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Standing At Death's Door
The tears flowed freely. It was nearing time. They all knew it, though none wished to admit it. She had laid there for too many days, in pure suffering, awaiting this very moment. The cancer had come quickly and unexpectedly, and it would soon take their grandmother from them. Many in the room cursed and blamed God for her fate. Why, oh why, would He allow their sweet grandmother, a woman who had lived her life to serve Him, die before her time? Why would He allow her to suffer in that way? Why?
Grandmother knew their thoughts. She had always been able to tell how her family was feeling: their pain, their sadness, their heart's silent tears. She knew it all.
She knew that Tom, wearing his letter-man jacket without the letter, sat in the corner, fuming. She knew he believed it was unfair for her to die. He had so many events he wished to share with her: receiving his letter and having her hand sew it onto his jacket; his first basketball game of the season next weekend; shopping for his first car; his high school graduation, she would miss it all.
She knew that Cara stood before her, wringing her perfectly manicured hands, her stomach churning, behind her flowery top, with the feeling of guilt. She knew that Cara believed it should be her, laying on that bed; she was the one with leukemia; she was the one with only a few years to live; she should be the one dying. But that wasn't how it was and it wasn't fair to Cara to feel guilty for something she can't control. Grandmother knew that, unfortunately Cara didn't.
She knew that little Samantha sat beside her, holding her hand, looking as adorable as ever with her long brown hair tied in braids and her big blue eyes watching, observing, not yet grasping what was happening around her. She knew that the little girl wished to console her, to comfort her, but she didn't know how. She didn't understand these words her family kept saying: Cancer, a few days, death. She only knew what they had said to explain: "Grandmother will be leaving soon." And she knew that Samantha didn't wish for her to leave; she wished for her to stay beside her, forever, since she had barely had five years with her. But Grandmother knew she couldn't; she knew, yet Samantha didn't.
Grandmother lay there, watching her family. Why were they so upset? Why was this such a devastation? Grandmother found nothing upsetting about her passing; she was, in fact, quite looking forward to it. Why couldn't her family be as happy for her as she was for herself?
She reached out, handing her daughter a tissue. "Why are you all crying? Stop it!" Her family seemed honestly stunned at the proclamation. "There is nothing sad here today. This is the happiest day of my life, and you are all bringing me down with your sobbing." She watched each of them as they straightened their stances and dried their tears.
Her voice softened. "Now, I know you all are upset at the thought of my death, but look at me? Do you see any sadness? Anywhere? No. Do you know the reason why I am not sad?"
Each looked to the other, but none came forward with an answer, so Grandmother continued. "Have you ever thought about me? Out of all this time, have you ever once stopped being selfish and thought about how I feel? I'm fine with dying. In fact, I'm excited. While you all sit here, making yourselves sick over losing me in this world, I'm day-dreaming about the moment I awaken in Heaven; my Savior on one side, and my God on the other. Can't you see it?"
A distant look spread across her face. She stared at the ceiling, saying, "Can't you just see it? Those pearly gates, the golden streets, the mansions..." She sighed. "My imagination has not even begun to scratch the surface of what Heaven will be like. God created this world in six days, but He's been spending 2,000 years on Heaven! All for me. Because He loved me, a wretched sinner. I have broken every single one of God's laws, and yet..." Her voice broke and a single tear rolled down her cheek. "And yet, He still loved me and wanted me to join in Heaven. He loved me so much that He sent His only biological son to die on the cross for my sins. How wonderful is that?"
Her family looked away, uncomfortable. Grandmother had always been the "religious freak" in their family and most times they would have called her out on it; but since her time was nearing it's end, they kept their mouths shut. "Don," She looked to her eldest son, taking his hand and said, "Don, if the world was going to end tonight and the only way to save it would be to sacrifice you, I'd say the thing burn; I love you too much to let you die. But God loved us, us horrible wicked sinners; He loved us so much that He sacrificed His own Son for us. Because *"without the shedding of blood there is no **remission". And that blood had to be perfect. Or else it would not be acceptable as our redemption. Jesus Christ died and all He asks in return is that we +repent of our sins and love Him.
"I know that I could have done more, said more, gone more, told more, done everything MORE; but right now, when I could be thinking of everything I should've, could've, would've done, I'm not. I'm thinking of my Home in which I will soon enter. I'm thinking of all my friends, who have passed on before, that I will soon be seeing; I'm thinking of how I will soon be seeing David, and Sampson, and Rahab and all the other great men and women of God that I will be able to meet; I'm thinking...I'm thinking of how within moments I will be face to face with my Lord and Savior..."
Grandmother looked away from the ceiling and her daydream, returning her focus to her family before her. "I pray that one day I will see you there, too. You can come join me, but first, you have some business to take care of with the Man Upstairs."
Her families expressions were unreadable. For once in her life, Grandmother did not know what ran through their heads or hearts. Silently, she prayed for them to make the right choice. Then she whispered goodbye and found herself in the arms of her Savior.