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Peggy Horton: Are you ready to graduate?

Our granddaughter, a college student, recently lost one of her best friends in a car accident. The details of the accident were unbelievable and horrifying. She's been very upset since it happened, and her mother is concerned about her. I tried talking with my granddaughter, but she didn't seem to hear me. I felt helpless.

A lifelong friend passed away after a short illness. I found out about it when my husband showed me his picture in the obituary. I was shocked and couldn't understand why this good friend didn't let me know he was ill. I would like to have had the opportunity to talk with him -- to tell him things I never got around to saying. I felt cheated.

A member of our church family, and a friend, passed away a few weeks ago. He had Alzheimer's. His wife brought him to church for as long as it was possible, and we watched his gradual decline from Sunday to Sunday. He endured, first, the humiliation and then the pain that this cruel disease inflicts upon its victims! I felt angry.

I've been trying hard to squeeze a layer of meaning out of this natural phenomenon called death, but so far, all I've gathered is: It hurts. And it leaves scars that never heal.

In his book, "A Grief Observed," C. S. Lewis wrote: "For in grief nothing stays put. One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats."

Death does hurt. Not necessarily the person who gives up his life, but the loved ones and friends who must let him go. We are flooded with a torrential outpouring of emotion each time death comes near us. And it does seem to keep repeating!

However, in actuality, it's not about us, is it?

As Christians, we are taught to deal with these feelings. "Death is a part of life," we are told. "And, for the departed, the best is yet to come."

In a book by William W. Orr, "The First Five Minutes after Death," Dr. Orr explains: "The essence of a Christian's death is that of graduation. Life has been a school. Lessons have been learned. Examinations have been given, but all is now past. In the perfect will of God, the believer has attained the experience and knowledge of important truths. He will be promoted to life -- the exceedingly abundant life. The full and complete arrangements to transfer his soul into celestial realms have been concluded. This is an important event! The other side is glorious indeed! There is an open door into immeasurable blessing, which only the power of God could make possible."

There are many causes of death. Some simply grow old and die. For them, there is usually plenty of warning. To others, death comes abruptly. They die as a result of accidents, heart attacks, strokes, rapid cancer and a variety of other diseases. Death comes to infants, youth, and those in the prime of life -- people of all ages.

No one knows when his time will come. This is the reason we should be ready at all times. This is why God expects us to live each minute as if the transfer into His glory might occur the next moment.

As a matter of fact, it may!Horton is a writer who lives in Nitro; she can be contacted at pegylu@suddenlink.net.


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