A recent tragedy close to home has brought a lot of emotions to the surface that I have spent almost two years trying to process. My brain can barely remember to put my car into park before I get out, but it vividly remember the trauma of loss. While trying to decide how I possibly could ease just a sliver of pain for those standing in the shoes I once stood in, I was brought back to what was the worst part of those first few days.
Planning Taylor’s funeral was strangely therapeutic for me. It forced me to put one foot in front of the other and focus on the tasks at hand rather than why I was having to do them. I was also comforted in feeling like I knew exactly what he would want. I knew the hymns to choose, the scriptures to focus the sermon on and who to have speak. I’ve always been fairly quick to make decisions and this situation was no different. The easier the answers came to me, the more confident I felt in knowing Taylor would be proud. We even held a full tailgate in the church parking lot after the service.
Making arrangements was easy for me and I was able to fully understand why we do things like have memorial services or sit shiva. Grievers need a script to follow while they process the unimaginable or perhaps the long time coming. For me the worst part of those first days was when Taylor’s body had been taken for the autopsy. I knew undoubtedly that my husband was in heaven the instant his heart took its last beat, but I was sick to my stomach thinking about him all alone Albuquerque. The thought of him being up there by himself haunted me and continues to be what gives me that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach when I hear any talk of an autopsy.
“Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”2 Corinthians 5:8
The deep fear of Taylor being alone lasted until I got word his body was back in Roswell. Even as I was experiencing it, I knew it was unfounded. I knew that Taylor had truly made it home days before and had zero awareness of his body. In 2 Corinthians, Paul refers to our earthly bodies as a tent. Just a place to house our souls. We are only given one tent to reside in during our time on earth so we do our best to preserve the structure and patch it when we need to. We exercise and eat well, we seek out medical care when needed, but it is simply a temporary living arrangement. Some even refer the earthly body as a shell. When a hermit crab grows and moves to a larger shell, they don’t worry about the one they left behind. They have no use for the old one anymore because their life exists somewhere else.
I like to think of our earthly bodies as a spacesuit. They protect us to exist in the conditions of an alien environment. Things can happen to an astronaut in space. Their spacesuit can get damaged or malfunction and no longer be suitable for protection in an environment away from earth. Our bodies do the same thing. Accidents or disease can damage our “spacesuits” where they are no longer capable of providing life support on a foreign planet and our spacewalk comes to an end. Just as we celebrate when astronauts return to earth, we should celebrate the end of our earthly missions knowing that our brothers and sisters in Christ have returned safely to mission control. Our home is in heaven and when we exit our space suits, we can celebrate that we are at home with the Lord!!
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