Heather Trites, 35, Event Planner
I hear the phrase “forever home” used a lot lately when it comes to buying a house, adopting a child or pet, etc. Over the past couple years, it seems I have been learning in a very real way that we are not there yet. Earth is not our forever home.
About two years ago my eldest sister, Kimberly, was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 42. This was shocking news for my family. It changed my perspective on daily life and made me think more about how I am living my own life… and what comes next, once my time here is complete. I have attended church most of my life but before Kimberly’s diagnosis I rarely thought much about heaven specifically. It seemed like a distant reality.
Over the eighteen months following my sister’s diagnosis, 12 family members died – 9 from my husband’s side of the family and 3 from my side, with my sister’s death being the last, about seven months ago now. It was a devastating time.
It seemed that every time we turned around another loved one had died and there was another funeral to attend. It has been a clear and repetitive reminder not to get too comfortable – we are here for a short, indefinite amount of time.
Ecology.com says that around the world there are 360,000 births and 151,600 deaths daily. It’s difficult for me to really grasp these statistics as they seem surreal to me. It would appear that we are in a very transitional state of existence. Here one minute and possibly gone the next.
Experiencing the death of a loved one is difficult. It was really hard watching my sister deal with the pain that comes from cancer. And it’s still difficult months after her death because she is gone. Heaven is now a much more tangible reality for me. My sister, someone who I grew up with, talked and laughed with, and love very much is now with God. It doesn’t feel like such a distant reality anymore.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)
For me, True Wellness includes knowing that this brief, impermanent life is not the end and that I have a hope in a future home to come. Real, tangible hope that I’ll be able to see my beautiful sister again!
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