This week we are thankful for the rain we received. It was only 1/2 inch at our ranch, but after a year of drought was still a blessing. Farmers and ranchers (and those who know them) understand how important rain is to our livelihood. Margot started asking God to send us rain in her nightly prayers as soon as she was old enough to say the words and has in turn taught her little sister the importance of asking the Lord to provide us with rain. I have always liked the song “Gravedigger” by Dave Matthews, but now when it comes on the radio, I think a little more about the chorus when I am driving down the road…
“Gravedigger, when you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain?“
I think that Taylor probably still cares quite a bit about rain, but because of his faith in Jesus Christ, he doesn’t have to worry about the grave. Taylor and I did not have any official paperwork in place, but we had talked a little about both wanting to be cremated. After his accident, I (along with the rest of our family) had to make a lot of decisions we should never have had to make for the 32 year old man we all loved. I was surprised by how easily some of them came to me, as far as knowing what to do and what he would have wanted. The certainty actually gave me a sense of peace as if Taylor was right there whispering in my ear, but I don’t think I will ever get over the fact that I actually had to make any of those decisions at such a young age.
In the rawness of one of those first days, our pastors were going to come over to the house in the afternoon to discuss funeral arrangements. That morning I sat on my bed with Taylor’s sister, Kate. His parents came and joined us to discuss what to do and assured me that I had everyone’s full support in whatever my decisions were. I had made so many hard decisions already and I remember breaking down and sobbing, “I can’t bury my husband!” That was the line for me that I simply couldn’t cross. I am continually thankful for the support of everyone who came to celebrate Taylor’s life, but I know I would never have made it through that day if it had involved a casket and a grave. Even though I know Taylor was in the presence of the Lord the second he left this earth and I know exactly where he is now, the thought of the body he left behind is something that has been especially difficult for me to process, and maybe always will be.
“For we know that if this earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”2 Corinthians 5:1
While reeling with all the unimaginable decisions, I remembered a sermon at our church Taylor and I had discussed last summer. Our pastor was emphasizing the fact that our earthly bodies are just a tent. They are made for a fallen world and will wear and tear with age. When we leave this world, we are just leaving behind a tent. Our souls live on in heaven where they will one day receive a new and perfect body. That Sunday driving home from church, Taylor and I talked a little bit more about cremation. He fully understood that our bodies are just something for our souls to occupy while we walk this earth. Something for others to identify and to touch. It is just a shell that we will no longer need when our time comes because those who believe in Jesus Christ are getting a new body, a perfect body.
I am so thankful for some of the conversations Taylor and I had that seemed like just mindless car talk at the time. The “what would you do if…” scenarios we discussed. Mostly I am thankful that throughout the nightmare of my loss I have never doubted for a second that Taylor is alive in heaven and finished with his earthly body. Again, it is just a shell that we temporarily use and then leave behind. What is more important are the other things we leave behind; our relationships, our ministry, etc… When you depart from your earthly body, will you also be proud of everything else you leave behind with it? Not one of us is perfect, but as souls that will one day inhabit perfect bodies, I think it is important (even though we will always fall short) to strive for perfection in our thoughts, words and deeds so that we can all leave behind a body of work that is pleasing in the sight of the Lord.
Copyright © 2021 M. Marley,LLC