This past week, one of my daughter's gerbils died last. It was sad yet a life lesson for her. She was heart broken as she walked into her room and found her gerbil barely alive. I reminded her of the gerbil's life expectency is only three to five years and her gerbils were over three years old. It was her response that caused me to pause and reflect - "I know that Mom but it was the manner in which he died. He was killed by the other gerbil."
Ecclesiastes 3:19 -20
Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both. As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return."
I looked at her and held her as she cried even more. As I held her and comforted her broken heart I prayed. I prayed for God to ease her pain and help her through this grief. She was able to recognize the nature of the gerbil - the stronger one eliminating the weak and dying gerbil yet the manner in which the death occurred caused her much stress. As I listened to her and we prayed I realized how much my daughter had grown up. It was as if she was able to accept the death of her pet yet she couldn't accept the manner in which he met his death.
I found myself praying not only for her but for myself and anyone else that has loss a loved one in a tragic way. Her statement was a reflection of her growth and at a deeper level - she expressed the anger and frustration associated with the loss of a loved one when not associated with old age. I've lost family members who gracefully closed their eyes to sleep, with a smile on their face as they remembered their 70 and 80 plus years of a good life. I've also learned of a loved one's death by picking up the receiver of the phone to hear "Your sister is missing!", "Your cousin was in motorcycle accident...", and "Uncle B was killed in an automobile accident".
Death is never an easy or comfortable situation yet when we know our loved ones leave us in a loving and graceful way it seems to be easier to let them go. I learned a valuable lesson as I consoled my daughter - the deaths I've struggled with and am affected by the most have been the unexpected. Yet this is the same reason we are called to share Jesus with our friends, family and neighbors - we don't know what tomorrow brings or what one minute from now will hold.
John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, He sent His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
As I work on my revisions and finishing my first book - I pray for those who read it. I pray they will see the Truth and Hope only found in Jesus and recognize they don't need to spend their time on earth fearing death or mourning those that have passed before them. Instead there is strength and hope with Jesus empowering our days...
Although the gerbil passed away...a lesson was learned.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323