Fragility of Life–Part Two

As I read further in the book, I came across another section with a little more behind the idea quoted here. This one, I totally agree with. I’ve also previously come to the same conclusion (following) about why we fight death. It gets up my nose when people dismiss my discomfort over death, tragedy and pain with a comment like, “Death is part of life” so I always like to find I’m not alone in what I think!

“Do you know why we constantly fight the notion of death, Betsy? I just read about that in Genesis the other day. It’s because God created us to live forever with Him in Eden. Death was not God’s choice; it was man’s. Death is unnatural, a punishment for sin. But God countered man’s choice with another perfect plan–He redeemed us in Christ so we could live forever with Him.”

I moved around to the front of his chair and held Walter’s precious face in my hands. “And in the meantime? Here on earth?”

“We must pray, ‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’ Promise me that you’ll always write, Betsy. Don’t let your father or anyone else impose his will on you. And don’t ever settle for any other life except the one for which God created you.”

“What about His will for you?” I whispered. I couldn’t speak any louder without weeping.

“The same thing,” he said. “We’ll pray for God’s will to be done–whether it means that I live or I die. And we’ll pray that He’ll grant us the grace to accept it.”

I kissed his forehead, his eyebrows, the knuckles of his hands. “Why did God have to make our lives so fragile and so short?”

Walter thought for a moment before answering. “Because life is very precious to Him. He treasures each life He created and He wants us to treasure it, too–like fine porcelain china. God knows what it’s like to live and die in a human frail body like ours. His Son suffered physical death, Betsy, so that you and I can face it without ever being afraid.”


I’d like to say that I handled Walter’s death well, that I was prepared for it and I didn’t grieve as those who have no hope. But it isn’t true. I sank into a dark place where no light could reach me. It was winter outside my window and winter deep in my soul. When my tears were gone I grieved without tears.

Lydia held me in her arms and tried to console me with her love, but it was as if she stood outside my shuttered cottage, peering through the windows in vain. I couldn’t open the door to her or anyone else.

And then on a warm spring morning the cherry trees blossomed, just as Walter knew they would. One day the orchard appeared dead and lifeless, the next day I looked out my window and didn’t recognize the view. The trees’ beauty beckoned to me, whispered to me, until I found myself outside, standing beneath clusters of fragrant pink flowers. At that moment I knew two truths with absolute certainty. Walter was alive. And God was here, with me.

I met God in the orchard that morning–not in a tangible form you could see or hear, but I felt His presence comforting me the way I could once sense the comfort of Walter’s presence when we sat in the same room, even with my back turned to him. God seemed to say, “When everything else is gone, I’m still here.”

And I knew then that I wanted to do God’s bidding–on earth as it is in heaven–because I would never find the peace that Walter had found unless I did. I wanted to live my life according to God’s plan, not other people’s plans–to become the person He created me to be.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jacqueline
    Aug 20, 2009 @ 11:15:34

    I read this book years ago and it is one of my favorites. They even made a little movie about it by the same name.It wasn’t the best.
    I think I will read that book again now that you have mentioned it!! Thanks for the reminder.


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