Last week I received the sad news that one of my old friends from high school had recently passed away. I don’t know the circumstances regarding her untimely passing nor do I want to know. She was a good friend and could easily make me laugh. I won’t lie, I even had a little bit of a crush on her at one point when we were teenagers. Nothing ever happened of course because the very next year I ended up moving from Southern California all the way up to Western Montana. We lost contact, and I moved on.
It wasn’t until I saw a post on Facebook from a mutual friend that I found out about her death. I was definitely shocked. She and I were the same age and to die so suddenly and so young really makes you open your eyes to the reality of our fragile and mortal lives.
Her death has forced me to take a deeper look at this Orthodox season of Lent and to also be aware of my own failings in preparation for my own passing. Am I truly prepared for the kingdom of heaven? Do I have a plan in place for my family in case something were to happen to me? Have I done and have I dared, everything to be prepared?
The answer is no.
No, I don’t feel like I am seriously ready or prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough or worked hard enough on my own salvation. In the Orthodox Church, salvation is not simply a matter of yes I am saved, it’s a process. Yes I am saved, yes I am being saved, yes I am in the process. For as much as I have done I feel like they are simply baby steps and that there is so much more that I could do in order to have a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with the Lord. I need more time in order to properly prepare myself for the glory of the Kingdom at hand.
Is my family prepared for my death? No. We don’t have extra savings set aside, nor have we really agreed about what would happen to John if both of us were to pass away quickly. Both my wife and I have discussed creating a will but we haven’t done that yet. I have thought on numerous occasions about how we need to get a life insurance policy in case something were to ever happen to me. I know trucking is a dangerous profession, and I am so thankful for the $15,000 in life insurance that I get automatically from working for Knight Transportation. At the same time, I know it’s not enough and I would hate for Emily and John to be burdened financially due to my untimely passing. But these are all things that we haven’t gotten done yet because death isn’t at the forefront of our conversations. And yet, sometimes it needs to be the main topic.
I look at Lent with different eyes now. I see the death that we must take up as we follow the Lord. I see the sacrifice in the services and hymns. For a long time lent for me was a matter of giving something up, and when I became an Orthodox Christian it was a matter of following the fast. But lent is more than just not eating meat and dairy, it’s accepting death and welcoming it with open arms. For just like you cannot have a rainbow without rain, you cannot have a resurrection without death first.
I hope my friend is resting in peace. Lord have mercy and memory eternal. How are you doing? Are you prepared to face the judgment? Ir are you like me and are woefully under prepared?
Thanks for reading my post, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week.
Until next time my friends!