Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints

Since last summer, I've been tracking with and praying for four families facing medical crises.  All of these families used various forms of electronic media to keep far-flung friends and family updated about their situation; two of the four did this by creating a site on CaringBridge.org.

When I followed the directions for logging on to the first of these Caring Bridge sites, I found that I already had an account with the site, although I didn't recall exactly when or why I had created it. When I downloaded the Caring Bridge App for my iPod and signed into it, I discovered the reason.

When you open the Caring Bridge App, the front page is always your Site List, which gives you one-touch access to all of the personal sites that you have registered as following. And there on the list, right beneath the name of the friend I had just added, was the name of another precious friend who had died two and a half years earlier.

I came very close to deleting that old site from my Site List. It hadn't been updated since about a month after the funeral, and it was jarring, every time I tapped on the app to see the latest news from one of the two families I am now following, to be forcibly reminded that I now live in a world without Dianne in it.

But it didn't seem right to stop following Dianne's site. And before long, seeing her name on that list stopped being a painful reminder of her absence from this earth, and turned into a comforting reminder of the hope that we have.  I went back and re-read some of her husband's accounts of the signs of God's mercy in her final days and weeks, and was encouraged in my ongoing prayers for others whose final chapters of this life have yet to be written.

One of the people I am currently following on Caring Bridge is dying. He has already lived far longer than anyone expected when he went on hospice care, but his condition is not getting better and there is no cure. Sooner or later, and more likely sooner than later, he will join Dianne.

The other person I am currently following on Caring Bridge is also dying, in the sense that to be alive is to be moving towards one's death.  But in terms of the crisis that led his family to create the Caring Bridge site in the first place, the immediate danger appears to have passed.  For several months he was fighting for his life, and the odds were against him; but now he is doing well and getting stronger every day.  Of course, in the midst of those months, we had no way of knowing that we would ever see this day.

It can be scary to pray for mercy for a suffering person and not know what form that mercy might take.  Seeing the name of Dianne, who has finished the race of this mortal life, alongside the names of dear ones who still have who-knows-how-much-more of the race ahead of them, helps me to pray these prayers with a broader perspective, and to remember, as Julian of Norwich said, that "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."

Today marks the third anniversary of Dianne's death.  It still seems so wrong that her sweet, generous, loving spirit no longer shines a ray of light in this broken world.  But I am thankful that she still bears witness to the resurrection that we have not yet experienced but cling to as a sure and certain hope through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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