55 Weeks Past the Cross – Legacy
By Terrie C
Had I still been walking in Christian doctrine last week when my mom passed away, I would have been wrought with anxiety. By Christianity’s teachings, her soul would be considered eternally doomed because she’d never accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. It would have bothered me, I know, to think she was being tortured eternally. Ironically, my abhorrence for such thoughts came from my abusive childhood. Never though, would I have had peace to know either of my parents were in “hell”. Since walking away from the cross, I have a new perspective on what happens after death. I say perspective and not doctrine, because the Tanakh is vague regarding the life after this one. Certainly, Scripture points more toward life than death! When I got the call on Friday that I had been expecting for the month my mom was in hospice care, I experienced a feeling I hadn’t expected. Peace. The soul that was my mom is back with its Giver. What could I possibly have to ponder or worry about? After a lifetime of bondage, sadness and loneliness, she is now…literally…in the hand of God. And I trust Him.
Although my own relationship with the parents who adopted me when I was a year old and raised me never saw a reconciliation in my adulthood, I find myself praying that God will show them both mercy and His love as He metes out His justice. The rest of the details, I leave to Him. I’m left with that peace that comes when I simply “be still and know that He is God”.
And so, since I needn’t dwell on what He will do with their souls now that their bodies have died, I can do what the Scriptures tell me to do and keep my face set on life. I can look at my parents’ lives to see what I can learn there, and I can look at my own life to see how I can apply what I’ve learned. I give honor and respect to my parents where it is due. My childhood may have been a nightmare, but I am alive to tell about it and part of that credit belongs to them. I was fed, clothed and sheltered and even taught to survive the worst of circumstances. That’s a quality I actually like about myself, my fortitude. Whether or not God grants them citizenship in the world to come is, quite frankly, not my business.
My business is to pay mind to my own business, and to follow the instructions that were written out for me in Scripture. My business is to ready myself for the day I will give an account for what I’ve done with my own time, no matter my past or current circumstance. My past was not a mistake God made, it was the mistakes of the generations before me. My business is to teach the generations after me in this bloodline that there is a God above us. My business is to show them by example what it looks like to walk with God. My business is to teach them about Him (see Deuteronomy 6). If I go about doing the business He has set before me while I wear this coat of flesh, learning from the past and nourishing the future with His Words, then I will leave my loved ones a whole different legacy than the one left me.
Reading my mom’s obituary stirred me to wonder how my own will read one day. I don’t want mine to be a list of the jobs I’ve had and the people I’ve left behind. I want my obituary, when the time comes, to reflect a life that was touched by God’s grace, mercy and kindness. I want my life to be so full of His light that the reflection stays long after this body is gone. I want my loved ones to know that they can trust my soul in God’s hand. Because they can. Most of all, though, I want them to know they can trust Him with their own soul!
Indeed, I am particularly happy to not hold Christian doctrines any longer! It’s funny to me that I had less peace when I thought I had God all figured out. I have no clue the eternal destiny of my parents, yet no stress about it whatsoever, either. The answer to any question I may have is to trust God to bring about His perfect will. After all, none of this is about us anyway. That’s another false Christian doctrine. We are all characters in His story, not the other way around.
I’ll “see” you again soon, and I promise to focus on life then and not death! I do hope you’ll ponder the legacy you’ll leave one day, though. May it reflect God’s light, and may your obituary reflect your life’s meaning, instead of a list of statistics.