Thursday, November 26, 2009

the next chapter

We said goodbye to two more young mothers in our community this past week. One of them was our precious friend, Nyla. Nyla has courageously battled cancer for the past years.

A sweeter, stronger person I have never known. We would hear that Nyla was not doing well, that she was very sick, and then she come to something that was going on. For instance, she, Mike and Lane came to Drew’s birthday party, this time last year. Last spring, she came to Jon and Emily’s wedding; and though she wasn’t doing well at all, she told me that she had to do something “happy” for a change. She was at school, in September, for Lane’s report card conference. At all of these events, she had a smile on her face as she quietly participated…never complaining, or thinking of herself first. She was a beautiful example, for me, of living and dying with love and grace.

She had such a will to live her life. I think the most pain she suffered was the pain of leaving her family. She will be greatly missed by her family, and all who knew her.

Kathy called me to tell me about Nyla’s diagnosis of cancer. She was so sad. She loved Nyla dearly. She didn’t realize that she would have the opportunity to welcome Nyla into heaven. I have wondered about what they are doing right now. I’m sure Nyla is telling her all about the family. Maybe she is even giving her the details of the wedding and birthday party. I know she is telling her another “Lane” adventure, and she is certainly speaking her love for baby Mason and her precious Shayna. I am sure, too, that she is letting her know what a good job Jamie is doing, and how she is so proud of all of them. Knowing Kathy…she has already shown Nyla all the “hot spots” to see in her new home, and she has probably introduced her to more new people and experiences than they ever knew of in this lifetime.

In fact, Nyla and Kathy are living the real lives they were created to live today… lives where pain, suffering, sin, separation, and longing are gone forever.

As C.S. Lewis wrote at the end of The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe:

“And, for this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But, for them, it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover, and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”