that's one of the reasons I love and respect her beyond words. I have also been reminded, though, that dying is such a blessing for those who belong to the Father.
Mitsu is dying hard, yes, but Mitsu is dying well. My mom said that they have had some of the sweetest times of fellowship over the last week, especially late at night when no more visitors are around and Mitsu is rested. They have reminisced about the goodness and faithfulness of God throughout their lives. They have blessed the Lord together for years of grace. They have joined their hearts in thanksgiving to God for sustaining their families, providing in all seasons, and showing mercy to the third and fourth generation. A few nights ago my mom said, "It is truly one of the most amazing things I have ever seen, to watch a saint go home." For her to say this about a distant saint is one thing. For her to say it about her beloved sister is another. The joy that I felt in my heart when I heard her say this is indescribable. A saint is going home. Home.
Aunt Mitsu, welcome into the joy of your Master. And brothers and sisters, all I can say is: What kind of people we would be if we lived each day with the thought that we will soon be going home! What kind of people we would be…